ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The One That Got Away by Charlotte Rixon

The One That Got Away by Charlotte Rixon will be published by Aria (Head of Zeus) in hardcover and eBook on 2nd February. My thanks to Amy Watson for the proof copy of the book.

For fans of Colleen Hoover and Rosie Walsh: this book will break your heart… then put it back together.

Two years together. Twenty years apart. One day to change their story.

Benjamin’s world is turned upside down the day he meets Clara. Instinctively, he knows that she is his person and he is hers, but the events of one devastating night will take their lives in very different directions.

20 years later, a bombing is reported in the city where Clara and Ben met, and she is pulled back to a place she tries not to remember and the first love she could never forget. Searching for Ben, Clara prays that twenty years of silence is about to end.

But is it too late to put right what went wrong?

This is not a love story. But it is a story of first love, of the mistakes people make, and the lengths they’ll go to put things right.

If you’re looking at The One That Got Away and thinking that it looks like a nice romance novel then think again as it’s really not a romance but a story of first love and how even the most powerful love can be toxic. However, if you’re looking for a story that grabs you from the very first page and doesn’t put you down until you turn the last page then here it is.

In the present day, Clara works for a newspaper and when she hears of a bomb attack in the place where she lived as a student it takes her right back to those days twenty years earlier, and to her first love, Benjamin. Unable to stop herself, she takes a train to see if she can track him down, knowing that he could well be in the heart of the attack. The larger part of the story focuses on their university years, the way Benjamin and Clara met. Despite their intense love for each other, their relationship is like a badly built structure placed on solid foundations: their love is strong but it’s not steady enough to last. Then there are sections where we see what happened to the couple during the interim years whilst they were not together.

This book is thoroughly immersive and beautifully written. It’s a masterclass in how to draw the reader in and gradually share with them a story of two young people who have an invisible bond stretching through the years but who are not together. I was dying to know what had happened to tear them apart but I also wanted their story to last forever and for me to not have to say goodbye to Benjamin and Clara, two flawed yet likeable and understandable, brilliant protagonists.

The One That Got Away was everything I was hoping for and a lot more besides. I honestly loved every single page of it and it’s not too early to say it will be one of my favourite books of the year. The plot is a stunning tragi-love story that I found utterly compelling and authentic. I hope there will be more from Charlotte Rixon.

Charlotte Rixon is the pen name of Charlotte Duckworth, USA Today-bestselling author of suspense fiction published by Quercus. Charlotte studied Classics at Leeds University and went on to gain a PGDip in Screenwriting. She worked for many years as a magazine journalist, and is a graduate of the Faber Academy ‘Writing A Novel’ course.

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