Title: The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, this bright, funny debut from a fresh voice in fiction offers a delicious take on love, family, and what it means to build a home of one’s own.
Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer—and former flame—Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn. Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices—and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life—and in love.
Full of both humor and heartbreak, The One That Got Away is the story of one woman’s discovery that, sometimes, life is what happens when you leave the blueprints behind.
The One That Got Away is a delightfully charming debut novel by Bethany Chase. It is a sweet, funny and poignant story that I absolutely LOVED and highly recommend to fans of contemporary romances.
At long last, Sarina Mahler has her life together. Her architect business is beginning to taking off and she is almost engaged to her boyfriend of four years, Noah, who is a lawyer currently working on a project in Argentina. She is finally ready to face her roommate’s best friend Eamon Roy for the first time since he walked out her without explanation after a brief fling seven years earlier. Although she wants to limit contact with the man who broke her heart, she agrees to work for him when he needs an architect to renovate his fixer upper. Sarina is dismayed to discover she is still drawn to Eamon, but with picture perfect Noah ready to take their relationship to the next level, which man will she choose?
Sarina is a vivacious, witty thirty something who has a lot going for her. She has a great network of friends who are supportive while at the same time, they are brutally honest with her when she needs advice. Although her mom passed away years earlier, she is still very close to her stepfather. Sarina’s relationship with Noah is comfortable and safe but they are beginning to feel the strain of their yearlong separation. Sarina is a little surprised at how easily and quickly she and Eamon pick up their friendship despite the hurt feelings she still nurses from their abrupt break up. The spend a lot more time together than she planned, but she enjoys his company too much to give up. When her relationship with Noah hits a major snag, she is torn between staying with the safe choice or risking her heart again.
In Eamon’s defense, he was young and still in college when he unceremoniously dumped Sarina. He was intensely focused on his training for the Olympics and he had some tough choices to make about his future. During the intervening years, Eamon matured, overcame a horrific accident and achieved his dream of becoming a gold medal Olympic swimmer. He is now retired and beginning the next phase of his life and he is ready to put down roots. He is rather enigmatic about what he wants from Sarina so it is understandable that she has doubts about his intentions. He tries to be patient as she sorts through her options, but Eamon also pushes her to get off the fence about what (and who) she wants.
The relationship between Eamon and Sarina is slow building but there is no denying the chemistry between them. They both respect Sarina’s relationship with Noah but Eamon and Sarina definitely enjoy one another’s company. They eventually sort out what went wrong the first time they dated but Sarina remains committed to Noah despite the doubts that are starting to creep in about her future with him. Sarina comes to a crossroads after a tragic loss and while this clarifies what she needs to do next, she still has doubts about following through with her decision. This leads to a misunderstanding that could have been avoided if she had been more honest.
The One That Got Away is an engaging novel with a wonderful cast of likable characters. Bethany Chase puts a unique and refreshing spin on a familiar plot and the resulting story is absolutely marvelous. An overall warm and witty debut that leaves me impatiently awaiting her next release!