One True Loves
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
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.
This year feels like a year where I am really starting to expand on what I enjoy reading, this in turn has meant that I have discovered a slew of new authors as well as a very packed bookshelf.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is definitely one of those new discoveries. I started by bowing to the peer pressure and reading ‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ and honestly that book deserved all the hype it got!
After enjoying it so thoroughly I wanted to read the rest of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s published works. ‘One True Loves’ was the third book I picked up of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s.
One True Loves follows Emma Blair whose husband goes missing when he heads of to Antarctica to help film a nature documentary and the helicopter he is in goes missing. After years of struggling with this loss, Emma runs into Sam, a boy she went to school with and a spark begins to form between the two. Next thing Sam and Emma know Jesse is found, he is not dead as it was believed. This leaves Emma in an impossible situation.
The premise of this book really hooked me. I was intrigued to see, not only how Jesse survived but how the characters would deal with such an impossible situation.
I am going to be honest though, I was a little let down. As much as I enjoyed reading the book, I wouldn’t say it is a master piece or even Taylor Jenkins Reid’s best work. One thing I noted that really bothered me was the continual use of ‘said Sam, said Emma’ when it came to dialogue. I found it a very simple way for the characters to interact.
I did however find snippets I enjoyed. There was an excerpt that I really loved, mostly for its Grey’s Anatomy monologue vibes.
‘I think 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”.
Maybe it’s when you meet your love or you figure out your life’s passion of you have your first child. Maybe it’s something wonderful. Maybe its something tragic.
But when it happens, it tints your memories, shifts your perspective on your own life, and it suddenly seems as if everything you’ve been through falls under the label of “pre” and “post”‘
I also enjoyed the settings we explored. The bookstore was definitely a favourite and pretty much any part where there was snow.
The characters were ones that I enjoyed reading about but wasn’t super invested it. I did like that the characters changed over time and developed within their personalities, however at some points the growth was sudden. I’m not sure whether this device was used on purpose to explore how both grief and traumatic events change people or rather a progression within the story. Either way it definitely made the characters somewhat more interesting.
The end of the story left me feeling content. I was happy with the choice that Emma made. It was definitely the right one, at least in my opinion.
Overall ‘One True Loves’ is an easy contemporary romance novel with relatively low stakes. It was a fast read that I found kept me engaged within the story.
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 5/10
World Building: 5/10
Quality of Writing: 3/10