June 6, 2016

(More Than) Once in a Lifetime • One True Loves (+ Giveaway)

One True Loves book cover
Taylor Jenkins Reid has never let me down with any of her novels. Each one is written in an extremely easy to read style that ensures readers will fly through the pages; each one also happens to be laced with themes that are universal and thought-provoking. One True Loves is certainly no exception, as Reid seeks to present her own answer to one question: Is it possible to truly love more than one person? Now, I know my answer to this question, but I was eager to discover how Reid would endeavor to address it in this novel. And quite frankly, I thought she did a spectacular job. Writing about something this complicated requires a capable, confident hand, and that is precisely what Reid possesses.

One True Loves tells the story of Emma Blair. In her twenties, she marries her high school sweetheart Jesse, and together, they make a life for themselves that involves all sorts of spontaneous adventures. It is on their first anniversary when Emma’s life changes forever – because Jesse goes missing on a trip for work. In an effort to regroup, Emma quits her job and moves back home where she begins working at her family’s bookstore. It is there she runs into an old friend, Sam, and she finds herself doing the impossible: falling in love a second time. But when Jesse is found alive, Emma now has to face an impossible choice.

It sounds really dramatic, and yet, Reid handles the entire plot with a surprisingly light touch. Don’t get me wrong – there’s plenty of heartache and sorrow to go around, which is not surprising considering the plot. But, as with her other novels, Reid injects humor and joy into the tale, and that certainly balanced things out. It helps that Emma is a likable character, and I immediately felt a kinship with her. Her struggles were really hard to read about, her triumphs were easy to cheer for and I really found it easy to understand and relate to her. And I liked the secondary characters – adventurous Jesse, thoughtful Sam, Emma’s sweet family specifically – a whole lot too. 

But more than anything, I really appreciated Reid’s approach to the romance. Readers are treated to time with both of the men in Emma’s life – from the start of the romance to the state of these relationships in the face of the current conflict. I loved the perspective that this provided when considering how Emma should react, and it was incredible how Reid managed to also make me like both men (as individuals and for Emma) for different reasons. It was such a raw, honest portrayal of what such a situation could mean for everyone involved! I’m really impressed by how Reid navigated her story, and even more impressed by how she wrapped it all up in the end. (And no, I’m not giving you even a hint. Or telling how I felt in particular about these guys. You’ll need to read it for yourself, and then we can talk about it.)

Reid continues to put out novels that are guaranteed to be reads that are impossible to put down, extremely compelling (in spite of the emotional turmoil) and extremely thoughtful explorations of some big, personal questions. I really admire her ability to get me to see so many different aspects of any given situation her characters find themselves in, and the way that she constantly challenges me to really think about things when I finish one of her stories. I’m definitely a fan of One True Loves, and will certainly say that it’s an excellent addition to the already published work from Reid. (And I’m very much looking forward to the next one, whatever it may be about!)

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Previous Novels: Forever, Interrupted, After I Do, Maybe in Another Life
Publisher: Washington Square Press | Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Source: ARC downloaded from NetGalley (Thanks!)
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Apple | Blio | Google | Kobo

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.

I was honored to share my review as part of the blog tour for One True Loves. Thanks to the lovely people over at Atria, I get the opportunity to let you guys participate in this incredible giveaway. There will be 7 winners in total - 2 individuals will get a full set of Taylor's novels, while 5 lucky people will received signed copies of One True Loves. This giveaway is US/CN only, and all you have to do is to enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was also invited to participate in a "book shower" for Taylor Jenkins Reid today! So, here are five questions that we were asked to answer to celebrate. Feel free to share your answers in the comments section too!

1. The first book I ever read by Taylor Jenkins Reid was... After I Do. I had been granted access to it on NetGalley, and I settled in with my Kindle on July 4th (yes, Independence Day and yes, this was the extent of my plans that year). The novel was incredibly compelling, and I honest to goodness couldn't stop reading once I'd started (and bawling when I finished). Such a brilliantly written story (as are all her other stories)!

2. My wish for Taylor Jenkins Reid as a mom... is endless amounts of patience, lots of laughter and endless good days with her family. I have no doubt that she's going to be an amazing mother, and I wish her luck on this journey!

3. My wish for Taylor Jenkins Reid as an author... is that she continues to write these incredible stories with such real, compelling characters and complex situations. I wish her more stories and a deep well of creativity.

4. My favorite book by Taylor Jenkins Reid is... After I Do. I think I just have a soft spot for it because it was the first of her novels that I read. And I certainly felt a deep emotional connection to this story and how it portrays marriage in an incredibly complex way.

5. Who is your One True Love? Above all else, it's God. He's really the source of my strength and inspiration. I draw a lot of hope and love and encouragement and guidance from my faith.


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