One True Loves: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins ReidOne True Loves: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves: A Novel

byTaylor Jenkins Reid

Paperback | June 7, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info

$16.17 online 
$22.00 list price save 26%
Earn 81 plum® points
Quantity:

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores

about

Named a Best Book of Summer by Cosmopolitan * InStyle * Redbook * Us Weekly * PopSugar * Buzzfeed * Bustle * Brit+Co * Parade

“No one does life and love better.” –InStyle
“Earth-shaking…you will flip for this epic love story.” –Cosmopolitan

“Reid's heartwrenching tale asks if it's possible to have multiple soul mates.” —Us Weekly

From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a People Magazine pick—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author, essayist, and TV writer. Her debut novel, Forever, Interrupted, has been optioned with Dakota Johnson attached to star. She is adapting her second book, After I Do, for ABC Family. Her most recent novel, Maybe In Another Life has become a best-selling e-book. In addition to her novels, Taylor's essays ...
Loading
Title:One True Loves: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.25 × 5.31 × 0.9 inPublished:June 7, 2016Publisher:Washington Square PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1476776903

ISBN - 13:9781476776903

Look for similar items by category:

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was OK I could not relate to the characters. However, it is an easy reading
Date published: 2017-10-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Very interesting book, i listened to as a audio book which may have at times influenced my like of the book! the story was good and entertaining
Date published: 2017-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read! I bought this book based on a recommendation from a friend and it was fantastic! I couldn't put it down and I have read of the authors books since then, currently in the middle of her newest book right now! Her work is easy to read and you will fall in love with her characters!
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read Love everything about this book .. Emma !!! I Felt every emotion she was going true . I was all in . Ones you start reading you can't put it down .
Date published: 2017-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from URG! SO GOOD! SO MANY FEELINGS!
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was okay Because of the speculations, I had hight expectations for this book. Unfortunately, it left me a bit disappointed. What made me pick it up is the synopsis; I was intrigued to see what would happened, even though I was already certain of who the main character would pick even before starting the book. The writing was not the best; most parts were very similar to what I've read before (content and writing style) and in some parts it was repetitive. It was enjoyable for 1/4 of it, but it isn't horrible. If you want to read something with a similar plot (but way better), pick up Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin.
Date published: 2017-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love I'm obsessed with this author and this book was no exception. Her characters are believable and really grab you. I loved the idea, although a little far fetched, it still makes for a great read.
Date published: 2017-07-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life I do not know the last time I inhale read a book like I did with One True Loves. I sat down to check out the first few pages and next thing I know I'm done the book. Obviously One True Loves is utterly readable and compelling. I was hooked from the first page, invested in Emma's life from the get go. One True Loves is split into three sections; before, after and present. The before is a bit of Emma growing up, getting together with Jesse in their last year of high school, them falling madly in love and moving to the west coast to live their life together. Then Jesse is gone. Emma is devastated and struggling to cope. She also doesn't want to give on Jesse; she knows he's still alive. The after is Emma dealing with her grief, moving back home and learning to live her life without Jesse. Years on and she runs into an old friend, Sam. Sam who she use to have a crush on. Emma feels like she's ready to step into the dating pool again, mostly because she trusts Sam. The present, Emma is happy. She's engaged to Sam and life is good. Until Jesse is found alive. He's been fighting all these years to get back to her. Now Emma has a husband and a fiance, both whom she loves madly and doesn't want to hurt. But unfortunately somebody is going to be left brokenhearted. I think what really drew me in, besides the story being fascinating, was Emma. Her character is so very real and struck a chord with me. Emma is a child that wants to get out from under her sisters shadow, into a teenager that doesn't want to be stuck in her hometown like her parents want, to somebody that finds their person, a person that makes you be brave and realize it's your life; so travel the damn world. So somebody who is slightly changing their ideals and wants and is scared to tell their partner. To somebody that is lost and grieving and trying to see that their will be a new life and happiness in the future. To somebody that makes a new life, one they love, well finding love again. And finally to somebody that is trying to listen to their heart and what it's trying to say will lead them to happiness. I mean, Emma goes through a lot, clearly. And she is so strong and brave even when she's at her lowest point. I think the real moment for me was before Jesse disappeared and Emma was realizing that she's seen so much of the world, her and Jesse have done what she thought she never would, now maybe she's starting to think settling down isn't so bad. If Jesse hadn't of disappeared I would be interested to see how that change would have come to fruition. Not the most important point, but it caught my attention. I guess One True Loves is truly a love story; a multifaceted one. Emma is trying to come to terms with the fact that it's possible to have more than one true love throughout your life. That maybe a love can be everything but only for a specific time in your life. It doesn't diminish the meaning of that love, it just shows how people change and grow apart. Jesse and Emma were Jesse and Emma, their love was massive and all consuming. They were able to pull each other away from the life that was set up for them and make the one they wanted. They believed that if one thing never changed, it was their love for each other. Well Jesse disappeared and Emma changed through her grief for him. She wanted home and started to live the life her and Jesse got away from, except it provided happiness for Emma and brought Sam back into her life. Patient, endearing and loving Sam. And now Emma has found another love that is true. One True Loves does a spectacular job of exploring love and what it can mean between couples. The differences it can bring into a relationship, yet still be the same, its the people that shape it. We can call this like it is, a love triangle. You're going to be seeing end game for Emma. There is guy you're going to be gunning for. Jesse and Sam are both amazing guys. Jesse is the adventurer. He's handsome and adoring towards Emma. Sam is the quite, happy to be at home building a family man. Both so different, yet exactly perfect for Emma at those periods in her life. Of course I have a favourite. I'm just not going to mention who. Jesse's story is heartbreaking. Lost at sea, fighting to survive so he can back to his wife. Than returning and realizing she's moved on and having to acclimate to society again. It's hard to see his struggle, the hopes that his wife was waiting for him and now having to fight for her to come back to him. It's sad. And poor Sam, getting ready to marry the love of his life and suddenly her supposed to be dead husband returns. Sam is so understanding. He doesn't get mad at Emma for being shocked and confused. He's devastated that he could lose her. But he also doesn't want to get in the way, Sam wants to fight for her to choose him; he wants her to see that their life is where her heart lies now. Sam is really admirable. That right there, this "love triangle" pulls you in. Yes, One True Loves is a love story. But it's also about Emma and her changing growing life. Her relationships with Jesse and Sam, her relationship with her parents and sister. Emma being true to herself and learning to grow as person through these major life events. Just a fantastically emotional unputdownable read. I now get the love Taylor Jenkins Reid receives. Late to the game, but at least I showed up.
Date published: 2017-07-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 3.5 stars not my usual genre but it was a good read
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Break out the tissues!!! Where do I even begin. This is my first book from this author and I was definitely not disappointed. Jesse & Emma were high school sweethearts and then separated by the worst possible tragedy the day before their one-year wedding anniversary. Is it possible to heal yourself and be able to find true love again? And what would you do if the one person you thought you would never see again is back and is not ready to let you go? Break out the tissues!!! This story is so beautifully written and narrated and incredibly moving. At one point the emotions become so intense that I was completely buzzing, inside & out. There are other books and movies with a similar story line and pretense however; this is so beautifully written that I absolutely would recommend it. Also, I think I may have found a new favourite female narrator. Oh, PS....don't listen to or read chapter 35 in public
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really likable read! Really touching book. Read three books by this author and her voice is so relatable and moving. She's an impressive story teller and her tone makes you flip pages in anticipation.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! At first I was hesitant to pick this book up but I am so glad that I did! I actually finished reading it in less than twenty-four hours it was so addicting!
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Addicting. Will probably make you cry. A beautiful, frustrating, relatable, passionate and heart-wrenching story. I couldn't put it down and finished it in a day.
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not too sure how I feel I wasn't sure how I would feel reading it and now that I've read it, I'm still not too sure how I feel. The book describes two beautiful love stories and I found myself wanting one of them to work out more than the other. I guess you could say I was disappointed in the end, though I don't want to spoil the ending. I understand why it ended the way it did, but I wasn't thrilled. An absolute great and fast read, nonetheless. I highly recommend it!!
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My heart. <b>"I decided that was my answer to questions of fate. I could go around asking myself what if <i>x</i> hadn't happened, and the answer would always be, 'But it did.'"</b> Starting this book I was a bit concerned whether I would like it or not; it wasn't that the story seemed to be progressing slowly, it was that it seemed to be a little plain at first. And some of the writing appeared to be redundant. It felt like there was often too many details than needed. The author does well to make you feel the strong emotions from certain life moments, such as the anticipation walking down the aisle to your future husband or wife or the pain of hearing that your true love is believed to be dead. I felt like I was experiencing the emotion and pain that Emma was going through as if I was her in the story. As with another book I read by this author, I loved how she beautifully conveys human nature, and the different things that can happen in life and the deep truths that people experience in their individual lives. The conflicts in this story and within each of the main characters is one that I think everyone wishes they never have to experience or go through; or wish to never be in any of these characters' positions. I was unsure how the story would conclude for each of these characters and although I do admit I was a little conflicted on how I felt with some of the decisions made by these characters, I was happy with the way it ended and overall, I really, really loved this story. I will definitely read it again in the future! <b><i>"People aren't stagnant. We evolve in reaction to our pleasures and our pains."</i></b>
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautiful story about life and love When I read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut, Forever, Interrupted in 2013 I knew she was going to become a favourite author. Three years and three books later, TJR is still blowing me away with her ingenuity and storytelling ability. One True Loves is a beautiful, unique, honest, heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful story about true love, family, loss, and finding the strength to continue living even when your whole world is ripped away from you. Jenkins Reid has this amazing ability to take a story that should seem unrealistic and make it completely believable. One True Loves is no exception. I was hooked from the first page, and I felt like I went on an emotional roller coaster by Emma’s side. I enjoyed watching her fall in love with Jesse, grieved with her when she lost him, and felt so much pride when she slowly started growing stronger and living again, especially when she opened her heart to Sam. It was interesting to see Emma at different stages in her life and to essentially watch her grow up over the course of several years. And did she ever grow. Just thinking about all she went through makes me tear up and it also makes me proud because she felt like a real person and her struggles and triumphs rang so true. As with TJR’s other books, One True Loves is a love story in every sense of the word. I loved Emma’s relationship with her family and how it evolved realistically over the years. Emma’s relationships with Jesse and Sam were both enjoyable to read and made me run the gamut of emotions. And, like with TJR’s other books, this one made me think about life, family, love, what true love really means, and how we change over the years in big ways and small. One True Loves is another beautiful book from Taylor Jenkins Reid. It’s an emotional journey that will put your heart through the wringer but also patch it back up. I think this book will be very healing for people who have suffered or are suffering from grief. As emotional and bittersweet as it is, it’s also hopeful and left me smiling through my tears.
Date published: 2016-06-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Highly recommended for people who like emotional reads and books that have a lot to teach you. Holy moly. ONE TRUE LOVES by Taylor Jenkins Reid answers one of my biggest questions – and I think a lot of people’s questions – about whether you can have more than one “love of your life.” I’ve always wondered what would happen and how I would feel if something like this happened to me. Even now, I can’t even fathom it, but I feel like Taylor Jenkins Reid, with her brilliant, sensitive, emotional writing, has given me a glimpse into a little bit of how I would feel. I’m not even going to try to summarize this, because the synopsis above does it perfectly. I will say that even just reading the summary, I had no idea who Emma would choose and what I would feel. I expected a roller-coaster of emotions. I expected to feel like I was torn between choices like Emma. But I didn’t expect to understand so completely what Emma was going through. TJR has an amazing ability to put into words exactly what you believe – so deep in your heart – that you don’t know you had that thought until it’s put into words. This is particularly true in one section of the book, which is written entirely in second person. Yes, you heard that right – there’s an entire section that talks to “you.” It’s a narrative device that I’ve only seen used sparingly, and only with great reason – because it can seem grating and condescending. I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say that TJR is NEVER condescending and I think it worked incredibly well, and heightened the impact of the story. The rest of the book is split into phases of Emma’s life – the befores and afters of when she gets together with Jesse, when Jesse is declared dead, when she gets together with Sam, when Jesse comes back. It was an interesting structure that deliberately went against the messiness of the relationships. I’m not sure it fully worked for me, because it made it all feel like it was in hindsight…but I’m not sure it didn’t work either. Speaking of the messiness…this book is wrenching to get through. There are so many moments of tension and pain and heartache. And yet, I don’t feel like I was AS invested in the characters as I was in After I Do or Maybe in Another Life. Somehow, even though I felt for Emma and Jesse and Sam, I didn’t love them as much. I think that structure made some of the “getting-to-know-you” part a bit faster than I would have liked, and because of that, the characters didn’t feel as well developed as in TJR’s other books. That said, I came out of this book feeling like I had a better grasp on what I might do in the same situation and all of the things I might have to consider. Like with all of TJR’s books, I felt and I learned. And I’m not sure there’s anything more important than that. BONUSES: Family Matters: As always, TJR paints really authentic relationships between family and friends. I think this is actually the least support-system oriented book I’ve read from her, mostly because Emma’s family is one that doesn’t start out that close…but for me, that was more realistic than in some of her other books. I really enjoyed how Emma got closer to them as the book went on. Quotable Moments: Like all of TJR’s books, there are some really wise moments and lovely writing that I highlighted the crap out of. Here are a few (from the advanced copy, so please don’t blame me if they end up changing!): “I had predicated my life on the idea that I wanted to see everywhere extraordinary but I’d come to realize that extraordinary was everywhere.” “But then you feel yourself growing stronger in that bed, as if you’re squeezing the tears out of yourself, wringing yourself dry of pain. You imagine yourself bleeding grief, as if the water from your eyes is the pain itself.” “Good things don’t wait until you’re ready. Sometimes they come right before, when you’re almost there. And I figured when that happens, you can let them pass by like a bus not meant for you. Or you can get ready.” THE FINAL WORD: Can I tell you how deeply grateful I am for ONE TRUE LOVES and for many of TJR’s books? With every one, I feel like she’s exploring another facet of relationships – romantics, family, friends, and otherwise – that I’ve always questioned and never had answers to. And while she never purports to have all the answers, her books always make an incredible – and wise – case for the conclusions her characters come to. And the journey that they go on along the way. Highly recommended for people who like emotional reads and books that have a lot to teach you.
Date published: 2016-06-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life I do not know the last time I inhale read a book like I did with One True Loves. I sat down to check out the first few pages and next thing I know I'm done the book. Obviously One True Loves is utterly readable and compelling. I was hooked from the first page, invested in Emma's life from the get go. One True Loves is split into three sections; before, after and present. The before is a bit of Emma growing up, getting together with Jesse in their last year of high school, them falling madly in love and moving to the west coast to live their life together. Then Jesse is gone. Emma is devastated and struggling to cope. She also doesn't want to give on Jesse; she knows he's still alive. The after is Emma dealing with her grief, moving back home and learning to live her life without Jesse. Years on and she runs into an old friend, Sam. Sam who she use to have a crush on. Emma feels like she's ready to step into the dating pool again, mostly because she trusts Sam. The present, Emma is happy. She's engaged to Sam and life is good. Until Jesse is found alive. He's been fighting all these years to get back to her. Now Emma has a husband and a fiance, both whom she loves madly and doesn't want to hurt. But unfortunately somebody is going to be left brokenhearted. I think what really drew me in, besides the story being fascinating, was Emma. Her character is so very real and struck a chord with me. Emma is a child that wants to get out from under her sisters shadow, into a teenager that doesn't want to be stuck in her hometown like her parents want, to somebody that finds their person, a person that makes you be brave and realize it's your life; so travel the damn world. So somebody who is slightly changing their ideals and wants and is scared to tell their partner. To somebody that is lost and grieving and trying to see that their will be a new life and happiness in the future. To somebody that makes a new life, one they love, well finding love again. And finally to somebody that is trying to listen to their heart and what it's trying to say will lead them to happiness. I mean, Emma goes through a lot, clearly. And she is so strong and brave even when she's at her lowest point. I think the real moment for me was before Jesse disappeared and Emma was realizing that she's seen so much of the world, her and Jesse have done what she thought she never would, now maybe she's starting to think settling down isn't so bad. If Jesse hadn't of disappeared I would be interested to see how that change would have come to fruition. Not the most important point, but it caught my attention. I guess One True Loves is truly a love story; a multifaceted one. Emma is trying to come to terms with the fact that it's possible to have more than one true love throughout your life. That maybe a love can be everything but only for a specific time in your life. It doesn't diminish the meaning of that love, it just shows how people change and grow apart. Jesse and Emma were Jesse and Emma, their love was massive and all consuming. They were able to pull each other away from the life that was set up for them and make the one they wanted. They believed that if one thing never changed, it was their love for each other. Well Jesse disappeared and Emma changed through her grief for him. She wanted home and started to live the life her and Jesse got away from, except it provided happiness for Emma and brought Sam back into her life. Patient, endearing and loving Sam. And now Emma has found another love that is true. One True Loves does a spectacular job of exploring love and what it can mean between couples. The differences it can bring into a relationship, yet still be the same, its the people that shape it. We can call this like it is, a love triangle. You're going to be seeing end game for Emma. There is guy you're going to be gunning for. Jesse and Sam are both amazing guys. Jesse is the adventurer. He's handsome and adoring towards Emma. Sam is the quite, happy to be at home building a family man. Both so different, yet exactly perfect for Emma at those periods in her life. Of course I have a favourite. I'm just not going to mention who. Jesse's story is heartbreaking. Lost at sea, fighting to survive so he can back to his wife. Than returning and realizing she's moved on and having to acclimate to society again. It's hard to see his struggle, the hopes that his wife was waiting for him and now having to fight for her to come back to him. It's sad. And poor Sam, getting ready to marry the love of his life and suddenly her supposed to be dead husband returns. Sam is so understanding. He doesn't get mad at Emma for being shocked and confused. He's devastated that he could lose her. But he also doesn't want to get in the way, Sam wants to fight for her to choose him; he wants her to see that their life is where her heart lies now. Sam is really admirable. That right there, this "love triangle" pulls you in. Yes, One True Loves is a love story. But it's also about Emma and her changing growing life. Her relationships with Jesse and Sam, her relationship with her parents and sister. Emma being true to herself and learning to grow as person through these major life events. Just a fantastically emotional unputdownable read. I now get the love Taylor Jenkins Reid receives. Late to the game, but at least I showed up.
Date published: 2016-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A deeply affecting novel that will have you constantly reflecting on how an event can change our lives Taylor Jenkins Reid knows how to tug on my heart and make me hurt yet simultaneously feel overwhelming love. One True Loves shows once again how incredible TJR’s writing is and how much she is constantly evolving and growing as an author. It was beautiful and confusing and frustrating and lovely and original. And I want to hold it close to my heart forever. It took me a few chapters to be fully invested in One True Loves, as Reid’s writing can be formal at times. However, she introduces the characters with a thoroughness that allows the reader to become quickly attached. Emma is a character that immediately grabs your attention. She is incredibly realistic, and I couldn’t help but relate to her. As a young woman who has been in a relationship for years, the connection that is built between two people who are going through very formative years together is a strong one. To see her struggling in a way that any sane person would is refreshing in a world of romance that jumps from relationship to relationship without a second thought. One of the biggest aspects to Reid’s books that I tout to prospective readers is how easy her books are to absolutely devour, yet they remain intensely deep novels that constantly promote an introspective thought process that has the reader actively questioning a lot about their own life. And not necessarily in a bad way, just a cause to think and reflect and I really love that each novel Reid writes delves deeper into the smallest details of a person’s life. Another incredible story to add to your collection, as Taylor’s books should be collected and cherished. And look at that cover! Easily my favourite of hers now.
Date published: 2016-06-07

Read from the Book

One True Loves I am finishing up dinner with my family and my fiancé when my husband calls. It is my father’s sixty-fourth birthday. He is wearing his favorite sweater, a hunter green cashmere one that my older sister, Marie, and I picked out for him two years ago. I think that’s why he loves it so much. Well, also because it’s cashmere. I’m not kidding myself here. My mother is sitting next to him in a gauzy white blouse and khakis, trying to hold in a smile. She knows that a tiny cake with a candle and a song are coming any minute. She has always been childlike in her zeal for surprises. My parents have been married for thirty-five years. They have raised two children and run a successful bookstore together. They have two adorable grandchildren. One of their daughters is taking over the family business. They have a lot to be proud of. This is a happy birthday for my father. Marie is sitting on the other side of my mother and it is times like these, when the two of them are right next to each other, facing the same direction, that I realize just how much they look alike. Chocolate brown hair, green eyes, petite frames. I’m the one that got stuck with the big butt. Luckily, I’ve come to appreciate it. There are, of course, many songs dedicated to the glory of a backside, and if my thirties have taught me anything so far, it’s that I’m ready to try to be myself with no apologies. My name is Emma Blair and I’ve got a booty. I am thirty-one, five foot six, with a blond, grown-out pixie cut. My hazel eyes are upstaged by a constellation of freckles on the top of my right cheekbone. My father often jokes he can make out the Little Dipper. Last week, my fiancé, Sam, gave me the ring he has spent over two months shopping for. It’s a diamond solitaire on a rose gold band. While it is not my first engagement ring, it is the first time I’ve ever worn a diamond. When I look at myself, it’s all I can see. “Oh no,” Dad says, spotting a trio of servers headed our way with a lit slice of cake. “You guys didn’t . . .” This is not false modesty. My father blushes when people sing to him. My mother looks behind her to see what he sees. “Oh, Colin,” she says. “Lighten up. It’s your birthday . . .” The servers make an abrupt left and head to another table. Apparently, my father is not the only person born today. My mother sees what has happened and tries to recover. “. . . Which is why I did not tell them to bring you a cake,” she says. “Give it up,” my dad says. “You’ve blown your cover.” The servers finish at that table and a manager comes out with another slice of cake. Now they are all headed right for us. “If you want to hide under the table,” Sam says, “I’ll tell them you’re not here.” Sam is handsome in a friendly way—which I think might just be the best way to be handsome—with warm brown eyes that seem to look at everything with tenderness. And he’s funny. Truly funny. After Sam and I started dating, I noticed my laugh lines were getting deeper. This is most likely because I am growing older, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s because I am laughing more than I ever have. What else could you want in a person other than kindness and humor? I’m not sure anything else really matters to me. The cake arrives, we all sing loudly, and my father turns beet red. Then the servers turn away and we are left with an oversized piece of chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. The waitstaff left five spoons but my father immediately grabs them all. “Not sure why they left so many spoons. I only need one,” he says. My mother goes to grab one from him. “Not so fast, Ashley,” he says. “I endured the humiliation. I should get to eat this cake alone.” “If that’s how we are playing it . . .” Marie says. “For my birthday next month, please put me through this same rigmarole. Well worth it.” Marie drinks a sip of her Diet Coke and then checks her phone for the time. Her husband, Mike, is at home with my nieces, Sophie and Ava. Marie rarely leaves them for very long. “I should get going,” Marie says. “Sorry to leave, but . . .” She doesn’t have to explain. My mom and dad both stand up to give her a hug good-bye. Once she’s gone and my father has finally agreed to let us all eat the cake, my mom says, “It sounds silly but I miss that. I miss leaving someplace early because I was just so excited to get back to my little girls.” I know what’s coming next. I’m thirty-one and about to be married. I know exactly what is coming next. “Have you guys given any thought to when you might start a family?” I have to stop myself from rolling my eyes. “Mom—” Sam is already laughing. He has that luxury. She’s only his mother in an honorary capacity. “I’m just bringing it up because they are doing more and more studies about the dangers of waiting too long to have a child,” my mom adds. There are always studies to prove I should hurry and studies to prove that I shouldn’t and I’ve decided that I will have a baby when I’m goddamn good and ready, no matter what my mother reads on the Huffington Post. Luckily, the look on my face has caused her to backpedal. “Never mind, never mind,” she says, waving her hand in the air. “I sound like my own mother. Forget it. I’ll stop doing that.” My dad laughs and puts his arm around her. “All right,” he says. “I’m in a sugar coma and I’m sure Emma and Sam have better things to do than stay out with us. Let’s get the bill.” Fifteen minutes later, the four of us are standing outside the restaurant, headed to our cars. I’m wearing a navy blue sweater dress with long sleeves and thick tights. It is just enough to insulate me from the cool evening air. This is one of the last nights that I’ll go anywhere without a wool coat. It’s the very end of October. Autumn has already settled in and overtaken New England. The leaves are yellow and red, on their way to brown and crunchy. Sam has been over to my parents’ house once already to rake the yard clean. Come December, when the temperature free-falls, he and Mike will shovel their snow. But for now the air still has a bit of warmth to it, so I savor it as best I can. When I lived in Los Angeles, I never savored warm nights. You don’t savor things that last forever. It is one of the reasons I moved back to Massachusetts. As I step toward the car, I hear the faint sound of a ringing cell phone. I trace it back to my purse just as I hear my father rope Sam into giving him a few guitar lessons. My father has an annoying habit of wanting to learn every instrument that Sam plays, mistaking the fact that Sam is a music teacher for Sam being his music teacher. I dig through my purse looking for my phone, grabbing the only thing lit up and flashing. I don’t recognize the number. The area code 808 doesn’t ring a bell but it does pique my interest. Lately, no one outside of 978, 857, 508, or 617—the various area codes of Boston and its suburbs—has reason to call me. And it is 978 specifically that has always signified home no matter what area code I was currently inhabiting. I may have spent a year in Sydney (61 2) and months backpacking from Lisbon (351 21) to Naples (39 081). I may have honeymooned in Mumbai (91 22) and lived, blissfully, for years, in Santa Monica, California (310). But when I needed to come “home,” “home” meant 978. And it is here I have stayed ever since. The answer pops into my head. 808 is Hawaii. “Hello?” I say as I answer the phone. Sam has turned to look at me, and soon, my parents do, too. “Emma?” The voice I hear through the phone is one that I would recognize anywhere, anytime—a voice that spoke to me day in and day out for years and years. One I thought I’d never hear again, one I’m not ready to even believe I’m hearing now. The man I loved since I was seventeen years old. The man who left me a widow when his helicopter went down somewhere over the Pacific and he was gone without a trace. Jesse. “Emma,” Jesse says. “It’s me. I’m alive. Can you hear me? I’m coming home.” I think that perhaps everyone has a moment that splits their life in two. When you look back on your own timeline, there’s a sharp spike somewhere along the way, some event that changed you, changed your life, more than the others. A moment that creates a “before” and an “after.” Maybe it’s when you meet your love or you figure out your life’s passion or you have your first child. Maybe it’s something wonderful. Maybe it’s something tragic. But when it happens, it tints your memories, shifts your perspective on your own life, and it suddenly seems as if everything you’ve been through falls under the label of “pre” or “post.” I used to think that my moment was when Jesse died. Everything about our love story seemed to have been leading up to that. And everything since has been in response. But now I know that Jesse never died. And I’m certain that this is my moment. Everything that happened before today feels different now, and I have no idea what happens after this.

Editorial Reviews

“A moving novel about life and death.”