Author: Melissa Pimentel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: August 2017
Genre: Adult Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Ruby and Ethan broke up ten years ago. But that doesn’t mean that either of them is over it when they see each other again for Ruby’s sister’s (and Ethan’s best friend’s) wedding. There, old feelings will surface and maybe, just maybe, second chances too.
I really enjoyed The One That Got Away. A modern nod to Jane Austen’s Persuasion (I don’t want to say retelling), The One That Got Away is a sweet and light hearted story about second chances. Ruby and Ethan broke up ten years ago and they haven’t seen each other since. Until the wedding.
I liked Ruby a lot. She tried so hard to be put together and successful, afraid of what others would this or how she needed t make it in NYC. I thought she had a lot of heart and a clear vulnerability that anyone can relate to, especially when just starting out. Ethan was also a great character for lots of reasons. Yes, he’s the good guy, kind and sweet and totally s mitten with Ruby when they first met. But what I really liked about Ethan was how his character was very solid even at the beginning. I liked who all he wanted to do was hang out with her, how he was content (somewhat) in his life, with his job, hanging with his friends. I liked how normal he was. not some shark in a sharp suit, not some guy trying to get a head. H was a nice guy, a bartender, who fell in love with a girl. And when that girl broke his heart, he strived to become something different.
The story is told back and forth between Then and Now. I liked that a lot because it gave us a big sense of who Ruby and Ethan were before the breakup, and how they fell in love. It also gave a the reader a clear sense of urgency as the wedding drew closer, will they? or won’t they?, and added a lot of extra emotion to this second chance. In essence, it was watching both sequence of events unfold in the perfect way, up to what you already assumed was the climatic reveal, knowing already how the first turned out and hoping that the second wasn’t going to be the same.
The only gripe I have with the story is the ending. It seemed like it ended too fast, I would have loved a little more closure and a lot more seeing Ruby and Ethan after the wedding. I also wish that Jess, Ruby’s best friend and phone confidant, had a lot more screen time. She seemed pretty half drawn because she was mostly used only to allow us to hear Ruby talk about her feelings. I wish we had a little more Jess time because she seemed like a fun character.
Also, I know this is nit-picky, but it’s because I love Persuasion so much. The most wonderful thing about the original is the letter that the Capt. sends to his love, in the midst of all of the crazy, where he expresses his undying love for her. That said, there wasn’t anything quite so romantic. Sure, a conversation Pride & Prejudice (film) style out on the fields is romantic, but I liked how intimate the love letter was and how his feelings were so plainly expressed, even when the whole world was crazy around them. I didn’t feel like I got that kind of deep, quiet romance between them. But again, I don’t think this would bother anyone else necessarily.
Anyone a fan of Persuasion will enjoy The One That Got Away. And even if you’ve never read the original, this story is sweet and hard to put down! I gobbled it up.
About the Author
Melissa Pimentel grew up in a small town in Massachusetts in a house without cable and therefore much of her childhood was spent watching 1970s British comedy on public television. These days, she spends much of her time reading in the various pubs of Stoke Newington and engaging in a long-standing emotional feud with their disgruntled cat, Welles. She works in publishing and is also the author of Love by the Book.