The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

The One That Got Away

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

Now, ten years later, Ruby is 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 what it will be like to see Ethan again, who just so happens to be the best man.

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 is nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past…

The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel
Published August 22, 2017 by Penguin
Format: Netgalley e-book; 352 pages
Fiction/Romance/Retellings
Also By This Author: Jenny Sparrow Knows the Future, Love by the Book
Goodreads
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

The One That Got Away is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, a classic tale of love revisited. Melissa Pimentel reimagines Persuasion in her own way, turning quiet and humble Anne Elliot into determined and witty Ruby Atlas. Captain Wentworth has evolved into Ethan Bailey, a Forbes magazine featured technology entrepreneur, who, I was happy to discover, treated Ruby much more warmly than Wentworth treated Anne after their angsty decade apart (I love Captain Wentworth, but even he acknowledged that he was rather cold to Anne).

The One That Got Away alternates between the present, where Ruby and her ex Ethan are awkwardly reunited for a week in England to celebrate the wedding between Ruby’s sister and Ethan’s best friend, and past flashbacks covering Ruby and Ethan’s short, but passionate romance. Ruby is forced to confront her lingering and unrequited feelings for Ethan while surrounded by her family and their own erupting problems, all the while suffering over the real, secret reason she broke up with Ethan ten years ago.

When I first heard about this novel from a friend, I knew I had to read it. Persuasion is one of my top five favorite novels, and therefore it’s practically sacred to me. I’ve read three other Persuasion retellings (here are my reviews of Amelia Elkins Elkins and The Last Best Kiss), as well as two blog retellings (Half Hope and Only Annie), and the only time I was disappointed was while reading For Darkness Shows the Stars. I won’t give any spoilers, but Kai alters something that I didn’t agree with ethically.

I thoroughly enjoyed The One That Got Away. Ruby was an entertaining narrator, and her and Ethan’s relationship felt real and bittersweet. I was pleasantly surprised by how Melissa Pimentel improved the minor characters, specifically Ruby’s family, and strengthened relationships instead of severing them as I had expected.

Ruby, listen to me. You are a human. You are allowed to feel sad, and scared, and whatever else you feel. You’re allowed to feel things. Stop trying to out-tough life.

Read This Book If…

…you are open to retellings of classic literature.
…you are not opposed to cursing and sexual references in books (I’d rate this book PG-13, with a generous dose of the f-bomb).
…you enjoy unrequited and lost love stories.
…you are in a slump and need a book to lift your spirits!

She dwelled on the way he smiled when he saw her, like she was made of a million tiny stars.

Final Musings

I was reading through two historical fiction novels lately; one is a Pulitzer Prize winner and the other is the final installment in a series that I love. But they both deal with dark eras in history that have reemerged as current events, and I have been struggling to keep myself together dealing with real-life, let alone fictionalized accounts, of war, racism, and hatred.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my feelings and convictions and I just want to turn my compassion meter off so I can recuperate. This in turn makes me feel guilty and then I find myself in a vicious cycle, alternating between anger, hopelessness, and self-loathing. This is not healthy. As guilty as I felt for wanting to escape, I’m glad I did.

I will still finish those other two novels I’ve been reading, because they’re powerful and important, but it was refreshing and uplifting to read The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel. If you need a pick-me-up to get you through the end of summer, I’d sincerely recommend this one!

What are some novels that have helped you escape from the burdens of reality? And if you know of any other worthy Persuasion retellings, please share them with me!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Picked Up on a Whim

toptentuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is about books I’ve started reading without knowing what they’re about beforehand. This is something I rarely do. Normally I read a book’s synopsis and several reviews before committing to read a book (my reading time is that valuable to me!), but I was able to find some pleasantly surprising impulse reads to share with you today, as well as a few disappointing ones.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Picked Up on a Whim

Wives and Daughters

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell – I started reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s final novel a few months after I finished North and South. I didn’t know anything about it, not even that Gaskell never finished it! But if you’ve seen my review of it you know that I loved this novel, and the miniseries. I’m still dying to know how Gaskell would have finished it, though.

meanttobe

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill – I can honestly say that this is the novel that got me into Young Adult literature a few years ago. I found it through the digital library while searching for similar books to Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments. Both book are now two of my favorites.

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I actually thought this was another book when I picked it up. I’m kind of glad that I didn’t know anything about Me Before You before I started reading it because I may not have wanted to put myself through so many heart wrenching emotions (who am I kidding? I love when stories make me cry!).

Persuasion

Persuasion by Jane Austen – Jane Austen has been my favorite author for a long time, but I hadn’t known anything about Persuasion when I randomly decided to read it while on a road trip a few years ago. It’s one of those books that was incredibly hard for me to put down. I didn’t want to be antisocial sine I was on a trip with a lot of friends, but I definitely spent a lot of time reading (and daydreaming) about Persuasion for the beginning of that trip. I love that a 200 year-old book can still have that affect!

thewonderofallthings

The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott – This is a book I happened to se on a shelf at the library and decided to check it out even though I had never heard of it before. I think I liked the cover. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator’s voice bothered me at times, but surprisingly that didn’t keep me from enjoying the book. I still think about the ending sometimes, actually.

5290225_origThe Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare – I had an awesome 8th grade English teacher who introduced me to Shakespeare. We read Hamlet and As You Like It, the latter of which we also got to see performed at our local performing arts center. After falling in love with the Bard I decided to read something on my own and randomly picked up The Taming of the Shrew, and that’s when I also found out that it’s the inspiration for 10 Things I Hate About You. I need to reread the play now that I can understand it better. I hope I still like it!

510yzqD6ukL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_ The Princess Bride by William Goldman – I had seen the Princess Bridge movie when I was younger but only remembered that it had a happy ending. When I was a teenager I picked the book up at Barnes and Noble and it was one of those rare occurrences when I actually began reading it as soon as I got home. I was completely shocked by it though, because I thought it had a happy ending and then Wesley DIES. Of course it really does have a happy ending, but I was beginning to think the movie had deceived me.

Here are 3 disappointing books I happened to read on a whim…

15793306Servants’ Hall by Margaret Powell – Originally I was looking for Upstairs Downstairs when I came across this memoir at the library. Unfortunately, despite the fact that it was the basis for one of the love stories on Downton Abbey, I really couldn’t get into this book.

15815333The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – I saw this book at the library one day and remembered that I had added it to my TBR a couple of years ago, but I couldn’t remember why. Sadly I could not enjoy Wolitzer’s writing style and this book became a DNF after 75 pages.

Judge_and_Jury_by_James_PattersonJudge and Jury by James Patterson – Someone gave me a few books to borrow while I was living in France and this was one of them. It was probably my first crime novel and definitely the first book I’ve read by James Patterson. I was really into Judge and Jury until I reached the ending. I did not like the way Patterson wrapped up everything. It was very anti-climatic.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Reads of 2015

toptentuesday

2015 is almost over and that means it’s time for me to reflect on all the wonderful books I’ve read this year! I’ll probably have another post up in a couple of weeks highlighting all my bookish thoughts from the year, but for now let me leave you with the best books I read over the past 12 months! These are all 5-star reads for me :)

Top Ten Reads of 2015

earnest

“A trivial comedy for serious people.” The Importance of Being Earnest is an absolute joy to watch/listen to/read (it’s a play though, so the best way to experience it is out loud). The characters are charming, witty, and hilarious. I chuckled and smiled to myself so many times while listening to a performance of this Oscar Wilde play.

mara dyer

This is one of those novels that kept me up at night because I HAD to know what happened next. Parts of Mara Dyer’s story are creepy, other parts are really suspenseful, and the characters are funny and interesting and blushingly romantic (Hello, Noah!). I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer so much I bought a copy for myself right after returning the library version I had checked out.

Jurassic Park

Do-do-do-do-dooo. I’m a 90s kid so of course I love Jurassic Park (the film). I wanted to be Alan Grant when I grew up. I finally read the book this past summer and wow! Despite the heavy scientific and theoretical language, I flew through it. The story was altered a bit for the screen, but the underlying themes remain and the characters are relatively the same (except for John Hammond, who is not a lovable grandfather figure in the book).

Wives and Daughters

The only disappointing thing about Wives and Daughters is that Elizabeth Gaskell passed away before she could finish writing it! There were probably only a few chapters missing, so most of the story is there and it’s very enjoyable. We just have to imagine for ourself how the happy ending would have played out.

Cress

I finally read The Lunar Chronicles series this year (except for the final book, Winter, because I’m still on the hold list at the library) and Cress, although not my favorite character, is my favorite of the series so far. I loved following all of the characters, especially Thorne because he’s like Han Solo meets Flynn Rider so of course I loved him. There was also a lot of action and things happening in the novel that made it really fun for me to read right after having my son.

Me Before You

So many tears! But also, lots of smiles and happy feelings. Me Before You kind of wrecked me. It deals with sensitive subject matter that I won’t talk about here because of spoilers, but I wouldn’t recommend it to all readers. I decided to read it after finding out a movie is being made with Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke. Now I don’t know if I want to even see the movie because I’m not sure if I can handle all those heart wrenching feelings again.

Persuasion

This is the only reread on this list. I also reread Sense and Sensibility and the first three Harry Potter novels (all of which are 5-star reads for me), but Persuasion is rather dear to my heart. It’s not my favorite Austen novel (Pride and Prejudice is hard to beat, although Persuasion comes very close), but Anne Elliot is my favorite Austen heroine and who doesn’t love Captain Wentworth?

The Martian

I can’t rave enough about The Martian. The movie was great and the actors were all perfectly casted, but it’s still not as phenomenal as the book. Andy Weir’s writing style just blew me away. Anyone who can write 3/4 of a book in journal format and still make it a laugh-out-loud page turner definitely deserves all the praise. This novel is Macgyver meets Castaway on Mars and it’s hilarious.

openroadsummer

Swooooon. This is without doubt the most romantic book I read this year, but it will also make you want to hug your BFF and forgive the last person you had a fight with. I loved how real all the characters seemed; they all had issues, especially Reagan, and it was easy to find something to relate to. I only wish I had read Open Road Summer sooner!

Hello Goodbye

just finished Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between a couple of days ago and I am still dying to write a review. I was incredibly surprised by how much I loved this book. It started out cute but the premise of Aidan and Clare thinking about breaking up just because they were going to different colleges didn’t quite make sense to me until the end, and by that point I had already cried a few times (and anytime a book makes me feel something that much, I always give it 5-stars!).

What were your favorite reads from this year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Quotes From the Past Year

toptentuesdayI haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday post in forever! But this week’s topic really caught my fancy since over the past year I’ve read some pretty good books and I’ve highlighted a lot of funny, memorable, truth-filled, and heart breaking quotes.

These aren’t my absolute favorite quotes from these books, but I picked ones that stood out to me for one reason or another. For some of these books it was hard to pick just one quote to share!

Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So

Persuasion“Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.”

 

 

theevolutionofmaradyer“You’re stronger than you believe. Don’t let your fear own you. Own yourself.”

 

Jurassic Park“All major changes are like death. You can’t see to the other side until you are there.”

 

 

earnest“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.”

 

It was hard to pick just one from this book!:

The Martian“It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.”

 

 

Wives and Daughters“I won’t say she was silly, but I think one of us was silly, and it wasn’t me!”

 

 

openroadsummer“If you have a best friend you can laugh with and a few good songs, you’re more than halfway there.”

 

 

MTLGTM“Would you rather be great at something you like, or just okay at something you love?”

 

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban“Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people’s business.
Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git.
Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor.
Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball.”

robinhood“You who so plod amid serious things that you feel it shame to give yourself up even for a few short moments to mirth and joyousness in the land of Fancy; you who think that life hath not to do with innocent laughter that can harm no one; these pages are not for you.”

What are some of your favorite book quotes? I’d love to hear them!

Amelia Elkins Elkins by A. M. Blair

Amelia Elkins

“It’s more than it appears. Don’t step on it, and definitely don’t eat it. It’s called skunk cabbage for a reason.”

“What’s so special about it?” she said, mostly to herself.

“It’s exciting! It’s the harbinger of spring. Don’t hold its foul odor and toxins against it. It’s only doing what it needs to do to survive.”

“Aren’t we all,” Amelia concluded, suddenly feeling a certain affinity for the smelly plant her mother had loved so much.

Amelia Elkins Elkins by A. M. Blair
Published June 19, 2015
Adult Fiction/Adaptation
Format: e-book; 318 pages
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Synopsis:

In 1817, if childbirth didn’t kill a woman, then there were good odds that a “miasma” would. Now, thanks to modern medicine, a woman’s demise at the prime of her life is uncommon enough to deserve an investigation. That is what two lawyers at the Harville Firm promise to do when Amelia Elkins Elkins, a member of a prominent family with more baggage than money, contacts them in the wake of her mother’s untimely death.

In this retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Amelia and her sisters turn to the American court system to seek justice for their mother’s death. It’s too bad that their conceited, silly father is doing everything he can — inadvertently, of course — to hinder their success.

Thoughts:

One of my online friends who blogs over at The Misfortune of Knowing recently published this novel, which is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, one of her favorite novels (and mine as well!), and I saved it for Austen in August this month! Amelia Elkins Elkins follows Amelia, an emergency room doctor who comes from a historically prominent family, as she seeks the aide of a former boyfriend in her late mother’s wrongful death lawsuit.

Blair does a fantastic job at preserving the spirit of Austen’s Persuasion in her modern adaptation. Amelia is a sympathetic character who, like Anne Elliot, is tragically undervalued by her family. While Amelia is left to salvage her family’s estate and seek justice for her mother’s death, her family is more concerned with their own self-centered affairs. At times I felt that Amelia’s elder sister and father were even worse than their Persuasion counterparts! But rest assured, everyone gets what they deserve in the end :)

One of my favorite parts about this novel is how the romance, although thrilling and sweet, was not the main focus of the story. I loved diving into the legal world, which I know little about, and I appreciate how Blair clearly described all of the technical terms and documents. Being an attorney herself, I imagine that she’s had plenty of practice explaining legal practices to clients! If you’ve ever had any interest in the legal field, you’ll definitely enjoy following this fictional lawsuit as it envelops readers in mystery and intrigue.

Read This Book If:

…you’re a fan of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
…you enjoy reading novels with lawsuits and legal plots (especially when all of the jargon is easy to understand).
…you love stories that involve second chances.
…you long for a story with a bit of mystery and romance!

Final Musings:

If you are looking for a contemporary novel that is so much more than just an adaptation of a classic, Amelia Elkins Elkins should be on your To-Read list! A. M. Blair’s book evokes feelings of sympathy, anger, intrigue, and of course happiness as a former couple reunites in a quest for justice.

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Book Purchases

toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, features my most recent book purchases! This was a fun post to write because my books are rather diverse (science fiction, nonfiction, mystery & thriller, classics, and YA classics). Some of these books I have already read, some I’m in the middle of reading, and others are still waiting to be picked up!

Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession (I didn’t include library check-outs, because I honestly forgot about them!)


Amelia ElkinsAmelia Elkins Elkins
by A. M. Blair (via Kindle) – One of the bloggers I converse with regularly recently published a retelling of Jane Austen’s PersuasionAmelia Elkins Elkins is a modern “courtroom drama” version of one of my favorite Austen novels (I haven’t started it yet, so I may be exaggerating on the courtroom drama aspect, but it is a legal mystery/thriller!). Hop on over to The Misfortune of Knowing to read more about this Persuasion adaptation!

The Lost WorldThe Lost World by Michael Crichton (paperback)- After racing through Jurassic Park a few weeks ago, I went to Barnes and Noble to pick up the sequel. I had hoped to read it during my vacation two weeks ago, but I was immersed in another book on this list. The Lost World is still on my immediate TBR list, though!

Elizabeth GaskellCranford and Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (via Kindle) – I’m desperately trying to get through my Classics Club list, and I have just started Wives and Daughters after hearing about the Victorian Celebration event A Literary Odyssey is hosting this month. The only other Gaskell novel I’ve read is North and South, which I ADORED, so I’m hoping I like these two novels as well.

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir (paperback) – I’ve been trekking through this book for a few weeks now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s anything but boring, but it is highly technical and therefore I can only pay attention when I’m reading in absolute silence (which wasn’t easy to do when I brought this book along on my cruise vacation two weeks ago).

Jane Austen DevoA Jane Austen Devotional by Steffany Woolsey (hardcover) – I picked this book and the succeeding one up from Lifeway the last time I was there a few months ago. Each entry starts with a page-long excerpt from an Austen novel, followed by an important moral lesson from the story. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with Austen :)

Marriage AdventureThe Uncommon Marriage Adventure by Tony and Lauren Dungy (hardcover) – My husband and I started going through this devotional together, but it’s been hard for us to find a consistent time to read it so we’ve been slacking.

IMG_0746What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Monroe (hardcover) – I mentioned this book on a non-fiction themed Top Ten Tuesday a while back and I am pleased to say this one was very entertaining and enlightening. If you like science or just like to ponder ridiculous hypothetical questions, please check out What If?!

Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green GablesAnne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery (paperback) – I bought these three personal favorites a few months ago, anticipating a spring reread. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to doing that, but I do enjoy admiring the gorgeous artwork every time I see these books on my shelf. I wish the whole series was published in this format, but there’s only these three plus Anne of Windy PoplarsAnne’s House of Dreams, and Anne of Ingleside.

What was the last book you purchased?

May & June Highlights

I haven’t done a highlights post in forever! It feels nice to be back into blogging regularly :)

Here is what I was up to the past two months…

I read 8 books.

Hitchhiker's Guide  Jurassic Park  Persuasion harrypotter whereshewent

      Fables  Seconds  Stealing the Groom

Which is a lot considering I was still coming off my reading slump last month.

Most Popular Posts

Where I’ve Been – It was nice to finally share with everyone our exciting news and explain why I’d been absent for several months.

25 Things: Ever After’s Château de Hautefort – I love that this post from last summer is still so popular, especially since it was on my bucket list for so long & I’d love to revisit it!

What I Watched

I finally got to catch up with my favorite web series! I updated my ‘Literary Vlogs’ sidebar to reflect some of the new YouTube shows I’ve been watching, like Northbound and From Mansfield With Love (adaptations of Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, respectively).

Northbound

I relate very much to Catherine Morland…and of course, who doesn’t love Henry Tilney?!

I also caught up on From Mansfield With Love, finally. It’s a harder Jane Austen novel to adapt, but the frequent cameos from the minor characters make it pretty interesting :)

May & June Highlights

  • Traveling – I traveled a lot the past two months. Probably more than a pregnant lady should, but I always had a buddy with me (either family members or Solo) and it was nice to visit friends and family.
  • 2nd Trimester! – After the first trimester’s ups and downs, it’s been like a breath of fresh air being in my second trimester. We also got to see our “little baby french fry” up close and found out it’s a boy! Since then we’ve been preparing our tiny apartment (and ourselves) for his arrival. Every time I see a friend has had her baby I get a tiny bit jealous! For now, labor doesn’t scare me, but I’m sure that’ll change in a few months!

    24 Weeks

    24 weeks as of July 6th!

  • VACATION! – Last week we went on a family reunion cruise. It was wonderful :)
    Key West

    My husband and me in Key West (we also visited Cozumel).

    Carnival

    Carnival Ecstasy

    Cruise

    My mom’s side of the family :)

    Matt and Ian

    My brother would probably kill me if he knew I put this online, but I love this picture so much! We were all pretty exhausted on the drive back from Miami.

    We also got to spend 4th of July at EPCOT so my husband and I got an unexpected Disney fix (thanks to my aunt’s sister who works at the parks).
    Epcot

    Matt

    Isn’t he cute? ;)

May & June Challenges

  • Feeling hungry all the time – This has been the one pitfall to my second trimester. I feel like I’m hungry so often, and most of the time the only foods I want to eat are sweets and junk food =P I’ve always been active and have had a fast metabolism, so it’s hard for me to limit myself but I don’t want to overindulge at the same time.
  • Missing having a job – I wasn’t able to find a job before we moved to Wilmington, and after I hit the 12 weeks mark I figured it would just be best for me to take it easy and pick up my job search early next year. But I miss having a routine and that extra income. If anyone knows of some reliable, non-telemarketing, work-from-home jobs, PLEASE let me know!

Things I’m Looking Forward To in July

  • More traveling – Hey, it’s better to get all this traveling in now than when after the baby arrives!
  • Catching up on reading – I’m trying to put a big dent in my Classics TBR plus I have tons of unread books on my shelves that I’d like to get to sometime this year.
  • Summer activities with friends – We have some game nights and beach days penned down for the summer that my husband and I are both looking forward to (although I’m much more hesitant about the ocean after the 8th North Carolina shark attack this year was reported a few days ago…).

July To Be Read

harrypotter  The Martian Wives and Daughters

My husband and I are continuing through our read along of the Harry Potter series. I started reading The Martian last month and although it’s holding my attention, it does take a while to read. I’m seriously behind on my Classics Club list, so I’m picking up Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters this month.

What was your favorite moment from June?