One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

one true loves

About three years ago, I got an advance copy of Forever, Interrupted.

I read it in one day, so obviously it sucked me in, but I didn’t actually think it was that great.

(Also, the main character was a librarian and there were so many bizarro librarian things in that there made me think the author knew nothing about how libraries actually work. For instance, she mentions in passing that her salary after graduating from college was higher than any of her peers because she went into librarianship – apparently all her classmates went into the shoe shining business.

Also, in one of the big final scenes, she goes to a bookstore and buys the entire YA section to donate to the library in her late husband’s name. Which, that definitely strains the imagination right there because. . . libraries do not generally appreciate getting a giant stack of books and being told to create a collection and no librarian that I can imagine would actually do such a thing. But THEN! apparently the husband only liked new books with that new book smell so she specifies in her donation that once they start smelling musty, they must all be donated to another library and replaced with new books.

I. . . just can’t).


Even though I thought it was mediocre, I still picked up a copy of her next book After I Do, about a couple that, reaching a breaking point in their marriage, decides to take a year separation with zero contact and then get back together at the end of the year and decide how to move forward.

This one was better, but still . . . not one I ran out to recommend or anything.

Last week, I picked up a library copy of her newest title, One True Loves (don’t ask what compels me to keep requesting her books when I’ve been underwhelmed by her previous works – I don’t know either) and just before I went to bed, I picked it up to read for 20-30 minutes.

Two and a half hours later, I’d read the entire thing.

It was just one of those blissful reading experiences where there are no interruptions (the girls were in bed and Bart was out of town) and I just read straight through, totally absorbed in the story. It was like being a tween again, when I read a book every day or two, and could just lay on my bed and read for hours and hours with no responsibilities.

It was basically amazing (I can’t decide if it was really that this was a fun book or just that the experience of reading it was so gratifying, since I RARELY get to read through in one go).


The premise is that Emma married her high school sweetheart, Jesse. Together, they left their Boston suburbs hometown for Southern California where she becomes a travel writer and he becomes a videographer. Their life is filled with adventure as they see the world together.

Then, the day before their first wedding anniversary, Jesse goes on a helicopter trip to film parts of Alaska and the helicopter goes down somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

And just like that, the book closes on Emma’s fairy tale life and their charmed marriage.

She quickly moves home to live with her parents and eventually starts to find a new footing for herself back in the little town she spent so many years trying to escape.

And then, eventually, she runs into Sam, someone she was close friends with through high school, but now hasn’t seen in a decade.

Emma starts to think it might be time to at least consider the possibility of finding love and happiness again, and she and Sam get engaged.

Of course, you know what happens next.

It turns out that Jesse WASN’T killed in the helicopter crash and now, three years later, is coming home.

So Emma finds herself with both a husband and a fiancé, and a decision to make. She loves them both deeply, but she obviously can’t have them both.

I like a book where you just don’t know how it’s going to play out, and this was like that for me – I had no idea whether she’d choose Jesse or Sam or HOW she’d make that decision.

I also appreciated that both Jesse and Sam are viable options; I can’t stand it when one character suddenly turns completely awful so that basically the main character HAS to choose the other one. Reid doesn’t do that, and I thought it was all quite believable.

I also think this would be the worst choice ever to have to make. I can’t even imagine.

Be warned that there are several sex scenes in One True Loves – they’re brief and not at all graphic, but considered yourself alerted.

Mainly, it was just so fun to read something in that totally care-free, completely absorbed way that I haven’t in years. That’s what summer reading is for me, even if I wasn’t at the beach or lounging by the pool.

(Also, now I might finally get around to reading Maybe in Another Life, which has been sitting on my bedside table for . . . two months).

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  1. I really enjoyed this book too! I had never heard of the author until I got "Maybe in Another Life" free through GoodReads last summer and I did read her past books after that but totally agree that this one is her best. It's hard to imagine how I'd react in the situation (and I hope I never do find out) but everything Emma went through seemed completely believable and true to character. It was a lovely, enjoyable read.

  2. When one of the love interests turns out to be a sibling/cousin/otherwise not an option? That annoys me. Either give me an actual dilemma or don't. I don't need a love triangle to keep reading.

  3. I need to read this book. I loved Maybe in Another Life when I read it a couple of months ago. I really want to read After I Do as well.

  4. This actually happened to my husband's grandmother. Her husband died in WWII. She subsequently remarried and a year later her first husband came home from the war. Such a heartbreaking situation and one she (understandably) doesn't like talking about much. I'm definitely going to read this!

  5. I read 'Maybe in Another Life' recently, my first of Reid's books. I found it to be an enjoyable and even thought-provoking bit of fluff. This one sounds like it'll be the same. It's definitely on my summer reading list!

  6. I love this book and thought it was so thought provoking and fun and I kept thinking about it for days afterward but I was a little bit hung up on how when the husband comes back from living on a teeny rock for 3 years he just seemed so normal… side note, I recently read an article about how John McCain was a POW for more than 5 years and he said that after he was released he was able to just return to normal life and didn’t have many lasting emotional effects and I thought that was fascinating!

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