Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My Thoughts

Compelling and beautifully moving.
Reid delivers a rousing page turner about
finding, losing and reclaiming true love.

5stars

Synopsis

One True Loves TJRFrom 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.

My Review

I think that perhaps everyone has a moment that splits their life in two. When you look back on your own timeline, there’s a sharp spike somewhere along the way, some event that changed you, changed your life, more than others. A moment that creates a “before” and an “after.”

Evoking a sense of intimacy and relatability, Taylor Jenkins Reid draws you into every story she pens. Her novels possess a gravitas that makes you want to explore the issues she proffers, as she examines with brutal honesty the difficult struggles her characters face. With One True Loves, Reid dissects the concept of true love, examining how it evolves and endures, how it defines and shapes who we are especially after unimaginable loss.

With a gaze that flittered across an indoor pool, fourteen-year-old Emma Blair fell in love with Jesse Lerner. Jesse had the kind of confident smile that left you mesmerized. In her twenties, she married him with the promise to seize a life far away from Acton, Massachusetts, away from her family bookstore, away from the mundane life they both felt shackled by. Jesse and Emma wanted to see the world unencumbered by parental expectations, together, and of course, forever. Destiny, unfortunately, had other plans.

It was the happiest day of my life. Emma and Jesse. Forever. Three hundred and sixty four days later, he was gone.

When Jesse tragically dies a year later, Emma is staggered by the loss. The world quickly blurred out of focus and her identity collapsed into a life-sized hole in her heart.

You are my one true love. I don’t even think I’m capable of loving anyone else.

Without Jesse, Emma listlessly breathed in and out, until going back home to Acton—the very place she swore she’d never return—seemed like the only solution to a broken life without her husband. Days, months, years pass and Emma’s love and loss of Jesse change her in ways unforeseen. As life and family demand her attention, she slowly begins to get past her grief.

When she unexpectedly runs into Sam Kemper, a boy she used to have a crush on, she feels a flutter that takes her by surprise. A hesitant date turns into another and suddenly, she’s found love again with a wonderful man.

You were the love of my life. Maybe it’s selfish to want more, maybe it’s greedy to want another love like that.

When she finally finds the courage to say yes to a life married to Sam, Emma gets a call that brings everything crashing down. Jesse is alive and he’s coming home after years lost at sea.

You think you know who you are, you think you have your identity down pat, signed and sealed in a box that you call “me,” and then… you have to rethink everything you know about yourself.

With her past and future colliding, Emma faces the unimaginable task of choosing between the man she married and lost, and the man who saved her. Was it possible to have two true loves?

Reid imparts Emma’s story in her singular, compelling style—a spellbinding combination of wit, honesty and heart. Each page drew me in deeper as the complexity of the situation rattled me emotionally. I couldn’t put the book down, I had to know what Emma would do and her rationale behind whichever decision she took. And the ending, it was poignant, and to me, perfect.

Making the case that love is as true as the depth of which you feel it, Taylor Jenkins Reid delivers a beautifully uplifting story that lingers long after you’re done.

About Taylor

Taylor Jenkins ReidTaylor Jenkins Reid is an author, essayist, and TV writer from Acton, Massachusetts. Her debut novel, Forever, Interrupted, has been optioned with Dakota Johnson attached to star. She is adapting her second book, After I Do, for ABC Family. Her most recent novel, Maybe In Another Life has been featured in People, US Weekly, Cosmo, and more.

In addition to her novels, Taylor’s essays have appeared in the Los Angeles TimesThe Huffington Post, xoJane, and a number of other blogs.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Rabbit.

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