One? by Jennifer L Cahill
One? is the first book in a contemporary fiction trilogy, looking at finding 'the one' in the modern world and how relationship models are shifting in the most innovative period in living history. The story starts in 2005, and spans ten years following the characters from the challenges of their twenties into their thirties.
It's London in the mid-noughties before Facebook, iPhones and ubiquitous wifi, and One? follows the highs and lows of a group of twenty-somethings living in leafy SW4.
Zara has just moved to London for her first real job and struggles to find her feet in a big city with no instruction manual.
Penelope works night and day in an investment bank with little or no time for love. At 28 she is positively ancient as far as her mother is concerned and the pressure is on for her to settle down as the big 3-0 is looming.
Charlie spends night and day with his band who are constantly teetering on the verge of greatness.
Richard has relocated to London from his castle in Scotland in search of the one, and Alyx is barely in one place long enough to hold down a relationship let alone think about the future.
Penelope and Charlie first meet at University but lose contact immediately after leaving. During a serendipitous moment on a delayed train, the two find each other again, reactivating their budding friendship. Having decided to move in together as housemates they discover that the landlady has already promised one of the rooms to Zara, a young women having just moved to London. With nowhere else to go the three decide they will live together and look for one other housemate to take the last of the bedrooms.
The story follows the lives of these three individuals; their struggles and anxieties along with their moments of success and joy. Although on the face of it, Penelope is successful and confident you see her hidden anxieties of being in her late twenties and still searching for Mr Right. I loved the way she would look to her best friend, George for reassurance when it came to dating etiquette. The nights when they would stay home and dissect dates gone wrong or drunken mistakes provided a lot of humour in the book which I think a lot of readers will relate to.
Zara's journey throughout this book is immense. From being a foreigner in London, naive and lonely she finds herself becoming a regular Londoner immersed in the travelling to and from work and socialising at the weekend. Her self esteem grows throughout the book and it is wonderful to bear witness to this. I loved how the book jumped from one character to the next seamlessly. It was so refreshing not to have to wait for the next chapter to hear about one of the other characters.
One? is an enjoyable read of friendship, the throes of life and the search for finding the One! I loved the setting as I too spent my youth, twenties and early thirties living in and around London. Cahill balances the themes of romance, hope and humour beautifully. There were no soppy love scenes, which I was pleased about, just plenty of romantic gestures, the ideology of love and hope of finding a person to spend the rest of your life with. If you enjoy chic-lit and contemporary fiction then this book is definitely for you. One? has a light hearted, easy read feel about it which acts as a great escapism.
Many thanks to Jennifer L Cahill for giving me the opportunity to read and review One?
"I moved to London just after graduating from business school and life has never been quite the same for me since. I still think it is the most amazing city in the world. I write contemporary fiction and try to capture the essence of a place and time in my books. Above all my aim is to make you laugh and hopefully learn a little, as you recognise yourself, your friends and your exes in my books."
Amazon links: 🇬🇧 https://amzn.to/2rCan4V