It’s London in the mid-noughties before Facebook, iPhones and ubiquitous wifi.
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 twenty-eight 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.
One? follows the highs and lows of a group of twenty-somethings living in leafy SW4.
First thing I want to mention is the amazing cover on this novel. At first glance, it seems simple and beautiful but there are so many layers to it. Look at it long enough and you’ll see what I mean.
One? primarily follows Penelope and Zara as they navigate themselves through 90’s London joined by a few people along the way.
The characters have unique voices. All have their own personal goals, triumphs and struggles. They are all developed well as is the plot. I was desperate to know what would become of them all.
I could identify so much with these two ladies especially. I found myself moving to London in my early twenties having never been away from home before so Zara’s feeling seemed partially familiar. The overwhelming feeling of being alone in a big city.
Oh the nostalgia I felt with this book. The time before Facebook (I am so pleased to have grown up without that,) Twitter, smartphones, streaming and the ‘instant’ lifestyle. A time when you had to go to the video shop to rent a film and not everything was technology based. I loved this aspect of it.
I adored these two women. In all honesty, each character brought something.
The writing style is effortless. It is told from multiple viewpoints. These do change mid chapter but it’s easy enough to keep up with.
There’s not much more I can say without spoiling the book for people who want to read it.
One? is about finding love in a big city but for me, it was also about self discovery too. It’s a little gem of a book that deserves all the praise it gets.
It’s a novel I am going to be recommending to people and I look forward to what comes next for Jennifer L Cahlill.
Jennifer writes contemporary fiction and tries to capture the essence of a place and time in her books. Above all, her aim is to make you laugh, and hopefully learn a little, as you recognise yourself, your friends and your exes in her books. She loves hearing from her readers.
One? was published by Clink Street Publishing in June 2018
Click to view on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40358551-one
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.