Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"The One That Got Away" by Leigh Himes

As someone who is always a sucker for those "waking up in a new life" stories (The Family Man, Lifetime's Comfort & Joy, ABC Family Freeform's Holidaze), the concept of Leigh Himes' debut novel appealed to me. I wasn't so sure about it when I started reading, but as I went on, something about The One that Got Away really drew me in.

In this irresistible debut novel, a freak accident allows a wife and mother to explore the alluring road not taken.

Meet Abbey Lahey . . . 

Overworked mom. Underappreciated publicist. Frazzled wife of an out-of-work landscaper. A woman desperately in need of a vacation from life--and who is about to get one, thanks to an unexpected tumble down a Nordstrom escalator.

Meet Abbey van Holt . . . 

The woman whose life Abbey suddenly finds herself inhabiting when she wakes up. Married to handsome congressional candidate Alex van Holt. Living in a lavish penthouse. Wearing ball gowns and being feted by the crème of Philadelphia society. Luxuriating in the kind of fourteen-karat lifestyle she's only read about in the pages of Town & Country.

The woman Abbey might have been . . . if she had said yes to a date with Alex van Holt all those years ago. 

In the tradition of the romantic comedy Sliding Doors and Lionel Shriver's The Post-Birthday World, Leigh Himes's irresistible debut novel tells the funny and touching story of an ordinary woman offered an extraordinary opportunity to reboot her life, explore the road not taken, and ultimately, find her true self--whoever that may be.

The very first line of the novel is rather unnecessarily vulgar, and I wondered what I was getting myself into. And honestly, the part that details the events that led Abbey to be on the Nordstrom escalator and fall into her new life wasn't really engaging. It set up Abbey's unhappiness with her life well, but it wasn't that fun to read, and if I hadn't been reviewing the book, I most likely would have set it aside for good. But I kept going, and by about 50 pages in, I was hooked.

Here's what I really liked about the novel—more than anything else, it was about Abbey discovering who she was. It was about remembering long-forgotten passions. It was about learning how to make a difference in the world and in her family—whether that family was the van Holts or the Laheys.

Though the book does come to a predictable end, the journey Abbey went through to get to that end was anything but predictable, and I appreciated the twists and turns. It would make an excellent beach read—it's light and enjoyable. 3-1/2 stars.

Content Note:
The One that Got Away is peppered with swear words and contains two slightly steamy bedroom scenes. Most people won't find it offensive, but it most certainly is not a "clean" read.

Author Leigh Himes has spent fourteen years working in the public relations field. Born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, she now lives just outside of Philadelphia with her husband and their two children. This is her first book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product free for review from Amazon.com through its Vine reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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