Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Tropes: fake relationship; single dad; sports romance; slow burn
“I wanted her everywhere. All her sounds, every flicker of her eyes, and every smile, I wanted them inked on my skin and threaded through my veins.”
There is something very special about Karla Sorensen’s One and Only. Let me be clear: Sorensen is a must-read author for me because her style, her storytelling, her genius at crafting characters speaks to me as a reader. I can hear her characters and their story distinctly in my head, and the way she puts words together flows easily through my mind. I’ve loved her romances and especially adored Logan Ward, the ultimate book boyfriend, for his capacity to love his sisters and his eventual soulmate, Paige. I note all of this because her newest book has taken the top spot for my favorite Sorensen romance. Here’s why…
- The romance is nuanced in a way that shreds your heart. Everything feels understated and small, but the specter of it fills your soul. One and Only is a slow burn. Like…a really slow burn. Think, they finally give in to their chemistry at the 90-ish percentage mark. And it’s pure perfection. It’s exactly as it should be because Sorensen knows that her characters, Greer and Beckett, require the space of the story to find themselves while falling in love with each other.
- I’ve tried to understand why Sorensen’s romances captivate me, and One and Only helped me realize that her superpower is crafting small, quiet moments between her characters that shout out their attraction and chemistry in powerful, heartrending ways. Even with a big character such as Greer who takes up space with her spontaneity, the small moments between her and Beckett cause you to hold your breath and fall deeply in love with them. There’s a moment when Beckett shares his experience growing up with older parents and feeling minimized. He tells Greer how he’s insistent on wanting all the time with his daughter, Olive, because he wants to give her more than he had. In that moment, he recognizes how Greer takes his truth and holds it dear: “Greer’s attention never wavered, and I could see the way she tucked every word of my answer somewhere important. I wanted to know where she kept it. Where she locked it away. What question it answered in her mind. This answer, the biggest piece of who I was, mattered to her. And that, in turn, mattered to me.” This is a purely internal moment, and it causes you to hold your breath a little at Beckett’s gravity of interest in Greer. It’s here where love is created, and it jars you a little in all the best ways. Beckett is incredibly internal, and Sorensen uses it to draw her readers to his character.
- Beckett speaks few words, but his eventual choices breed a big love. That’s where I fell in love with him. It’s where he surpassed my love for Logan Ward. His integrity and his willingness to sacrifice Greer in order for them to have a future are what made me fall deeply for him. It’s hard to describe why it feels special to this story, but I think, in a world where it feels harder and harder to trust people, Sorensen plays with the idea of integrity through the fake relationship trope and rectifies it in a way that feels both devastating and promising in equal measure. That’s where she blew my mind and made me appreciate her even more as a writer.
- The tertiary relationships of One and Only are its foundation. They give Beckett and Olive a family, challenge Greer, add humor, and make me cry. The Wilder family is magical, and I won’t be okay when Tim dies. I know it’s a matter of time, but I’m not ready for it yet. Even more, there is the promise of more stories, and I can’t wait to reside in Ian, Parker, Cameron, or Poppy’s stories because Sorensen has constructed a family that we’d all love to belong to.
I’m still not over One and Only. Beckett’s silent strength and Greer’s fierce love have burrowed spaces into my heart. As I think about the sweet bonus epilogue and the beauty of their journey, I don’t want to move on from them. Hopefully, we will see them again in future Wilder family books, but it’s a testament to Karla Sorensen’s gift that we hate to leave her stories. That we’d love to live in the day-to-day of Beckett and Greer always.
In love and romance,