TITLE: One True Loves
AUTHOR: Taylor Jenkins Reid
GENRE/ AGE RANGE: Contemporary, Adult
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Girl hate, Death, Mourning, Finding new love
PUBLICATION DATE: June 7th, 2016
ACQUIRED: Library copy
SYNOPSIS: 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.
One True Loves was so much fun to read! I picked this up because I thought the idea of the novel was interesting and I read and loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo earlier in the year. I picked this up one day at the library without any real expectations and then randomly decided to read it on my bus trip to school and then by the time I got home that day I was a third of the way through and was finding myself yet again falling in love with a Taylor Jenkins Reid book.
This book was so so easy to read, I really think it would be perfect for a quick readathon read or if you’re in a reading slump and want to get out of it! I thought this book had a really great idea behind it and I was super excited to dive into it, and I’m so glad I did! I never cry reading books but I almost shed some tears on the bus because of this one!
You can read my thoughts as I was reading the book here.
“I had predicated my life on the idea that I wanted to see everywhere extraordinary, but I’d come to realize that extraordinary is everywhere.”
The basic story idea of this book – get married, husband “dies”, gets engaged to another guy, turns out husband isn’t dead – really grabbed me and is the whole reason I picked up the book. So, was it worth the read? Well, you’ve already seen that I’ve given the book a 4 star rating so I do think TJR pulled it off pretty well.
WHY DID IT WORK? WHERE DID IT FAIL?
I think TJR did so well with this book, it’s an impossible situation and she really kept me on my toes the whole time! This book was difficult to read because it was so heartbreaking and because really no matter who Emma (the mc) chose to spend her life with by the end, someone was going to get hurt. If she goes with Jesse (the husband) she’ll hurt Sam (the fiance) and vice versa.
My only real issue with the book was also what I loved about it. I really had no idea how it was going to end. On one hand I wanted Emma to end up alone to live her life without a man for a second but also I love love and this is a romance novel so of course I also wanted her to end up with one of the guys!
“Just because something isn’t meant to last a lifetime doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant to be.”
Now, onto the characters! What’s hot and what’s not?
The first section of the book starts out with the main character’s past and shows us how she met her husband (aka. the pit that is high school) and this was probably my least favourite part of the whole book. This is essentially how we are introduced to all the main characters and the mc. And in this we see that while she was in school, Emma was a special snowflake who hated her sister because she had more than one friend and short shorts. Emma was not like other girls – she doesn’t like feminine girls and she’s proud of out being different.
Just take a look at this quote in which Emma bashes her sister Marie:
“She read adult books and wrote poetry and had crushes on fictional characters instead of movie stars and she made Olive and I want to barf.”
I know that siblings can’t all get along all the time, but she basically hates her sister just for existing and it just seems really harsh. The good things is, as the book goes on, Emma gets her head out of her a** and develops a much better (and very wonderful) relationship with her sister and stops judging the other women around her. It’s wonderful and I love it.
Along with the girl hate (which honestly why can’t we all just get along???) the only other thing that really bugged me about the book, and this is minor and petty, is the last 50ish pages. Now, I don’t know if this is just because I was tired and finishing the book on the way home from Uni and on the bus, or if I just enjoyed it less than the rest of the book. Either way, the last 50 pages dragged. I felt that the final end to the book was a bit anticlimactic and dull but, I also think that was inevitable. No matter how the book ended I don’t think it would be possible to end the book and make everyone happy and tie up every loose end. We still don’t have answers to everything the husband went through and the book still ends with a lot of people getting hurt.
Also, it all just felt a bit fast compared to the rest of the book, which felt like it set it’s own pace.
“Good things don’t wait until you’re ready. Sometimes they come right before, when you’re almost there.”
I know I mostly detailed what I wasn’t a fan of in this review, but that’s just because I loved pretty much everything else. I love Taylor Jenkin Reid’s writing, I enjoyed the characters and their development and I loved the story. This was a really brilliantly written story and I definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for binge-worthy contemporary. This definitely fits the rain, tea, book aesthetic we book lovers strive for!