cover image The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

Charlotte Rixon. St. Martin’s, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-28566-9

Rixon debuts with a poignant and gripping second chance romance. When Brits Clara and Benjamin first meet in college, it’s love at first sight. Both on the cusp of adulthood, their all-consuming relationship hits the rocks as they struggle with life’s harsh realities, including sickness and death in both of their families. Then, right before graduation, a devastating accident almost ruins both their futures and destroys their relationship. Twenty years later, they’ve both attempted to move on: Benjamin is a single father whose only regret is his relationship with his son’s alcoholic mother, while Clara is married, has a successful career, and is writing her first novel—but she can’t help feeling unhappy. Then a bomb explodes in the town where they met, triggering both to remember the pasts they had buried and sending Clara racing to reunite with Benjamin. Rixon takes on a lot of heavy subjects, including cancer, addiction, sexual assault, and manslaughter, making this not a romance to turn to for escapism. It is, however, a raw and aching examination of lost opportunities and what-ifs. This sometimes grim but always evocative portrait of first love reunited tugs at the heartstrings. (Aug.)