Book review: The One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon

The Thomson triplets are a rarity indeed'¦ the odds on the three girls being identical are as high as one in 200 million.
The One We Fell in Love With by Paige ToonThe One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon
The One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon

Of course, now they have reached the grand old age of 27 they have turned out to be very different personalities. In fact, they share only one thing… they are all in love with the same man.

Paige Toon, author of a string of romance novels for both teens and adults, dishes up the perfect beach read just in time for a summer season of holidays and travel.

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But The One We Fell in Love With is so much more than just another helping of frothy sunshine fiction. Toon writes with both her heart and her head and this beautiful and wise story is packed with drama, heart-wrenching emotions and some show-stopping surprises.

You’ll need hankies at the ready as this torrid tale of sisterhood, sibling rivalry, broken dreams and secret desires unfolds with all the wit, warmth and genuine insight that Toon has made her trusty trademarks.

From the day they were born, identical triplets Rose, Phoebe and Eliza Thomson had little in common and it stayed that way until they were 17, the day Angus Templeton moved in next door to their home in Sale near Manchester.

From that moment on, they all fell head over heels in love with handsome 19-year-old Angus, the drop-dead gorgeous student with blond hair, multi-coloured eyes and honey-coloured skin.

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Ten years later, all three girls lead very different lives. Phoebe, a successful translator, lives in London but is currently staying with her best friend Josie in Chamonix in the French Alps as she gets ready for her wedding… to Angus.

Far from being ecstatic – after all she is the sister who captured Angus’s heart – Phoebe feels caught between a rock and a hard place. Should she settle down in Angus’s choice of Manchester and get married, or return to the Alps to pursue her passion for the ski world?

Eliza, meanwhile, the stay-at-home sister is still secretly in love with Angus. She has had a string of unsatisfactory boyfriends and her life is going nowhere. She busks for money and does some part-time waitressing but her dream of becoming a successful musician seems to be vanishing before her eyes.

Sensible, eldest sister Rose has been pursuing a nursing career in London and dating handsome doctor Gerard. But Gerard isn’t Angus, the man with whom she shares some secret memories, so she has moved back to Manchester, determined to leave nursing behind and try to do something new.

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As we follow Rose, Phoebe and Eliza through their ten-year history of emotional turmoil, we learn more about the people they really are and share with them the events that are going to change their lives forever…

The One We Fell in Love With is a fascinating study of how we take our siblings for granted… their love, their friendship, their jealousies, their shared memories and, perhaps most importantly, their sacrifices.

Toon puts lots of tender loving care into the creation of her three principal characters, each triplet a complex, believable young woman, each beset by her own hopes and fears, dreams and dilemmas.

As we move with them from the cold, wet streets of Manchester to the icy sparkle of the French Alps and the sizzling beaches of Australia, we are swept away by a whole gamut of emotions that resonate long after the last page has turned.

Clever romantic fiction for the discerning woman…

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)