The One That Got Away is a smart and funny modern retelling of Persuasion, which has always been author Melissa Pimentel’s favorite Jane Austen novel. Ruby and Ethan were each other’s first love. They shared one perfect summer together before it all fell apart. Now, ten years later, they meet again at Ruby’s sister’s wedding. With tempers running high and her family on the edge of meltdown, Ruby has to finally confront how she feels about Ethan. Has he been “the one” all along – or just the one that got away?
Pimentel explores the nature of young love and the pitfalls that come with it using the backdrop of this classic love story. People change over the course of their twenties. Can love survive that sort of change? Are some things better left in the past? Is there really a right person for everyone, or is it more about the right time?
Ummm, ok. I picked this book because I love Jane Austen. I was also in the mood for a potential “feel good” – “happily ever after” love story and this modern day retelling of a Jane Austen classic seemed to be a good fit. The added bonus for me was the discovery that most of the story takes place, overseas in Scotland. Pimentel is a great, descriptive writer whose words allowed me to envision the castles and great houses that line the Scottish country side where the main character’s sister will be getting married. I love to travel and my inspiration thus far has come from books. I am not saying that my next trip will be to Scotland but after reading Pimental’s description, it has been added to my growing list of “must visit places”.
Ruby, the main character, is an overworked, single New York gal who came from money. She is conjured to her sisters wedding where she knows she will run into Ethan her ex whom she apparently still has strong feelings for despite the 10 year stretch since their breakup and last conversation. Pimental perfectly captures the awkward energy when one meets up with or runs into an old flame whom you have never quite gotten over. Ruby’s attempt to project “I am doing well” when the reality is that she is living in a cramped New York City apartment that she can barely afford was hilarious. Meanwhile, Ethan who is now a rich, world renowned, entrepreneur appears to be unbothered by her despite their history and her “look how great I am doing” efforts. The secondary characters are quite ostentacious and subsequently, entertaining. They help to move the book along until we finally find out what led to the “breakup” and how the their relationship will finally resolve.
I have never read Persuasion so I can’t compare Pimental’s efforts with Austen’s. Without the benefit of comparison, for me, The One That Got Away is just a good read.
DISCLOSURE: An advance copy of the book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review.