March 23, 2015

Leave the Blueprints Behind

The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase

Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Random House | Ballantine
Pages: 465 pages
Source & Format: Publisher; ARC
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Summary (from Goodreads)
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.

Thoughts on The One That Got Away
Author Bethany Chase tweeted me one day about my love for Gilbert Blythe, and I knew immediately that I wanted to read her debut, The One That Got Away. And when I read this post about how Gilbert Blythe kicks the ass of Mr. Darcy any day of the week, I had a feeling I'd found a kindred spirit. Chase emailed me soon after about sending me a copy of her book for review consideration, and I was ecstatic. I'm in love with the cover and had loved chatting with her, so I couldn't wait to get a copy in my hands.

Sarina Mahler has finally found security. She lives in Austin, Texas, loves her growing architecture practice and has found love with her wonderful boyfriend, Noah. Sure, he's out of the country for a year for his job, but they'll make it work. Then, Eamon Roy enters the picture - the one that got away all those years ago. He wants Sarina to renovate his new home, and he turns out to be her dream client. But is he also the one that she wants?

3 Things I Loved:
  • Writing - While the story in The One That Got Away is a little predictable, Chase's writing made the book a refreshing read. From little details to more emotional scenes, Chase had me hooked on this story and these characters. The dialogue was witty, and the characters felt realistic. I'm excited about Chase's future and definitely plan on reading her next book!
  • Sarina's Job - Sarina is an architect, and this was probably my favorite part of the book. Chase is an experienced interior designer, and her knowledge is evident. I loved reading about Sarina's projects, her vision for the spaces, her desire for her own firm and her passion for her career. As a huge fan of the show Fixer Upper, The One That Got Away reminded me of all the reasons I love watching HGTV. And I think the reason I loved it so much is because I could tell Chase was writing about what she knew!
  • Secondary Storylines - Of all the threads in The One That Got Away, I actually loved some of the secondary storylines the most. My heart broke when Sarina talked about losing her mom. I was grinning - and then nearly in tears - when the book highlighted Sarina's relationship with her stepfather John. And as I've already said, I loved when Sarina's job was the focus. From pitching new clients to joking around with her roommate, these were the moments I knew Chase was an author to watch!
2 Things I Enjoyed:
  • Characters - In some ways, reading The One That Got Away reminded me of how I feel when I read Emily Giffin's books. Giffin writes complicated, messy, selfish and often unlikable characters - but I kind of love that about her. Similarly, Sarina and Eamon were both characters that I was rooting for but was completely frustrated with at times. I loved that they weren't perfect, but I also wanted to shake the book because of the things they were doing or saying. Either way, I was clearly invested in them!
  • Setting - The One That Got Away is set in Austin, Texas, and I had so much fun visiting the Lone Star State in its pages. I felt like Chase captured the quirky vibe of the city, and it made me want to pack my bags for a long weekend away. I explored her Pinterest boards after I finished the book, and I had so much fun seeing the inspiration for the book. The setting really comes alive, and it perfectly fit the tone of the book. I also loved the glimpse of Sarina's hometown, especially since it was a huge part of who she was.
1 Thing I Disliked:
  • Relationship - Based on the summary, I was a little nervous about one aspect of the book: the relationships. Depending on how it's handled, I can either love or hate the "Do I want to be with the person who is perfect on paper, even if the relationship is a little more boring, or do I want to be with the person who might just be perfect for me, even if that kind of passion scares me?" romantic trope. While I understood Sarina's conflicted feelings, I didn't like the way she handled them. There were moments I loved Eamon, but there were also other moments when I hated him. And because the romance rubbed me the wrong way, I was never able to fully love this book. I came so close to loving it for all the other elements, but I could never get past my issues with this one thing. 
The One That Got Away introduced me to an author with a bright future! I really enjoyed the quirky setting, the smart writing, the complicated characters, the touching moments with Sarina's family and her passion for her career. While there was one aspect I couldn't get past, I can't wait to read more from Chase!

So Quotable
"It's funny how, when you only get to spend a very finite amount of time with someone you wanted to know better, you find that certain details have cut deeper tracks in your memory than others — something about the way they looked, or one particular comment that made you laugh, out of hundreds of sentences."
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

4 comments:

  1. Great review! I finished this one over the weekend and really enjoyed it for all the reasons you mentioned here and I can't wait to read more from Bethany Chase. I was frustrated by the relationships Sarina had, too, but even though I didn't like the things she was doing I did think they were really authentic and, sadly, I could see myself or my friends panicking or being scared and handling things in a similar way and I liked that.

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  2. Glad you enjoyed this one! The summary really appealed to me, and I liked that the main character had a non-typical job (PR, chef, etc.). I have a copy on my Kindle that I think I'll be moving to the top of the proverbial stack!

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  3. I still haven't read The One That Got Away just yet, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading it! The comp was what initially got to me when I was first offered a chance to read this one, but what's stayed with me is the concept of "the one that got away". It's always enlightening to see your thoughts on a novel I'm going to read, H, and I can't wait to read this one (and chat with you about it)!

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  4. Really great review, I love the format of how you do it! Even though I'm really drawn to the cover, I don't think this book is really my style. Thanks for telling me ;)

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