Okay, first of all: why did I wait so long to read my first Taylor Jenkins Reid book? So many friends kept singing her praises, but I paid them no mind and continued deliberately not reading her books. Finally, a few weeks ago I picked up One True Loves on a whim and promptly devoured it in two days. This book was such a fast, compelling read.
The gist is this. Emma Blair married her high school sweetheart, Jesse. One year after their wedding, he is on a helicopter over the Pacific Ocean when it disappears. When the wreckage of the crash is eventually found, Jesse is presumed dead. Emma does her best to move on and eventually, years after the crash, she runs into an old friend, Sam. She is able to fall in love again and she and Sam get engaged. Then, Jesse calls. He's alive. He has been found and is ready to come home to her. Emma is then left to decide who her one true love really is.
Taylor Jenkins Reid does a great job of making this cheesy sounding plot not seem cheesy at all. The book could have focused mostly on Jesse's crash and rescue and been very gimmicky, but Reid chose instead to place most of the focus on the relationships. She painted an intimate picture of how it can be possible to love more than one person, and how love can change and shape you. I couldn't help but read along and wonder what I would do in Emma's situation. If nothing else, this book made me think a lot about my own marriage. I kept putting the book down to ask my husband questions--Who would you choose if I disappeared and when I came back, you had already remarried? Would you be mad at me if I was remarried after you went missing? How long do you expect me to wait to remarry if you die? (It can seem like a dark conversation, but it was rather enlightening.)
Praise aside, I do have a few small complaints. The first is that both Jesse and Sam felt way too perfect. Both of them seemed to place Emma's needs above their own, and while that is commendable, it didn't feel wholly realistic. In this kind of emotionally charged situation, I expected a few more fireworks. I needed more arguing and turmoil. Don't get me wrong, the book was never boring and it held my interest, but I think there would have been a bit more back and forth conversation between Sam and Emma, especially. He is her fiance and it felt like he took a serious back burner when Jesse showed up.
Also, the time between Jesse's return and Emma's decision was very short, and I think it could have taken place over a longer period of time. Reid seemed to have no issue with jumping around. We see Emma and Jesse in high school, at their wedding, and then a year later when Jesse goes missing. We see Emma meeting Sam two years after Jesse went missing and then her current life with him a year after that. The book bounces around a lot where necessary, so I didn't understand why Emma had to make her decision between Jesse or Sam in the span of one weekend trip. Deciding whether to be with your high school sweetheart and husband or your current fiance is a decision that should maybe require more than seventy-two hours to mull over.
I had a few other nit picky things that are spoilery, so I'll avoid posting them here. But otherwise, I truly enjoyed this book. It was a fast-paced book that dealt with some serious topics, but was ultimately a sweet romance I would recommend to anyone. I now plan to read all of Taylor Jenkins Reid's other books!
Have you read Taylor Jenkins Reid? Which of her books is your favorite?