Emily Giffin is a talented writer who always comes up with a plot that is just a bit different than anything others are writing about at the time. In her latest novel, The One and Only, she offers a love story set against a backdrop of Texas football. Didn't see that coming, did you?
In this book there are enough romantic entanglements to satisfy the most lovestruck woman out there, and there is also enough football talk and information to bring in a ton of male readers. In short Giffin strikes the perfect balance between the two subjects.
The focus of the book is on Shea Rigsby, a woman who has grown up in Walker, Texas. This town is home to a state college that has a tremendous football team. A major reason for the team's success is Coach Clive Carr. He seems to have the know-how and skills to produce a winning season year after year.
Shea has grown up being close to the Carr family. Her mother and Carr's wife Connie were college friends and that friendship has lasted. Shea thinks of the Carr's daughter Lucy as a sister. She is also a fanatic about football Texas style and works in the public relations department at Walker.
As the story starts Connie Carr has died. The family is devastated as is Shea. Her main goal is to care for the Carr family in any way she can. This includes being a comforter to Coach Carr and a listening ear for Lucy. This she does willingly.
As the year after Connie's death progresses, Shea finds herself reevaluating her life choices. She is in a relationship with a guy who used to play ball for Coach Carr and it is going nowhere. Plus her job is also limiting. She needs someone to shake her and tell her to wake up. That person happens to be Coach Carr.
Giffin writes in such a way that each and every page of this story is entertaining. She also has a knack for creating a variety of characters and making them all feel fully developed. Plus she can add twists and turns to her plot without breaking the rhythm of her writing or its believability.
This is a book you can glide through this summer. Find a shady spot; get a cool drink, and just luxuriate in the joy of a book well written.
The One and Only is published by Random House. It contains 432 pages and sells for $28.00.