You’re (Not) the One
by Alexandra Potter
(Plume, $15, PG) ISBN 978-0452296909
“Be careful what you wish for…” pretty much sums up the premise of British author Alexandra Potter’s latest release. The predictability of the plot didn’t bother me – I don’t read romance novels for the novelty – but the heroine’s clichéd ditziness and general ineptitude turned what could have been a fun read into a chore.

For the past ten years Lucy Hemmingway’s love life has been poor to nonexistent. She has never gotten over her first love, Nate Kennedy, with whom she shared a brief but perfect relationship when they met as college students in Venice. They even kissed under the Bridge of Sighs, which according to legend means they are fated to be together forever. Any men she’s dated since then have suffered in comparison – unlike Nate, they weren’t The One.

Although born and raised in Britain, Lucy now lives in New York City, working as an assistant to the quirky owner of an art gallery. One day she delivers a set of paintings to a posh penthouse apartment, and is shocked to learn that its tenant is none other than her long-lost Nate. With very little hesitation, Lucy and Nate resume their relationship, convinced that they have found their happily ever after ending.

However, after a few weeks the dream turns into a nightmare. Nate was a fellow art student when they first met, but now he is a game show producer who scoffs at Lucy’s refusal to give up her dreams of becoming an artist. The sweet young man she fell in love has changed into an anal, impatient workaholic who is glued to his cell phone. Lucy realizes she has to break it off. But it’s not that simple. The kiss they shared in Venice ten years ago must have truly been magic, because even after they split up, Nate and Lucy can’t seem to stay away from each other. It looks like they are stuck together forever, and any hope Lucy has of moving on to another promising man is lost – unless Lucy can convince Nate, who now hates the sight of her, to help her break the spell.

Potter tries to make a point about soul mates and the misguided notion that there is only one person who can be your other half. Lucy does make a nicely impassioned speech towards the end of the novel about how you can miss the good stuff right in front of you if you get stuck in the romance of the past. But by the time Lucy utters those lines the reader has lost all faith in her as a leading lady. This is the second decade of the 21st century – do we still think it is cute when the heroine burns a hole in white carpet, forgets to put the lid on the blender and trips over her own two feet? Can you identify with someone who is baffled by the term “mergers and acquisitions” and thinks a spreadsheet is something you put at the end of your bed? Lucy is supposed to be a competent art studio manager and event planner but it’s difficult to buy that premise, given the lack of brain power she displays regarding the rest of her life.

I just couldn’t get past my frustration with the heroine. You’re Not the One was, unfortunately, not the book for me.

--Susan Scribner

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