The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel | Exploring the Setting | Author Guest Post

Hello everyone,
The One That Got Away releases today!

Yesterday I posted my thoughts about The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel. Today, we have a post by Melissa in which she talks about why she chose Northumberland as the setting for her novel.

I'm always curious about why authors make certain choices or decisions about certain aspects of their novels. Sometimes it's obvious why the author chose a certain setting to enhance the story's plot, but other times not so obvious. So, of course, I was curious as to why Melissa chose Northumberland as her setting and not any other English town.


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...


The Setting for The One That Got Away

My reasons for setting most of the novel in the far North of England are nearly entirely self-serving. First of all, my husband’s family is from Northumberland, so I knew I’d score a couple of points. Second, we were married in a castle there (it wasn’t as fancy as it sounds, I promise – it was more of the “casual” variety of castle), so I was familiar with the innerworkings of Anglo-American castle weddings and all of their various delights and pitfalls. So the decision was a combination of apple-polishing and laziness.
Alnwick Castle, a medieval castle in Northumberland that the characters visited in the novel. Source
No! That’s not true. Well, not entirely. The truth is, Northumberland is a genuinely incredible place, particularly for an American like me. The landscape is lush and green and gently rolling, the air is fresher than a starched collar, the people are funny and kind and generous, and there are more castles than you can shake a stick at. Seriously, the first time I went there to meet Simon’s parents, I mentioned that I’d never seen a castle before. His father piled us in the car and within twenty minutes had pointed out no less than eight castles. This is largely why we got married in a castle – not because of any latent Disney fantasies (though I do love me some Disney) but because castles were basically they only available venue option. And the options were plentiful.
Bamburgh Castle: Ruby's sister Piper's wedding venue. Source
I set the novel in Northumberland so I could share this gorgeous part of the world with a few more people, and because it’s become one of my very favorite places. I hope I’ve done it justice, but I really hope people will come see it for themselves. I can guarantee you’ll see a castle or two.


Since The One That Got Away was set in a real place, I had to look up some pictures to better picture it in my head and just from looking at photographs I am in love. I have since added Northumberland as one of my places to visit in the future.

A huge thank you to Melissa for sharing her inspiration for the setting as well as to St. Martin's Press and Staci for the opportunity to review The One That Got Away and for connecting me to Melissa for this post. If you haven't already, read my full thoughts about The One That Got Away here and it is also now available at your favorite retailer.

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.

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Happy reading,

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