The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase
Published by Ballantine Books
Pub Date: March 31st 2015
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads
Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, this bright, funny debut from a fresh voice in fiction offers a delicious take on love, family, and what it means to build a home of one’s own.
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.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY had me hooked from the first few sentences…
Because you know it’s true and it instantly made me want to find out more about Sarina’s One Person.
Bethany Chase’s writing also drew me in from the start. It felt current and authentic. Her characters felt real and the setting was so vivid. If you’re curious about what living in Austin is like, this book takes you there.
Sarina’s life is pretty much set. Or so she thinks. She’s content with the friends she has, where she lives, and with her boyfriend. She’s super ambitions about her career though and works really hard at it. Her boyfriend is also ambitious about his work and at the start of the book we find out he’s just moved to Argentina for a year for work. So here comes Eamon, her One Person, back into her life and he’s about to rock Sarina’s boat.
Everything starts out innocently enough. Eamon (pronounced ‘Ay – mun’ – yes, I looked it up!) is super cool, friendly, and thoughtful… and hot, ok? He’s hot. He hires Sarina to remodel his new home so they spend a lot of time together, and since they had a thing before, the sexual tension begins to build, strong and fast. I enjoyed every second of it.
Now you may be asking, “What about the boyfriend?!” Wellll it’s a sticky situation. The long distance separating them is not their only issue throughout the story. I think sometimes space gives you clarity. The more they talked about what they wanted from their lives together once Noah returned to Austin, the more it became clear to Sarina that they maybe weren’t on the same page. I think there will be a few people that won’t take kindly to the way things happen between Noah, Sarina, and Eamon, but for me, I think Bethany Chase wrote it as realistically and respectfully as possible.
I loved Sarina’s friends. They were honest, supportive, and so fun. I also loved Sarina’s relationship with her stepdad, her only living parent. But what I loved most was Sarina’s journey and growth in the span of the year in this story. She found her true self, her home, and real love.
The One That Got Away was sexy, fun, and at times really emotional and I enjoyed every second of it. Be sure not to miss this one!
Now, I have a treat for you! Bethany Chase created a book playlist, giving us exactly where each song fits into the story! Thank you, Bethany!! I love it!
Sarina and Eamon have terrific taste in music, if I may say so myself. These two do have similar taste in music, heavily skewed towards 70’s rock and soul, and they bond over it at various points in the book.
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours. One of the most brilliant albums of the 70’s, made when the entire band was breaking up with each other (romantically, not musically—yet) and writing songs about it and performing them spectacularly. Sarina’s favorite song: “I Don’t Want to Know.” Eamon’s favorite song: “You Can Go Your Own Way.”
Stevie Wonder, the other Stevie in Sarina’s life. She maintains that “Don’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing” is the all-time best; Eamon votes for “As.”
Bill Withers: Sarina’s favorite is “Heartbreak Road;” Eamon’s is “I Don’t Know.”
The night of the Labor Day barbeque, the boys are listening to Steely Dan when Sarina and Noah arrive. Specifically, “Only a Fool Would Say That.”
When they’re on the way home from Jay’s wedding, talking in the car late at night, I imagine The Eagles’ “I Can’t Tell You Why” comes on. It has the right slow and dreamy mood.
Then while they’re driving home from the trip to Round Top, Player’s “Baby Come Back” comes on the radio and they both start belting it out. She can sing pretty well. He cannot.
The Joni Mitchell song “Help Me” has always reminded her of Eamon; specifically, the way she felt after their one night stand.
Then, obviously, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.”
SPOILER HERE: After they get together, she changes her ringtone for him to The Pretenders’ “Don’t Get Me Wrong.” He sets his for hers to Ling Floyd’s “Groove Me.”
Q&A with Bethany Chase, author of THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
What got you interested in writing?
I’ve never not been! My love for words has been one of the most consistent characteristics of my personality for my whole life, though it’s taken many different forms. (Poet, journal-‐writer, email-‐writer, blogger, novelist.)
Tell us about the first book you didn’t finish.
It was a historical romance I started writing when I was fifteen years old and heavily in the thrall of the film version of The Last of the Mohicans, with Daniel Day Lewis. (Which means, specifically, I was in the thrall of Daniel Day Lewis.) So heavily enthralled was I that my novel consisted of a first-‐person account of a well-‐bred colonial English lady who for unclear reasons found herself trailing her muddy skirts through the Adirondack forest, accompanied by a ruggedly handsome and ambiguously Native American trapper wearing buckskin. Shockingly, I didn’t complete it.
Did you ever keep a journal?
Is there a writer on earth who didn’t? I had kind of abandoned journaling by the time I graduated college, as by that point I had moved on to burdening all of my nearest and dearest with my woes over 2,000-‐word emails rather than pouring it all out into a journal. But the high school journals are EPIC. Basically, you would have thought I was the first person in the history of humanity to have emotions and be attracted to people who didn’t like me back.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Nope. In fact for most of my life I avoided the idea, because I assumed it would be too hard and I’d never make enough money. I’ll let you guess which of those two assumptions has proven to be true.
What were your favorite books growing up?
The Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon series were HUGE for me. I mean, they were books about smart, dreamy, romantic, highly verbal girls who wrote, loved beauty in all its forms, hovered at the fringes of social popularity and also really liked being alone. Emily and Anne were and always will be my spirit sisters. Also, I think my many rereads of James Herriot’s marvelous All Creatures Great and Small books legitimately helped form my sense of humor. Between Herriot and all of the Monty Python I watched growing up, I think I wound up with a fairly British sense of humor for an American.
Who are your favorite authors now?
Chuck Wendig, Guy Gavriel Kay and Philip Pullman for fantasy; Mary Kubica for suspense; Emily Giffin, Taylor Jenkins Reid and Joshilyn Jackson for women’s fiction; Cara McKenna and Julie James for romance.
Do you have “one that got away?”
I did. He was my high school boyfriend. I tracked him down seven years after the fact, like, legitimately slightly stalker-‐style, and we actually started dating again, and you know what? We weren’t right for each other. At all. It was all very romantic and fraught as long as one of us was pining for the other one, but actually just together, with no angst? It didn’t go anywhere. We are now both very happily married to other people.
Your bio says you are married—tell us about your love story.
True story: when we first started dating, we had such strong physical chemistry that I assumed that meant there wasn’t going to be any more to it. My friends would say, “How’s Allen?” And I would shrug and say, “He’s hot.” This led to him being known amongst my circle for the first couple of months as Hot Allen. As far as Sex-‐and-‐the-‐City-‐style nicknames for guys go, I think he came away in a pretty strong position with that one. But then he just kept growing on me, until a few months into it I realized, holy shit I’m in love with this guy.
What’s your idea of romance?
No flowers, no candles, no gestures, will ever be as genuinely romantic as those random little moments that happen when you least expect them and you just get this flash of piercing sweetness and you think, yep, this is it. For me, personally, it often involves humor, or awkwardness, or both. The questionnaire on the dating site where I met my husband asked, “What’s your favorite movie sex scene?” And my answer was, the one in that 90’s Liv Tyler movie Stealing Beauty, where she’s with the guy and it’s all kissing and dreamy music and then he goes to take her underwear off and it gets stuck on her ankle and she laughs—that is THE BEST. Those little beautifully imperfect moments. And also just those moments of kindness and support; like how Anne of Green Gables doesn’t marry the wealthy guy who pulls out all the stops on the glitz and glam—she marries the guy who gave up his local teaching position, at tremendous personal inconvenience, in favor of the farther-‐away one so that Anne could live at home with her family. That is romance.
What does home mean to you?
The place you belong. I think for most of us the specifics of that place change, but the definition never really does.
How did you come up with your characters’ name?
Well, Eamon has been my favorite name for a guy ever since the first time I fell in love, at four years old, with my neighbor Eamon McCormick (a nice Russian boy, obviously). And despite the fact that I am usually a strident purist about name spelling, I’ve always thought the unusual spelling “Sarina” had something especially graceful about it. Everyone else was pretty arbitrary. I tend to just go, “okay, think of a name!” and the first one I think of sticks.
What do you love about the cover for THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY?
EVERYTHING. Seriously, I hit the cover jackpot. I love the colors, the bird, the graceful lettering, and the way the lettering moves rhythmically back and forth across the page. I could give you a full art-‐history-‐style image analysis of how wonderful this cover is in every way.
What are you reading right now?
I just started Liza Palmer’s Girl Before a Mirror and am really enjoying it. She’s such a funny yet thoughtful writer.
Who’s your favorite book couple?
Anne and Gilbert. Obviously. In all seriousness, in terms of their mutual love, caring and respect for one another I think they are a model partnership for young girls to read about. Clearly it worked for me.
For more content and to follow visit the other blog tour stops, visit the page for THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY! There’s an excerpt, so you can see for yourself how awesome this book is. :)