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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
One? by Jennifer L Cahill is a rom-com of sorts in the vein, perhaps, of “Friends,” following the fortunes and loves of two very different young women, flatting together in London and each searching for the one – the love of their lives and the one they are meant to be with. When Zara, a naïve young twenty-one-year-old from Bangor, moves to the exciting metropolis of London, she is the hero of her friends and family but petrified about the big city. Penelope, on the other hand, is an experienced Londonite, working in a high-powered position in “the City,” for an investment banking company. When Zara and Penelope plus her band-member flatmate, Charlie, both by mistake sign up for the same flat in Clapham, the obvious compromise is for them all to live together and for the trio to seek a fourth member to make up the numbers and keep the costs to a minimum. Penelope’s clock is ticking – at 28, her mother and many of her friends think she should be married. When she meets the divine, suave and sophisticated entertainment lawyer, Alyx, she wonders if perhaps this is the one? Richard, a wealthy aristocrat from her University days also has Penelope on his radar and is looking for a long-term relationship. Meanwhile, Zara is just trying to tread water in a city that meets her expectations in every way but at times threatens to overwhelm her.
One? is a gentle and relaxing read that explores the nuances and pressures of the dating world as well as generating excitement about one of the most vibrant and alive cities in Europe, with its multicultural melting pot of ethnicities and nationalities. Author Jennifer L Cahill has created two lead characters that couldn’t be more diametrically opposed in terms of background, education, and aspirations and yet they both have the same unfulfilled need – to find the one. This common ground does allow them to successfully bond and become friends, which is one of the highlights of the story. There was a real possibility that Penelope, as a character, could come across as ridiculously superficial and plastic, yet the author did a tremendous job of grounding her and giving her a universal appeal to readers. The plotlines were predictable at times but the author was able to throw in a surprise or two that was capable of waking the reader up and surprising them, which I really did appreciate. I believe this is a debut novel and there was certainly enough clever literary technique and interesting plot angles to suggest this author has much more to offer. If you’re looking for a relaxing read that offers you the lightness and frothiness that you need, One? would be an excellent choice. I can definitely recommend this read.