Published by Atria on 06/07/16
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a People Magazine pick and a "Best Book of the Summer" by Glamour and USA TODAY—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.
In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.
On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.
That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.
Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?
Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.
Love triangles. I’m not the biggest fan. I’m a fan for this one. However, this is the kind of story that will break your heart a little no matter whose side you choose. If you can even choose one! I certainly went back and forth a handful of times.
It’s hard to say a whole lot about this story without spoiling anything. And I wouldn’t want to take even an ounce of the experience away from you. I recommend going into it as blind as humanly possible and experiencing the beauty and ugliness right along with Emma.
This was my first Taylor Jenkins Reid book and I have to admit that I’m thoroughly impressed. Her writing is smart and insightful and thought-provoking. Her characters are very wise, even though they have moments of immaturity and imperfection. She makes you reflect on your own relationships, which is totally unexpected. Something about this story and her writing touched me in a very personal and deep place that was both nostalgic but at times felt like she was poking at a still-tender bruise. I had a faint (and at times, not so faint) ache in my chest for the entire book.
The character development was fabulous and beautiful, and the plot was unique. Overall, this was an excellent book that was refreshing and a joy to read, even despite how painful it was at times.
I wish I could say more about this book without spoiling anything but I’m so loathe to do it that I’d rather err on the side of caution. So I’ll just say this…. Are you ready? I highly recommend One True Loves. Highly. Read it.
What did I think of One True Loves?
I think first I have to tell you what I expected of One True Loves:
I expected it would be a gut-wrenching read. I expected it would be a love triangle. I expected it would be thought provoking. I expected I might love it. I expected I might hate it.
Wrong, wrong, right, maybe, maybe.
One True Loves is a great contemporary fiction, one heavy on romance though it’s women’s fiction. The romantic elements lent to an emotional plot, but not one impacted me too deeply. That might’ve been because though the synopsis more than hints at a love triangle — a trope that historically makes me anxious — I don’t consider this novel a love triangle. That’s a purely subjective conclusion because everything about its plot fits the expectations of a triangle, but since I saw the outcome foreshadowed very early on in the novel, that whole element was a non-issue for me. So, no twisting unease. My uncertainty mostly lied in trying to find out exactly what happened to Jesse and how Taylor Jenkins Reid would finesse the situation.
Regardless, even without the uncertainty of knowing the overall outcome, this was still a pretty compelling read, and thought provoking. In a sense One True Loves is a continuation of the conversation introduced by Taylor Jenkins Reid with Maybe In Another Life. The themes in this book were similar, which led me to once again question my beliefs on love and destiny, on who we are as an ever-evolving entity, and whether the romantic notion of true love and soul mates is as easily defined as we’ve been taught. One True Loves pushed me to think and I always appreciate that.
I enjoyed the philosophical elements of this novel, but overall I think it was a bit safe. Not messy enough. The circumstances were messy and complicated, but as a whole the book was just too clean. The characters too orderly. Emma, Jesse, and Sam were placed in an impossible situation, and except for one scene towards the end when one of the characters truly ripped themselves open and spilled their mess, most everything was resolved very neatly. Everyone was very reasonable and understanding, and there were a few times I asked myself, “Who the hell are these people?” Honestly, perfect characters just aren’t as entertaining or memorable. Though I will add that I more than enjoyed the minor characters, whom I thought were endearing, and props to TJR for throwing some diversity in the mix.
To answer my earlier question on my general thoughts about this book… It seems I’m in a similar place that I was with Maybe In Another Life, where on the surface I like this book and see it for the inspiring and moving novel that other readers have fallen in love with. And yes, One True Loves is a good book and I’ll recommend it, because I do think most readers will enjoy the writing and how the story unfolds. Personally, it didn’t blow me away.