My first chic.reads review! To honour such a momentous occasion, I most definitely had to promote an author near and dear to my heart.
It can go down as fact that Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favourite authors of all time. Ever since I read her first novel a few years back, I was hooked. Her latest novel is, ONE TRUE LOVES, debuts later this Summer and it’s by far a must read for 2016.
RELEASE DATE: June 2016
PUBLISHER: Washington Square Press
DISCLAIMER: Novel sent via NetGallery in exchange for a honest review.
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.
REVIEW: Again, Reid is one of my favourite authors ever. Her distinct ability to bring forth almost unsolvable scenarios is paired beautifully with her flair for narrative. Her books always leave you asking “How can this happen?” and entice you to read on into the night. This novel is no exception. I devoured it in 2 hours.
Emma and Jesse have been in love since their teenage years – for Emma, it was love at first sight. Destined to take the world by storm, they set out travelling the world and marching to the beat of their own drum. When Jesse is pronounced dead after a helicopter crash, Emma is beyond devastated. Running from the life she’s build with Jesse on the California coast, she travels back home to snowy Massachusetts and a family bookstore that she spent her entire life running from. When she’s back home she starts to develop and the old Emma (the free spirited, on the run Emma) seemingly fades away – enter beautiful Sam, an old family friend a new flame. Emma finds herself moving on and coming into her own when suddenly Jesse is found alive. Now, Emma is stuck between her husband and finance – at odds with herself, her mind, and ultimately, her heart. Who do you choose when the person you were no longer exists?
I loved this novel because it centers on growth. I’ve always firmly believed that the person you were 5 years ago is not the person you are anymore. So much changes and it’s only a reflection of time and growth. This novel’s main theme is growth – while at it’s core, it’s a torn love story, we are really speaking here about the personal growth every woman embarks upon in her late twenties. 25 to 30 are such critical years in womanhood and I’m so glad that Reid has made this front and centre in her novel. Main character Emma goes through an amazing journey from the flamboyant flight bound pre-25 year old to the sophisticated, fair, and family-oriented 30-year old. It doesn’t make Emma any less of a compelling character – Reid has showcased character growth in such a flawfree and carefree way. Bravo.
The story here is the real meat and what will essentially draw you into reading into the late hours. Reid again has posed readers with an ultimate ‘what would you do’ question – all her novels have one. What would you do if you mother-in-law didn’t know you exist? What would you do if you and your husband go on a 1-year break with NO contact? What would you do if one question changed your entire life course? I think this book carries the best Reid question yet – what do you do if the husband you thought was dead is in love with the woman you used to be? I LOVE how Reid puts her characters in these impossible situations. It’s the mark of a good author that can have readers on the edge of their seats through a synopsis only.
The novel itself flows amazingly. We get just Emma’s perspective that weaves in and out of past and present – we get Emma from her time with Jesse to Emma’s growth alone to Emma from her time with Sam. All three Emma’s are different. Sam and Jesse are compelling characters and I found myself so discouraged because I ultimately didn’t know which character Emma should be with (some soul searching of my own!). The novel plays out in such a realistic way that you’re absorbed in the story almost immediately. It doesn’t seem fantastical – it seems real.
The novel ends well and I’m beyond happy with the ending. A true ‘happy’ ending in a story where you don’t believe there will be one.
I have to commend Reid for another fantastic book. An author who is truly coming into her niche, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.