Going Back to That One Moment in Time

I have been on a roll lately when it comes to reading. I’m not too sure why, but it never hurts to be literate I suppose. After just finishing the book I’ve only been reading for a few days, I decided it’s high time to run here and publish my first book review! There have been a few books I really wanted to review over the last few years, but I just never set aside the time for it. I am not making that mistake again, so let’s get into it! The book I just put down is called One Moment in Time, written by Shari Low. While she’s a new author to me, she’s no stranger to novel-writing, having published over 30 books since the early 2000s. She’s had multiple best-sellers in multiple countries over the last 2 decades, and it seems there is no slowing down in sight for this amazing writer (thankfully for us). Since this is the first time I’ve read one of her books, I can’t say I’m too familiar with her body of work and the types of books she typically writes, but I promise I will be reading more of her work in the near future.

One Moment in Time tells the story of a few different characters, but primarily from the perspective of Zara Jones who is planning a heartwarming vow-renewal ceremony for her parents’ 30th anniversary. She is meticulous and thorough, planning every detail down to the same setting where her parents got married (in Vegas) and with the same friends who witnessed it (now estranged). However, Zara and her sister Millie never once stopped to consider why those friends were now estranged, and also were none the wiser to the real truth behind their parents’ relationship. Brenda Jones had been struggling for some time in her marriage to Colin, but she didn’t dare share that with her daughters Zara and Millie. She would have never dreamed of being dragged back to Vegas, where the biggest mistakes of her life were made and she never wanted to set foot again. Gary and Eileen, the two horrible ex-best friends that started all of this, and whom she hated for many reasons, were a distant memory of the past. Little did she know that her daughter Zara was tracking them down to attend the upcoming vow-renewal. When Zara fails to locate Gary and Eileen, she stubmles across Aiden Greeg on Facebook, their son, who is just getting over his own relationship woes. When he reads Zara’s message, he thinks about the good it might do his now-divorced parents to meet up with old friends and get away to Vegas. What Aiden and Zara didn’t realize is that they would be setting off a chain of events that would change everyone’s lives, and bring everyone back to one moment in time that shaped the past 30 years.

At 300 pages long, One Moment in Time is not a super long story, but it’s filled with plenty of emotions and drama. My review will be spoiler-ridden, so stay away if you plan on reading this one!

The Things I Liked

The Drama.

Alright, I’m going to start by categorizing this book for you. It’s definitely a work of fiction, and it’s definitely a family drama. If you live for that kind of thing (when it doesn’t directly involve you), then this is the novel for you. Overall, I found myself captured by the dramatic irony created right off the bat. It was obvious that everything would blow up at some point in the book, especially after the first few chapters. Some of it had to do with secrets, but a lot of it had to do with most central character, Zara, shit-disturbing everything and everyone around her. The most that would have happened without Zara’s big vow-renewal plans was the eventual split between Brenda (her mother) and Colin (her father). This was probably one of the bigger central problems in the story, where Brenda no longer found fulfillment in her life and marriage, with most of the blame having gone to Colin. Colin played things safe, never took risks, and was essentially too boring for her, where else she was actively hoping for more excitement in her later years. She tried to communicate this to Colin, but he wasn’t completely receptive, and above all, Zara imposed this big 30th wedding anniversary celebration upon them. Not knowing how she would initiate a split from Colin and break her daughters’ hearts, she went along with the anniversary plans, also not knowing how deep down the rabbit hole things would go. Zara tried to go the extra mile and bring two strangers from her parents’ past back into their lives, which was when she connected with Aiden. This is how we gained insight into his crumbling life as he was stood up at the altar by his fiancé Layla. Because of his state of affairs, he found the idea of taking his feuding divorced parents Eileen and Gary on a trip together to be a good idea, especially if it meant reuniting them with old friends. By the time all of trip was ready to take place, it was obvious the drama would hit an all-time high. I won’t go on to spoil too much of what else happened after, but the reunion was nothing short of horrific, with many hidden truths reaching the surface after nearly 3 decades. I know I felt myself wondering how everything would get resolved, which I took as a good indicator of brilliant writing. By the middle point of the book, I was on the edge of my seat, and I couldn’t stop reading, hence finishing the book so quickly. My stress levels were high, but I always say that if the writing can solicit that type of response from me, it was well-written.

The Realism of the Situations.

Although I was not a fan of Zara and her character’s thinking (which I get into in-depth below), one thing I will say is that her character was pretty believable. While I did not find the dialogue between her and her sister Millie naturally conversational, her personality of being situationally tone-deaf and self-indulging reminded me of too many people I know. The fact is, not a lot of people these days are observant and aware of what goes on around them. They solely think about what they desire and rarely think about how it impacts those around them. For instance, I can’t tell you all how many friends have complained to me that they are on a budget (as we all are in this economy; a fact that should not be a surprise to anyone), but have been invited to celebrate another friend’s Birthday at an outrageously expensive restaurant. My friend now feels pressured to be there and be a supportive friend to theirs, but at the same time doesn’t have the money or capacity to drop that much cash on a single dinner. Do I think the friend of a friend is wrong for wanting to have a Birthday dinner? No, but I don’t see why they couldn’t spare a moment to think about what would work best for their guests. Why not survey people about potential options you were thinking of to get a feel for their interest? Why not proactively choose a venue that is a little less financially intrusive? Maybe if you had been a better listener, you might have recalled that many of your friends mentioned bills are tight and they’ve been cutting back in their own lives. This is one of my ultimate pet peeves, when I’m put into a situation where someone else couldn’t collaborate and only think about themselves. It complicates relationships and creates animosity. Rant aside, this is all to say that it didn’t surprise me that a Zara existed in this story and that she wouldn’t have thought about the big picture. Additionally, the story highlighted some real issues happening all the time in the real world: failing marriages, infidelity, being left at the altar, warring parents, carrying grudges, cradle-snatching, and etc… There wasn’t anything in the story that felt like it was too much of a stretch, and that is one thing I appreciated about the caliber of writing. No matter who you are, at least every one of us can relate to one thing in this book.

The Multiple Perspectives.

This is the second book I read recently where each chapter was told from a different character’s perspective. Is this a thing now? Because I really liked it! This gave me an opportunity to really learn about most of the unique characters in the book and how I could relate (or not relate) to them. I believe all-in-all, the story was relayed by 4 of the main characters, each one picking up where the last one left off. To give an example, Aiden was introduced to the reader on his wedding day and ultimately was stood-up. Instead of just giving us insight into the emotions he was feeling in his own mind, the next chapter jumped to his mom Eileen, who was there as a witness to the events. Through her thoughts, it was possible to learn more about how she viewed Aiden as a parent and what she felt was best for him. It also allowed for some of her own conflicting thoughts to shine through, which is usually where the secrets started to dredge up in the story. If the story was only ever told from one first-person perspective, the audience would never really see all sides of the coin. Best example would be Zara, who only saw her parents as having the absolute perfect marriage and happy life because they never wore an expression of hate, anger, nor sadness. Meanwhile, both Brenda and Colin were facing their own challenges all throughout. The author knew exactly when to jump from narrator to narrator, and this was part of the reason why I was just so hooked.

The Majestic Aiden.

You all know I am a sucker for a leading man. Where I felt annoyed by the younger females in the story, Aiden more than made up for it. His looks were compared to Jamie Dornan, and that was enough for me. But his personality was definitely far from dominating sex demon. He was kind, thoughtful, smart, and misguided in all the right aways. What I appreciated about his personality was his level of patience, navigating many of the tense situations in the story with a lot of grace and maturity. I thought it was sweet how much he cared for his parents and fixing their wounds. He exuded masculinity, but also a considerable amount of balance when it came to his communication skills. He seemed like the type of guy who could roll with any crowd or conversation, which is why I wasn’t too surprised that he didn’t find Zara or Millie to be annoying. I mean, with a father like Gary? I must admit, I didn’t see what he found so alluring about Zara. My suspicion is that (aside from her looks), she must have been more honest and freer than Layla was, which is something I have to assume because the details about Layla were scarce. I also noted that Layla was older, which, coupled with her previous experience with a first marriage, might have meant she was more rigid. Aiden deserved a girl with an open heart and with huge family values, and I can’t really argue that second point. Zara did genuinely care about family. On the flip side of things, obviously Aiden was drinking a bit of what Zara was for him to have also thought this trip to Vegas was a good idea without knowing more, but I cut him some slack given he was going through emotional turmoil. What was Zara going through? Being boring?

The Grown-ups.

Except for Gary Gregg, I liked the older folks in the book. I did feel like some of Brenda’s emotions were a little dramatic (see below), but I understood what Brenda meant by Colin being stagnant and boring; I see it in my father everyday. But word on the street is that all retirement-approaching men are the same way. They slow down and lose their sense of wonder. Is it right to hate them for it? Debatable, especially with men so severely lacking awareness of emotional growth. Alternatively, Colin was what every child hoped for in a dad. He was calm, cool, collected, smart, and certainly adorable. While Brenda was lacking excitement, I would argue it’s better to have someone rational around. Eileen was my favourite elderly character. She just gave off pure mom vibes from the start, and there were many things about her that reminded me of mine. Had Eileen paid the price for sleeping with Gary all those years ago? Absolutely, and the fact that it weighed on her mind for so long truly showed that it was a grand mistake, aside from producing Aiden. Who really knows why she and Gary got hot-and-heavy; perhaps the alcohol, or Gary’s gravitational pull, but I do believe Eileen regretted it and wanted to make amends, but wasn’t sure how to do it. Eileen’s adoration for Aiden was something I loved. The thing is, Aiden was a great kid and Eileen recognized that. One might say Brenda also loved her daughters unconditionally, but she also felt her biscuit-head daughter Millie was a cute little cupcake. Yeah, credibility gone. I think we sometimes take for granted the challenges older adults go through, especially women with the onset of menopause and aging. It is hard to keep a marriage thriving because people are meant to change and evolve as they grow older. This book did an excellent job of highlighting the challenges our parents face, and what life is like trying to hold a marriage together, especially when children are involved. As you will find in the next bullets, I felt the story could have propelled without the interference of the younger characters, though they accented the drama.

Things I Questioned


From the moment I started reading just the first few pages of banter between the sisters, I immediately hated Zara. I was absolutely surprised I did not just close the book at the time and move on with my life. I disliked both of Brenda’s daughters, but Zara was the big pitfall for me. There were some things about Zara I related to and liked, such as her organization skills and thoroughness of planning. Beyond that, I found her to be far too excitable and really delusional. While her intentions were good in that she wanted to honour her parents and their relationship, she was solely counting on everything going the way she envisioned without any consideration for the other people involved. Zara convinced herself that a surprise trip back to the place where her parents got married was going to be amazing, and that bringing back strangers from the past was an even better idea. I could see where maybe her parents created the illusion they were happy in their marriage and didn’t display cracks in the foundation, but a part of me wonders if Zara would have even picked up on it even if there were signs. The book made it seem like Zara was intuitive to her parents’ feelings, but clearly she wasn’t because she kept lying to herself throughout about how amazing everything was going. She created a vision that she wanted everyone else to see alongside her, without ever stopping to think about what everyone else wanted. It did not help that her braindead sister Millie agreed to all of it too. Now, let’s say I forgave her for the vow-renewal piece, I personally would NEVER think to reach out to friends my parents new three decades ago, whom I never met and they never mentioned. The first thing I would have done upon finding the old picture was ask my parents who these people were, like a normal human being would do. I would have tried to understand why they were there on the big wedding day, and never heard from again. Clearly there was a story, but Zara was too ignorant to think about it. Asking questions about Gary and Eileen would not have ruined the surprise of the vow renewal in any way, because I seriously doubt Brenda and Colin would have assumed Zara would seek out these people. Even if the Jones parents chose not to share all the details, they would have at least given Zara and Millie the impression that they were not fans of their old friends. Zara was also the one who dragged innocent Aiden into the mess, alongside his parents. All of this being said, I realize that if Zara hadn’t done any of this meddling, there was no chance things were going to turn out the way they did. Brenda would not have reached an agreement with Colin. Brenda and Eileen would not have repaired their friendship. Most notably, Zara and Aiden would not have found true love, leaving her in a dead-end relationship with Ken, and Aiden chasing an undeserving Layla. What I find myself wondering is if there was a way in which Zara could have been less annoying while these events still took place? Even down to the final chapters of the book, Zara’s rambling in front of Aiden just seemed so unappealing to me. I have no idea what he saw in her. I’m assuming a lot of it had to be beauty, and maybe some brains. If you have not guessed by now, I do not like surprises like the ones she planned. It is deeply intrusive to make a person ‘get married on the spot’ with no warning, never mind how well you think you know them. I would be absolutely livid if I was forced to see my mortal enemies who I walked away from with all my strength and resolve. I found she was forgiven way too easily when everything went down, bullet after bullet. Perhaps that’s parental love that I just can’t understand.


Aside from Zara the great, Millie was the next character I didn’t care for at all. At the very least, we could say Zara was a catalyst for the major events of the book, but exactly what purpose did Millie serve? If you ask me, absolutely nothing. I truly believe the author felt Millie was the comic relief, but I found nothing funny about her. The way her mother, father, and sister found her to be endearing was a foreign concept to me. She was ho without any drive, ambitions, or purpose. She did not respect other people’s time, privacy, or space. She had no filter to be socially aware of any situation, she was basically rude and insulting. It bothered me that strangers like Aiden and Eileen were not immediately annoyed by her, or that Brenda never seemed embarrassed by her slutty daughter. The proof that Millie was completely useless came at the end when they basically let her run off to do her own things. You cannot miss what doesn’t make a difference in your life, right? The sisterly conversations between Zara and Millie also felt very theatrical and forced. I could never imagine speaking to my sister in this way… The fact is, I consciously felt like I was reading a book or script when those two spoke. The conversations between all the other characters felt natural and relatable, but nothing about Zara and Millie felt authentic. Their interactions, which came heavy in the beginning chapters, were enough for me to, again, want to close the book. To reiterate, maybe I just can’t understand sisterly love like this.

Brenda’s Unhappy Love Life.

One of the biggest focal points of the story was the way Brenda felt about her marriage with Colin. After thirty years, she was ready to call it quits and go her own way. It would have happened sooner had Zara not run rampant with the whole anniversary thing. I felt very torn about Brenda’s reasoning, and I will start by saying that perhaps I wouldn’t relate unless I was in a similar situation. But objectively as an outsider, I found the things that Brenda hated about Colin were not that horrible. He was a typical grown man who had fallen into the slump of comfort with his life. With proper conversations and conveyed emotions, I could have been possible to reignite the marriage. Brenda did try to speak to him and there was a small period of time where he tried harder to be exciting, but it was only temporary. I felt that with more dialogue, she could have explained that the sex was boring, the routines were boring, and they were just too boring together. Granted, Zara’s big, convoluted plan royally screwed up the timeframe for said discussions, but I didn’t see why any of it was a grounds for divorce. I did, however, cut Brenda some slack when I learned she was meant to be with Gary; it suddenly made sense that she was always attracted to the bad boy type. I do think the events in Vegas 2.0 revealed that she dodged a bullet and had a decent life with Colin, which is why they were able to end things amicably. I suppose it helped for her to receive confirmation that Colin was a great man compared to Gary. At the same time, the ending of the book suggested that the sex improved, and they both ended up doing new things, just not together. So… then yes, it was entirely possible to work it out without the big dramatic events in Vegas! Children complicate things. I think if it was left to both adults, they might have found a way to be realistic with their feelings and ended OR repaired things sooner.

That Bitch Layla.

As mentioned above, I was in love with Aiden, therefore I was terribly upset at what Layla did to him. I immediately wrote her off, just as his mother had. There isn’t much to say beyond that. From the moment he began to describe her, I could see how great he was and how uninteresting she was. Aiden rushed into things with her, especially when he admitted that the plan was for her to get closer to his family after the wedding. I found it a bit surprising because of his job. Shouldn’t he have known better? Especially getting into a relationship with a divorcee. I’m not saying divorced people don’t deserve love again, but as a divorce attorney he should have known there were always two sides to a split. Had he deluded himself into thinking she was not to blame for her first marriage failing? Aside from the wedding day fiasco he had to endure, Aiden was entirely too good for her given how trusting he was. When he saw her Facebook post after being stood up, he should have blocked her ass and moved on. Her reasoning for standing him up was also not sensible… You’re saying your old hubby called you the day before your wedding to tell you it was a bad idea and you were like, “Nyeahhh”. Goodbye Layla. As much as I was not a fan of Zara, I was happy Aiden found love elsewhere. I still felt his proposal to her was too soon as well, but I also found myself wishing him well with her.

Cougar Eileen and Cradle-Snatched Trevon.

This was the only part of the story I absolutely didn’t agree with. I mostly found myself annoyed with characters, as the story itself was well-written and riveting. Until we got to that last unnecessary romance between Eileen and Trevon. I chose to look at it as a plot filler, because it would have been sad to send Eileen off as a single without any prospects (given how nice of a character she was). Still, Trevon? I will admit that I found the age gap to be just as unconventional as she did, but I just could not understand how she could shack up with a boy that was essentially her second son. Yup, I said it. Mommy and son relations. Even Aiden so easily accepting it? It felt like a cop out and a rushed resolution. I would feel so disgusted if my mother decided to get into a relationship with my forever best friend. Theren were no follow-up conversations between the two men, and I even wondered what Gary would inevitably have said about it too (not that his opinion mattered). I didn’t see the brilliance in introducing the relationship at the very end of the book, when other things were more important to wrap up. It may have been more appropriate for Trevon to link up with Millie, though I would have felt sorry for him. In all honesty, he seemed like a great guy, with super good looks and plenty of money. He surely had prospects and could have eventually landed a girl within his age group. Understandably the heart wants what the heart wants, but even him wanting his best bros mom was a bit gross to me. Just my two cents.

The Hurried Ending.

My last and final criticism for this otherwise amazing read is the ending. While the story ended on a happy note for almost all of the characters involved, the wind-down at the end happened very quickly. There was a lot of build-up towards the Vegas trip and even during, but suddenly things rushed along after Brenda and Eileen’s initial conversation. While the early chapters of the book featured perspectives from all the characters on the same dates, the jump to the vow-renewal day was quick, skipping over some of the days entirely, and the jump to the end chapter was even quicker. It felt like a movie that ran out of budget and had to tie up the loose ends quickly, which is bizarre because it’s a book! Just write more! The epilogue was a welcome addition, but overall, it would have been nice to know how those final days in Vegas went, and what life was like in the immediate present when everyone returned home. As each chapter went on, emotions welled-up in me and I found myself unable to put the book down. I was excited and wanted to know more and more. What was disappointing was getting to the end of the book and realizing that was it. I should mention that the last ten or so pages of the book contained a preview of another book, so I felt robbed to say the least. Still, there was a fair amount of closure for the important characters, and that was much appreciated.

And there you have it! My first book review, all these years later. Despite my complaints, I felt it was a good and easy read. I found most of my grievances were with the characters and not necessarily the story or quality of writing. If you happened to skip over my spoilerific review or don’t care much for spoilers, but are still intrigued, you can read a free preview of One Moment in Time below via Amazon Kindle Reading. Until next time!


One Moment in Time” Amazon,

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