One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published: June 7, 2016 by Atria Books - Washington Square Press
Source: ARC from the publisher
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 fiancé 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 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. [goodreads]
This was my second experience with a Taylor Jenkins Reid novel, and just like the first, I really appreciated this unique storyline that causes the reader to stop and think -- to question the character's choices, and their decisions. I've come to realize that reading one of her novels will give me much more than just a story to be lost in, it will provide a reading experience that will stay with me long after I've turned the last page.
Emma thought she had her whole adventurous life ahead of her, along side her partner Jesse. The two of them would travel the world together, live in the moment, and settle down later when the time was right. What she didn't foresee was Jesse being lost at sea and the aftermath destroying every cell in her body. The moments as Emma stumbles numbly through the grief and loss of her husband were achingly real. I felt the pain Emma felt, I could hear her sorrows through the written words.
Just when she thought she couldn't come back from this, she somehow finds her way home.. to her family, to a life she was so insistent on leaving all those years ago with Jesse. And in return, as she heals, she discovers a new part of herself, also discovering a new love in a long ago friend named Sam. It was these moments in the story when I felt as though Emma's true character really shined. Sure she was having the time of her life seeing the world with Jesse, but at the end of the day, being home with her family and making a new life with Sam was where I truly felt she belonged. So when the phone call came that Jesse was alive, it not only threw Emma for a loop, but it also had my literary heart torn in half.
How does one choose? Or do they even choose? I honestly could not imagine being in Emma's shoes in that moment. I felt that her actions were honest, though sometimes a bit vulnerable and definitely a bit messy, they were REAL. She didn't choose to break away from Jesse, her husband, he was stolen -- ripped right out of her life. And she never considered having to start all over again by finding a new life, a new Emma, with Sam. I knew the decisions she had to make were not going to be easy, and her path in getting there was going to be constant with road blocks and detours.
This novel is so much more than just a love story, it's words about rediscovering who you are as a person, without your other half. It's how to put one foot in front of the other when your legs seem to stop working. It's about making choices that aren't necessarily easy, but definitely right. I applaud this author for pushing the limits and creating a storyline that causes the reader to stop and think, to question "what would I do in this situation?". That is the true beauty of literature -- taking a story and making it your own.