Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance
Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, this bright, funny debut from a fresh voice in fiction offers a delicious take on love, family, and what it means to build a home of one’s own.
Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer — and former flame — Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn.
Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices — and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life — and in love.
Full of both humor and heartbreak, The One That Got Away is the story of one woman’s discovery that, sometimes, life is what happens when you leave the blueprints behind.
Bethany Chase writes a delightful debut novel with a smart and realistic heroine, a charming hero and a sweet love story.
The One That Got Away attracts the reader with its clever premise about a smart woman in her thirties who is on the verge of a storybook future, but she finds herself questioning it all when the man she could never forget returns.
Side note: have you seen the cover? Now you know I had to read the blurb once I saw that cover. 🙂
Sarina Mahler is brilliant, creative, and superbly talented when it comes to architecture and her career. Her personal life on the other had is filled with self-doubt and anxiety. Her boyfriend wants to marry her and start a family soon after, but the thought of walking down the aisle leaves her feeling numb. She loves him, but she has never felt for him what she once felt for the man she only spent one night with. When Eamon waltzes back into her life and hires her to build his dream house, she knows she’s in trouble because she still feels it. That pull, that connection. She wonders if she can resist the gravity of her feelings and maintain a strictly professional relationship, or if the one that walked away is the one that she’s meant to be with.
I was very excited when I read the premise for this story because I pictured a tension-filled, second chance love story that would just make me feel all kinds of gooey inside. I may have built it up too much, because the final product, though it had its moments that mad me melt, was generally mmm…*shrugs*. Let me classify that: the love story was less than stellar. Chase’s writing was first-rate, and I thought this story was witty and entertaining, with some poignant moments that made me feel, but the story of Sarina and Eamon just didn’t pull me in as deeply as I wanted.
The One That Got Away is narrated from Sarina’s POV, and we get to see the struggles she faces in her career and relationships – the distance between her boyfriend and the connection she feels with Eamon playing heavily on her mind and causing conflict in her life. I liked reading her perspective, but I don’t think Eamon featured enough in the book. For the first 50% there’s barely any interaction between the two, and since the story jumps weeks at a time, sometimes months, it was hard for me to connect with the feelings that Sarina struggled with, since I wasn’t shown their development, mostly told.
There were aspects of this novel that I really liked. Sarina’s relationship with her friends and her stepfather was really fun to read, and **spoilerish** Chase’s portrayal of loss and grief was beautifully done. View Spoiler »I gasped when I read the scene when she lands in Virginia to hear the news about her stepfather. « Hide Spoiler I loved that Sarina was sure of who she was, even if she was unsure about what she wanted. I’ll always enjoy reading about strong women (and even when they’re being cowards, they’re strong), and Sarina was definitely that.
Bethany Chase is clearly a talented writer, and she knows how to create characters that readers want to know more about, as was the case with The One That Got Away. I was hooked from the first page, and although I didn’t love every part of this book (I wanted more Eamon!), I did enjoy reading this sweet romance, especially the last 10%. 🙂 This is the perfect light read to enjoy while lounging on the beach or flying across the seas. It’ll take you away from wherever you are, and I promise it will leave a smile on your face.