After reading Taylor Jenkins Reid’s two most famous books – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six – I decided to start reading her backlist of books. Do you ever start a book and think to yourself “Oh shit, this is going to be good”? If you haven’t, read One True Love, and you just might experience it.
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.
From the first pages, it was clear just how good this book was gonna be. It’s a big departure from Taylor Jenkins Reid’s most popular books: it’s far less grand and is set on a much smaller stage. Instead of being about celebrities and larger than life folks, it’s about an average woman who is thrown into an unbelievable, unimaginable scenario and is forced to make a choice about which path her life will take. The best way to sum this book up is to call it quietly beautiful: Taylor Jenkins Reid nails the grieving and healing process, while still delivering a beautiful love story.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors ever – everything she writes is pure gold. She has an incredible gift for writing the most atmospheric books – within a handful of pages it’s almost like you can smell the salt air in California and the pages of the books in Blair’s books. She’s also amazing at writing deeply real characters – characters who are not only flawed, but could easily be someone you knew growing up. She writes characters so real, sometimes it’s hard to believe that her books are works of fiction. All of this holds true in One True Loves – every time I think I’ve found her best book, I read another from her backlist and marvel at how great of an author she is.
In this book, Emma, the main character, truly had an impossible choice: her presumed dead husband showed up after two years just as she got engaged to another man. Just to reiterate: her previously presumed dead husband shows up as she’s celebrating her engagement to her new fiance. This creates a complex dynamic: Jesse, her husband, has thought of nothing but her since his helicopter crash, while Emma has made the choice to move forward with her life. Naturally, Jesse expects they will pick up where they left off when he returns home. This is while she has created a new life for herself with Sam, who is very, very in love with her. All of the characters are deeply understandable in their motivations: a feat unto itself. Even better, at some point, they each made decisions that will drive you mad, but they’re easily redeemed by the end of the story.
One True Loves is one of those unique books that keeps you thinking for hours after – possibly days after. It’s almost criminal that this has not been adapted into a movie. If you read and loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six, do yourself a favor and go read One True Loves – it’s a much less boisterous tale, but it’s in those quiet moments that it truly shines. One True Loves is perfect for fans of Katherine Center or old-school Jodi Picoult or for people looking for a truly epic love story. 5/5