Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Pages: 352
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 4/5
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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 fiancĂ© 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 fiancĂ©, 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.

I do not know the last time I inhale read a book like I did with One True Loves. I sat down to check out the first few pages and next thing I know I'm done the book. Obviously One True Loves is utterly readable and compelling. I was hooked from the first page, invested in Emma's life from the get go.

One True Loves is split into three sections; before, after and present. The before is a bit of Emma growing up, getting together with Jesse in their last year of high school, them falling madly in love and moving to the west coast to live their life together. Then Jesse is gone. Emma is devastated and struggling to cope. She also doesn't want to give on Jesse; she knows he's still alive. The after is Emma dealing with her grief, moving back home and learning to live her life without Jesse. Years on and she runs into an old friend, Sam. Sam who she use to have a crush on. Emma feels like she's ready to step into the dating pool again, mostly because she trusts Sam. The present, Emma is happy. She's engaged to Sam and life is good. Until Jesse is found alive. He's been fighting all these years to get back to her. Now Emma has a husband and a fiance, both whom she loves madly and doesn't want to hurt. But unfortunately somebody is going to be left brokenhearted.

I think what really drew me in, besides the story being fascinating, was Emma. Her character is so very real and struck a chord with me. Emma is a child that wants to get out from under her sisters shadow, into a teenager that doesn't want to be stuck in her hometown like her parents want, to somebody that finds their person, a person that makes you be brave and realize it's your life; so travel the damn world. So somebody who is slightly changing their ideals and wants and is scared to tell their partner. To somebody that is lost and grieving and trying to see that their will be a new life and happiness in the future. To somebody that makes a new life, one they love, well finding love again. And finally to somebody that is trying to listen to their heart and what it's trying to say will lead them to happiness. I mean, Emma goes through a lot, clearly. And she is so strong and brave even when she's at her lowest point. I think the real moment for me was before Jesse disappeared and Emma was realizing that she's seen so much of the world, her and Jesse have done what she thought she never would, now maybe she's starting to think settling down isn't so bad. If Jesse hadn't of disappeared I would be interested to see how that change would have come to fruition. Not the most important point, but it caught my attention.

I guess One True Loves is truly a love story; a multifaceted one. Emma is trying to come to terms with the fact that it's possible to have more than one true love throughout your life. That maybe a love can be everything but only for a specific time in your life. It doesn't diminish the meaning of that love, it just shows how people change and grow apart. Jesse and Emma were Jesse and Emma, their love was massive and all consuming. They were able to pull each other away from the life that was set up for them and make the one they wanted. They believed that if one thing never changed, it was their love for each other. Well Jesse disappeared and Emma changed through her grief for him. She wanted home and started to live the life her and Jesse got away from, except it provided happiness for Emma and brought Sam back into her life. Patient, endearing and loving Sam. And now Emma has found another love that is true. One True Loves does a spectacular job of exploring love and what it can mean between couples. The differences it can bring into a relationship, yet still be the same, its the people that shape it.

We can call this like it is, a love triangle. You're going to be seeing end game for Emma. There is guy you're going to be gunning for. Jesse and Sam are both amazing guys. Jesse is the adventurer. He's handsome and adoring towards Emma. Sam is the quite, happy to be at home building a family man. Both so different, yet exactly perfect for Emma at those periods in her life. Of course I have a favourite. I'm just not going to mention who. Jesse's story is heartbreaking. Lost at sea, fighting to survive so he can back to his wife. Than returning and realizing she's moved on and having to acclimate to society again. It's hard to see his struggle, the hopes that his wife was waiting for him and now having to fight for her to come back to him. It's sad. And poor Sam, getting ready to marry the love of his life and suddenly her supposed to be dead husband returns. Sam is so understanding. He doesn't get mad at Emma for being shocked and confused. He's devastated that he could lose her. But he also doesn't want to get in the way, Sam wants to fight for her to choose him; he wants her to see that their life is where her heart lies now. Sam is really admirable. That right there, this "love triangle" pulls you in.

Yes, One True Loves is a love story. But it's also about Emma and her changing growing life. Her relationships with Jesse and Sam, her relationship with her parents and sister. Emma being true to herself and learning to grow as person through these major life events. Just a fantastically emotional unputdownable read. I now get the love Taylor Jenkins Reid receives. Late to the game, but at least I showed up.

Happy reading!



  1. This sounds really good and one I don't think I've read anything like before though I have wondered how a situation like this could possibly be handled. I like the sound of Emma and how real she sounds. I'm definitely going to add this to my TBR.

    - You asked about audio for Agatha Christie. If you can find them listen to them! If you can find a radio dramatization even better! It might be a good way to get acquainted with her as at times her books can be a bit dry - especially the Poirot mysteries.

  2. Fantastic review, Brittany! I so agree with your thoughts on Emma. She was so real and so relatable. The changes in her over the years felt completely realistic and understandable. We don't always want the same thing at 30 that we wanted at 20. And I loved that she allowed herself to see that and make changes in her life because they felt right. And I wondered the same thing as you: how would that have played out had Jesse still been there? Could their relationship have withstood the growth when one partner decided they wanted something different? I was so invested in this one and TJR did an amazing job of not setting up one person to be the "bad guy" and the other guy the obvious choice. That would have been too easy. Instead there were two very different men, both good for Emma in their own ways. It was that much more heartbreaking because there was no bad guy here. Just horrible, cruel circumstances and twists of fate that forced terrible decisions where everyone was bound to hurt. I really can't wait to read more by TJR.


    1. Yes! I'm glad you picked up on that bit with Emma too. I don't think their marriage would have survived if Jesse hadn't of gone missing. As evidence when he returned, I don't think he would have changed his lifestyle and wants to fit Emma's. But hey, guess we won't know.
      It truly was a well written love story. It fits for any divorcee out there too. Just because you fell out of love doesn't mean you were never in love and weren't true loves at some point. Life changes. People change. And upon those changes you just may no longer fit together. I don't think it takes away from once was.
      I just read Maybe in Another Life and it was great too.