April 5, 2015

The One That Got Away - Bethany Chase (+ Giveaway)

The One That Got Away book cover
The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer — and former flame — Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn.

Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices — and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life — and in love.

The One That Got Away is a very well-written debut from Bethany Chase. Her writing balances both plot and detail, inviting readers to get to know Sarina and stick around a while to see how her story plays out. Sarina's tale is funny and frank, sweet and complex, and definitely gives me great confidence in Bethany Chase being able to write more stories that will be just as memorable.

The romance was certainly a major plot point, but I was surprised to discover that there were other aspects to the story - Sarina's career, her friendships, her family, to name a few. Here are the five parts of The One That Got Away that left a strong impression:

1. Setting - I fell hard for Austin! I've always wanted to go and visit Texas, as I've never been there before. But this novel just cemented my desire to get to see it for myself, particularly the Austin area. There's just something about the way the place is described through the eyes of a resident that made me even more excited to visit one day.

2. Sarina - I really liked Sarina Mahler. She's very independent, put together and passionate about her career. I admired her drive to succeed, her natural gift for sarcasm and her abilities as an architect + interior designer. But she's also a human being who, when faced with complex or emotional situations, doesn't always choose the best course of action. And I loved that about her! None of us are perfect, and Chase definitely reflects that truth well with Sarina's character.

3. Family - Sarina's only living relative is her stepfather and I absolutely loved how their relationship was portrayed. John is such a supportive individual, and he's there for Sarina in so many ways. It warmed my heart to see how much love there was between them, and how they constantly made an effort to communicate and be in each other's lives. Plus, John was a catalyst for Sarina's career choice, which makes him even more special in my eyes. John also has a daughter by a previous marriage, and though Sarina isn't close to her, it was definitely nice to see how they still cared about one another.

4. Friendship - Sarina's friends are present every so often. What they lack in page time, they make up for in personality. It seems pretty obvious that what draws them together is having a good time, but readers will sense an underlying history that binds them all together. While I didn't personally agree with their way of supporting Sarina or giving her advice at times, it felt realistic to their characters (particularly Danny and Nicole). Basically, they love a good time, but they're also there for one another in a pinch.

5. Romance - The situation of "the one that got away" is certainly not an easy one to write about, in spite of the fact that many people do in fact go through that experience. Chase actually nails it, showcasing Sarina's conflicted feelings for both Noah and Eamon in a way that felt authentic to Sarina as a character. While I personally had reservations about how things wound up, I still admire Chase's ability to depict the trajectory of the romance in a way that felt true to these characters.

Bethany Chase has told a remarkable tale in The One That Got Away. There were moments that felt uncomfortable and choices I disagreed with; but I have to hand it to Chase for allowing her story to play out in a way that was organic to her characters. The One That Got Away is an enjoyable novel, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Bethany Chase.


  1. I am so jealous that you get to see/meet Nicholas Sparks! He is totally my ultimate favorite author of all time! I hope you had a great time! AND I REALLY CAN'T WAIT FOR THE LONGEST RIDE MOVIE! *squeaaaaal*

  2. I still need to read Prisoner of Night and Fog but I'm glad to hear that the sequel worked realyl well for you as well! WWII was always a very fascinating (if horrible) period in history for me!

  3. Nicole @ The Quiet ConcertApril 5, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    I'd like to read this sequel at some point. I didn't LOVE PoNaF quite as much as everyone else but I still really liked it, especially how UNIQUE it was. So I definitely want more of that but your not the first person to say this sequel wasn't as strong which worries me just a little...


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