The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel | Review

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: April 22, 2017 (TOMORROW!)
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone
A smart, funny, and modern retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, where a young woman comes face-to-face with a lost love, proving that the one that got away is sometimes the one you get back.

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren't.

Ten years later, Ruby's single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There's barely time for a trip to England for her little sister's wedding. And there's certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can't help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago? Because there's nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past...

Okay, so, since I haven't read Persuasion (and only saw an old BBC movie version of it years ago and in which the details are now vague) I can't comment on how The One That Got Away compares to Austen's novel. Instead I'm just going to comment on the book on it's own, and not as a retelling.

Actually, when I found out The One That Got Away is a retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion I wanted to pick it up right away because for me a Persuasion retelling means a second chance trope. It's a romance for a couple who had a messy break up in the past and now, for whatever reason, are brought together again for a second chance. I love this trope! I love watching the couple work out their past and fall for each other again and work their way (finally!) to a happily ever after.

The reason Ruby and Ethan were brought together again after a decade was because Ruby's younger sister is marrying Ethan's best friend in England--Northumberland** to be exact! [I've always wanted to visit the English countryside and see a real live castle, which Northumberland seemed to have an overabundance of--thanks to this novel, I have since added Northumberland on my list of places to visit for this reason alone.] So, we're not told why Ruby and Ethan broke up ten years ago, but it was hinted that the fault lies with Ruby.

Ruby and I are both kind of at the same point in our lives where we're pretty secure in our careers as well as finances (although still mostly poor) and still single, while our friends from college are married and/or have kids. There was this scene in the beginning of the novel where Ruby was looking at her best friend Jess in a domestic tableau with her 2-year-old son and couldn't quite wrap her mind around the fact that this goddess of motherhood was the same girl who used to do the craziest shit in college. And this is me whenever I see my now married with kids college girlfriends. It was great connecting with Ruby in that way.

I also liked Ethan, our bartender-turned-app-millionaire-entrepreneur. Right away you know that he's a really good guy, and you're like, Ruby, how can you let this guy go?

The One That Got Away alternated between the past (from the start of Ruby and Ethan's relationship to their eventual break up) and present. The present was told in Ruby's first person POV while the past was in third person where we got to see things unfold in both Ruby and Ethan's perspectives. In the "then" parts, we really get to know Ethan more intimately, which gave us a better insight to his character in the present, which was told entirely through Ruby. 

We're also introduced to several secondary characters, and the ones I found the most interesting were Ruby's stepmom, Candace, and her dad, Alec. I really enjoyed the development of Ruby and her sister Piper's relationship with Candace. It's not often I come across a stepmother/daughters relationship like the one in this novel and I really liked it. As for Alec, he had a very successful real estate business in the past and was the richest man in town, but he was always treated as "new money." He eventually lost all his money and lives modestly in Florida in the present. At first glance, he comes off as kind of a greedy, pompous jerk but he also worked hard for his business and cared about his family--I mean, he's a jerk with a crass sense of humor, but a lovable one. I really liked his and Candace's multi-dimensionality. 

Through the now and then chapters, we finally start to see a better picture of Ruby and Ethan's past relationship and I wouldn't say that I was surprised when it was finally revealed why they broke up and we learn Ruby's secret. That was heartbreaking and I felt so sorry for Ethan and also Ruby. But, will they finally have their happily ever after in the present?

I rooted for Ruby and Ethan to finally find their HEA. The One That Got Away was a fun beach read. While reading it I kind of wished I was familiar with Persuasion so that I can compare the characters and the different scenes--seeing bits of the original in the modern interpretation is half the fun in a retelling and all that, alas, flew over my head. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the story for what it was--a wonderful second-chance romance. 

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.

**Come back here tomorrow because we have a special post tomorrow by author Melissa Pimentel about why she chose Northumberland as the setting for The One That Got Away.**

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