Member Reviews

The One That Got Away by Charlotte Rixon was a beautifully written book. Be prepared for an emotional rollercoster but a ride well worth it. I devoured this book! I loved how the author didn't lead on to some pretty major happenings until the end. This kept me wanting more! If you're looking for the second chance romance, this really isn't it. Instead, it is more of a realistic view on what happens. I think so many readers will be able to relate to this story and it is going to be a huge success!

Was this review helpful?

“He inhales deeply his jaw tensing. It’s never enough whatever he says to her- however much love he shows her it won’t fill the hole she has inside her. She is a chasm of need. It makes him sad. It makes him feel like he is failing her.”

Thank you to NetGalley and Aria and Aries for giving me access to the ARC. Trigger warnings for a lot of things.

This book hit me right in the feels.

Clara and Benjamin are college students who met at a club and had a first love worthy of songs. They’re meant for each other; they are soulmates but too many things went wrong. They go their separate ways. After 20 years, Clara sees Benjamin and she needs to reach out to see if what could’ve been can still be, but is it too late? Does he feel the same way?

I loved and hated this book. The book transpires across 2 decades with alternating perspectives from both. Their young adult years, and relationship, their lives after, and, now, the present day.

Both Clara and Benjamin were frustrating for different reasons. For one, Clara is deeply insecure, anxious, clingy, and overwhelmingly possessive. Benjamin is outwardly insecure, shy, unfocused, and sucks at communicating. Ben can’t get through to Clara to let her trust him but Clara also can’t trust Ben, she has a secret that is influencing how she’s acting but she just can’t tell him. She starts the most pointless fights and arguments and they really got on my nerves, as I imagined it did for Benjamin. I can imagine how hard it is to love someone, especially when they don’t believe you. But I also understood Clara and how when you saw the sun in someone it was hard to accept that they believed any less. Unfortunately, their relationship ended in an explosive manner and they go their separate ways.

This novel tackled many heavy topics with grace and finesse and I respected the author’s ability to weave such dimensional and multifaceted characters, who were inherently human and therefore flawed, in a story that felt real and gut-wrenching.

Clara needed to mellow out and Benjamin needed concrete things that were important to him. I’m especially sad for Benjamin and the events that unfolded but I’m happy he persevered. I think ultimately, this book embodied the saying “right person, wrong time.” They had the chemistry but the time wasn’t right. They needed some time to mature and develop. They needed a second chance and I’m glad they got that.

Was this review helpful?

This was not what I was expecting...

The One That Got Away is a sort of second-chance romance, but it's really about first love and how sometimes we just don't get over it completely. It tells the story of Benjamin and Clara who dated during college but didn't end up together. We're not told the reason they ended their relationship until the second half of the book, but it was something that changed the course of their entire lives.

To me, it was interesting to see how we may unconsciously view past relationships with rose-coloured glasses, looking past the sometimes toxic qualities it had, which is something that seemed to happen quite a lot in this book.

I was happy that the ending was not clear-cut, although I feel like many people might think the opposite.

Was this review helpful?

Whilst this is marketed as a romance, I’m not sure it is that - it’s more about two people who feel that draw together even over 20 years. Benjamin and Clara are written as realistic characters, which meant at numerous times within the book I didn’t really like them.
The ending and the wrap up secret from Aidan felt like it happened a bit quickly and resolved quickly too. The overall story is engaging, but the time allocated in the book to different periods of time feel abit off.

Was this review helpful?

This book was just OK read. I couldn’t quite relate to main characters. The story was interesting enough in showing how people cope in different situations and overcome life obstacles.

Was this review helpful?

Rate : ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Author : Charlotte Rixon

Thank you to Netgalley and Aria publishing for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The One That Got Away is a powerful, reflective and thought - provoking novel that really captures your attention within the first chapter. The plot itself contains so many twists and roundabouts that you’re constantly turning the page to try and find out what’s about to happen next.

What I really enjoyed about this novel is how well fleshed out the characters are. I felt like I knew both Clara and Benjamin personally. They weren’t just words on a page, they were people I knew. I found myself often empathising with the characters due to the connection upon reading this book. For that, I applaud the author.

Out of the two main characters, Benjamin is my favourite. His character was one that a lot of readers can relate to and being a charming personality within the pages but also hardworking and an all round family man. His own journey is an emotional rollercoaster that keeps you on hooks, waiting in suspense as you turn the page.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Clara, in all honesty, I found her self-absorbed, entitled and a rather petty, jealous person who allowed her insecurities to run her life. Certain decisions that I wasn’t really a fan of and she often appeared quite controlling and attention seeking at times. Another thing I didn’t like about her, was how she treated Thom and how she was clinging to love that never lasted.

The authors writing style is another high point of this novel, it’s an easy read and easily keeps you hooked. This is definitely something that you could whizz through on a weekend or cuddled up in bed.

A number of time periods take place within The One That Got Away and each chapter tells you which year the chapter is situated in. Despite the uniqueness, I found it confusing at times and kept checking to make sure where in time we were… it wasn’t chronological, it jumped around each chapter.

I admire Rixon for tackling a number of serious topics that we still even counter today in their novel. It really sets the tone for the reader and allows them to forge their own views and become aware that this does happen, especially concerning Aiden’s storyline. Really highlighting that this novel isn’t a romance.

I’d definitely recommend this for any and every reader. If you’re a fan of second chances, an intriguing plot and character growth, this is the book for you!

CW/TW : Alcoholism, mention of drugs, sexual content, cancer, violence, prison and parent death. Brief mentions of child abuse, suicide, terrorism, sexual assault and rape.

Was this review helpful?

Benjamin's world is turned upside down the day he meets Clara in college. Instinctively, he knows that she is his person and he is hers, but a devastating mistake on one of their last nights at university will take their lives in very different directions.
Twenty years later, an explosion 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.

Even if it's marketed as one, I would not define The One That Got Away as a romance. It's without a doubt a story about two people who never stopped loving each other, but it's told in multiple timelines and Clara and Benjamin are mostly apart. The book is quite heavy and it deals with many heavy topics, so please make sure to check the trigger warnings before you read this if you are a sensitive reader.

I found I didn't like either of the characters, but I think that Benjamin and Clara were not written to be likeable, but as real people. People who have survived traumatic experiences, who make mistakes and, ultimately, who have struggled recognizing their self-worth their whole life. Both are definitely complex and multi-layered characters.

The writing is straight to the point and very poignant. It makes the story quite raw and some paragraphs feel like a punch to the gut. Charlotte Rixon is a very talented writer.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a very angsty and powerful read.

***Thanks to Netgalley and Aria & Aries for the eARC of The One That Got Away in exchange for my honest review***

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC.

I'm a big fan of second chance romances with angst. The storyline was good, but my goodness, did the MCs frustrate the hell out of me. Especially Clara. At a couple of points, I really couldn't stand her. I was happy with the ending and thought it was a good novel .

Was this review helpful?

@currentlyreading__
Book 7 of 2023

Thank you to @NetGalley, the publisher and the author @charduck for allowing me access to ‘The One That Got Away’ ahead of publication next week.

This is the first time I’ve read anything by the author but I’ll be sure to check out her other books now. I was intrigued by the synopsis (“Two years together. Twenty years apart. One day to change their story.”) and especially that the book has a dual timeline (which I absolutely love).

At the start of the book there is a major incident at a football stadium and Clara, watching the news unfold, is gripped with the desperation to rush hundreds of miles north to check that her university love, Benjamin, a die-hard football fan who never misses a game, is safe.

The dual timeline, moving from Clara and Ben’s university years, to the current day, when both are middle-aged and been damaged by life’s cruelties, is just perfect.

It’s not your typical chick-lit, boy and girl meet and live happily ever after, there’s searing vulnerability within both characters and the fact that they have both gone on to have a child in Ben’s case, and get married in Clara’s, shows that although time moves on, sometimes there is a magnetic pull towards what you were meant to have all along.

There are some very serious topics in this book but all written about with sensitivity and with a way of holding the attention of the reader. I loved it and I would definitely recommend. Out 2nd February.

#bookstagram #bibliophile #bookworm #book #booknerd #bookstagrammer #kindle #instabook #reader #bookobsessed #instareads #currentlyreading #charlotterixon #theonethatgotaway

Was this review helpful?

Thanks NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy. I enjoyed this book immensely, it was dark at times but mostly witty. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Was this review helpful?

Wow - this was such a powerful read. Where do I even start?

I think the 'format' or style of the novel is what makes it so powerful. That secret-keeping and the dual timeline is just *chef's kiss* perfection.

Rixen writes this beautiful yet sad story about first love (Benjamin and Clara) during their uni days and deepens it with snapshots from "today" (when a bomb rips through Benjamin's weekly football game/stadium) and Clara races north to find him. Seeking him out just like they'd done from across the club some 20 years prior.

And then the glimpses of the in between that even further deepen the story, their story. Clara's inability to have sex with her husband, Benjamin's failed relationships, the birth of a son - picking himself back up after a world of hurt.

And that's the secret, that very much spoiler worthy secret that you find out only at the almost end as Benjamin and Clara's worlds are suddenly thrust back together after this artificially created gap between them.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely inhaled this book, to the point where I’m still thinking about it days later. It’s not your typical boy meets girl story, demonstrating the raw, vulnerable and often painful sides to falling in love. Both characters were ultimately flawed despite their different backgrounds and upbringings - team Benjamin all the way - but I found myself rooting for them both individually as the plot developed.

This had a very different feel to your usual love story tropes and covers some extremely heavy topics, so please be mindful of this before reading if you are affected by rape/terrorism references. However, I think the author dealt with these topics very maturely, and added to the raw, gripping feel of the book.

I’ll definitely be reading everything Charlotte Rixon writes from now on!

*Thanks to Netgalley and Aria & Aries for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.*

Was this review helpful?

Four and a Half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒
The One That Got Away by Charlotte Rixon is a story of young love and second chances. This story spans 20 years and has multiple timelines and a dual POV.

Story Recap:
Back in the year 2000, university students, Benjamin and Clara fell in love. Their love is all-consuming, and they believe they are soulmates. Then, two years later, something happens on their last day at university and they split up, never to see each other again.

Twenty years later Clara learns a bomb exploded back in her hometown in Northern England at a football match. She knows that Benjamin never missed a home match and she races up north to see if he’s alright.

My Thoughts:
These characters are complex. In the earlier timeline, they are young, passionate, and a bit immature; in the later timelines, they are more guarded and mature, just like most people. I loved these characters, but I was annoyed at their sometimes rash decisions in the earlier timeline, and like many of us when we were young, they didn’t always make good decisions. But, they felt authentic to me. and their love story is raw, passionate, and possibly everlasting.

This book is full of emotion, and I was happy to follow these characters. The book has a lot of angst, especially in the earlier timeline, but it’s all well-written and I grew to care for and root for these characters.

Recommendation:

I highly recommend The One That Got Away to anyone who enjoys romance. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Was this review helpful?

Adored this book! The One that Got Away follows Clara and Ben over the course of about 20 years, from the time they met in university to when they are middle aged. Clara and Ben had an instant connection and yet when we meet them twenty years later, they aren't together- what happened? I love that Charlotte Rixon bounces around from perspective and dates. It kept me wanting to read just one more chapter and there were even some shocking reveals. At its heart, The One that Got Away is about love, friendship, and finding your person.

Was this review helpful?

This book just blew me away. I read it in one sitting because I just needed to know what happened. The storyline spans around 20 years from when Benjamin and Clara first met at university. Their story didn't run smoothly and its It's not your typical love story but more about 'the one'. There are some heavy subjects tackled so it's not for anyone who is easy triggered. This will definitely stay with me for a while.

Was this review helpful?

The one that got away is not the book I thought was going to be but that's not bad. It just means my review is going to be way too long.

When I saw the premise, I didn't want to read too much because I like going into books as blindly as possible. So I expected this to be more of a pure romance. Something quick and easy to read. I can now say I was very wrong in assuming that and chapter 1 showed me how wrong I was. But again, not necessarily something bad.
This novel covered a lot of very interesting and deep topics. And I'm someone who loves romances that don't just limit themselves to something superficial. The more nuanced the story, the better. Though, sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.

Let's start by talking about the structure of the book. We move from the present time, where we don't really spend a long time, to the past time. But the past doesn't just mean one specific period of time but several years. This is really interesting and it obviously helps us get to know the characters a lot better. However, it got a bit confusing at points and I find that the middle part of the book and the flashbacks dragged for too long. At points, it felt a bit repetitive and since it was very obvious, to me at least, what had happened in the past that was so huge and traumatic, the constant references to it bored me a bit. However, when it came to Aiden's "secret", I liked the structure in which his reveal was written a lot more. I guessed what it was, but not completely. And the suspense felt more well done there.

There are a few inconsistencies in the story that might have been due to me reading an ARC: Such as Benjamin saying his relationship with Clara lasted 10 years at the beginning of the story, but then we see it was only 2. And Zoe is mentioned as some sort of stalker, but then she disappeared and no one knows about her. Perhaps those things have been fixed on final edits, but I thought I would point them out. It's nothing major but some other nerds like me might notice the continuity errors.

Now, what did I love about the story? Clara, for sure. We see 20 years of her life in this story, basically. And I love that she changes but also still has some of young Clara in her in the present timeline. It seems realistic. Sure, she won't be the same as an 18-year-old than once she's 40, but despite maturing, there still is that side of her that leaves everything to go to Newcastle because she has to.
She is a character that is not always likeable. And neither is Benjamin. But they are young, they make mistakes, and they let their feelings take over...we've all been there. Maybe not to that extent but it's relatable. Clara being a bit childish and spoilt makes sense with her background too. Benjamin thinking he's not enough for her as well.

As for the topics covered in the story, I have mixed feelings. As a huge football fan, I appreciated the talk about the football culture. We sort of see both sides of it instead of just demonising it, and that's good. And the darker side of it is sadly a reality. So maybe making people aware of it through a novel is good.
But I do feel a bit like these topics were too superficial in some ways and they are too big to do that. So I'm not 100% sure about the execution. But I appreciate the author's intent.

When it comes to the romance part, I really liked it. Again, it felt honest. A young love that can't continue for whatever reason and people who live unhappily because of that. It's simple but real. And I did appreciate the way it was wrapped. It showed the evolution of the characters and their maturity.

So overall, I do have mixed feelings about this book, but I did enjoy reading it. And I think a lot of people would as well.

Was this review helpful?

Read this if you like:
Second Chance Romance
Complex Characters
Emotional/Sad
Multiple POVs
Character Driven plot
Past/Present timelines
Check TW before reading

Clara and Benjamin fell in love at Uni only to drift apart and never meet until 20 years later.
Over the years, we get to see Clara and Benjamin falling in love and know more about them and what drove them apart, while also tackling important aspects of their lives, relationships, and identities.
It is not simply a love story it is more about the character's choices and how they've changed throughout the years, about their emotions and struggles. Most importantly that no matter how much we plan, fate can step in and flip our plans upside down putting us on a different path to learn and grow up.


Thank you to @netgalley and the publisher for granting an ARC of #TheOneThatGotAway in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

WOW THAT WAS SO GOOD!!!!! I only saw the cover and title, and thought straight away that this is my kind of book. I am so fascinated by stories like this, where someone cannot let go of their past and has to revisit it.

I don't know where to start with this review!!! Plot? I never read blurbs and I avoid adding them to my reviews, so let's just say this book is about Benjamin and Clara, from their uni days to the present. I was hooked from the first page - honestly it was such a great way to start the book!!!!

OK, characters - I love Benjamin . I felt for him all the way through and I actually agreed with what happened to him, but still felt bad for him. He was written in such a realistic way, it was so intriguing to read. Clara actually irritated me, both past and present versions but that is because she reminded me of me!!! I also loved Thom!! So many other supporting characters as well that were key to the story.

Its dual POV, lots of timelines so the book jumps back and forth in time. It's so easy to read though and I must get myself a physical copy!!!

Was this review helpful?

This was a good story about the one that got away years before. It was clear that Benjamin and Clara would always remain each other's "What-if" and when Clara thinks tragedy may have struck she becomes determined to find him. I do appreciate that this story showed them as both flawed characters that remain connected, even through years of no contact. This was not a happy-go-lucky romance read but a more real, surviving bad to get to the good type of story.

Was this review helpful?

The one that got away by Charlotte Rixon
Rate:⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
⚠️TW: Bombing, Suicide, Assault⚠️

What if you unexpectedly saw your past?

It’s been 20 years since Clara has seen Benjamin. But after a bombing incident that has been aired on the news, there he was speaking on live looking for his son.
Clara’s world stopped moving when she saw him, all the memories with him starting rushing in with her.

The one that got away by Charlotte Rixon is a novel of love, grief, friendship & self growth.

This novel shows there are different types of love and most of the times it can get messy. It also explores how everyone has its own way of dealing their own battles.
Most of all, it is a story of how sometimes we don’t always get the things we want or hope but if it’s meant to be, it will always come back.

I actually like the writing itself and the plot, The timeline and multiple POV is confusing but interesting to know how each of the characters feel.

This novel wasn’t the best but not the worst either. I like plot and how it ends but I feel like something is still missing but I can’t explain what.

Was this review helpful?