Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 31, 2016
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."
Abbey Lahey lives in a quaint suburban town outside of Philadelphia. She's overworked and under appreciated as many working mothers are and her husband, Jimmy, is a landscaper who is barely getting by. So their homelife can be a bit stressful at times, especially with two young kids in the mix. While at Nordstrom, she decides to buy a really expensive purse as a treat for herself, but she Jimmy insists she take it back as they could really use that money. So while returning it, she tumbles off of the escalator and takes a pretty hard fall. When she "wakes" up, she is Abbey van Holt, wife to congressional candidate Alex van Holt and member of an old Main Line family. Abbey was asked out by Alex many years ago and she turned him down, which sometimes she regrets. Now she is married to him and living a life that is drastically different than what she is used to. As Abbey spends more time rubbing elbows with Philadelphia high society, she realizes that living her dream life isn't exactly everything she thought it would be despite the fact that there's glittering diamonds, a perfect penthouse, loads of money, and even a fit version of herself. The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes is a fun debut novel that questions the paths we take in life and begs us to say, "what if?"
Abbey Lahey is the type of mom we can all relate to in The One That Got Away. She carries an extra ten pounds, she is a bit frazzled, and is spread too thin between her job and taking care of her two kids. Her husband, while he has the best intentions, is pre-occupied with his landscaping company and unfortunately, the company is struggling. This all adds extra stress to their lives. When Abbey cracks open the latest edition of Town and Country and sees Alex on its glossy pages looking perfect, she can't help but ask herself what if? What if she took that date with him many years ago? What would her life look like now?
The concept of living your life as yourself, but in an alternate version of reality is a fun concept that is explored in The One That Got Away. When Abbey wakes up after her accident as a van Holt and is catapulted into a luxurious Main Line life, I was definitely intrigued. I mean who hasn't thought about life as someone that has a ton of money and the best of everything? I'm sure we all have, but I know things aren't always as they seem, which is what Abbey comes to realize.
My favorite aspect of The One That Got Away was the setting. I live near the suburban town that Himes describes and the local landmarks she incorporated are all familiar to me. I love when that happens in a novel! Her descriptions of the Main Line outside of Philadelphia and its wealthy inhabitants are all on point. Himes truly gets both sides of the spectrum and illustrates to readers both the good aspects as well as the bad from both sides.
Obviously, readers are able to predict the ending of The One That Got Away, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the journey getting there. It was a fun beach read that I loved being lost in and found myself thinking about Abbey even when I wasn't reading the novel. I love when that happens and I look forward to reading more of Himes's work in the future.