Book Review — The One You’re With

26 Jul

The One You’re With by Lauren K. Denton made more than one of my book club members to break out in singing. 😉 While this novel doesn’t strictly follow Steve Stills’ song, it does detail the long term consequences of decisions in the romance department. What I would term women’s fiction, this novel got my group talking — always a big plus. We all liked the book, but the characters were another thing. Read all about the book, author, and our thoughts below.

Written in Lauren K. Denton’s signature Southern style, The One You’re With tells the story of a seemingly perfect marriage rocked by secrets from the past.

High-school sweethearts Mac and Edie Swan lead a seemingly picture-perfect life in the sleepy-sweet community of Oak Hill, near Mobile, Alabama. Edie is a respected interior designer, Mac is a beloved pediatrician, and they have two great kids and a historic home on tree-lined Linden Avenue. From the outside, the Swan family is the definition of “the good life.” And life is good—mostly. Until a young woman walks into Mac’s office one day. A young woman whose very existence threatens all Mac and Edie have built and all they think they know about each other.

Nineteen years after a summer apart, with a family and established lives and careers, the past that Mac and Edie thought they left behind has come back to greet them. For the first time, constants in their lives are called into question: their roles as parents, their reputation as upstanding members of the community, and the very foundations of their marriage. As they wade through the upheaval in both their family and professional lives, they must each examine choices they made long ago and chart a new course for their future.

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband, two daughters, and one fluffy dog in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, relationships, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books.

Find her at or on Facebook (LaurenKDentonAuthor) or Instagram (LaurenKDentonBooks).

My Impressions:

The One You’re With by Lauren K. Denton was my book club’s selection this month. Women’s fiction, this novel explores secrets kept and revealed over the course of a marriage. Main characters Edie and Mac have been together longer than their 17 years of marriage, having been sweethearts from an early age. What they think of as perfect comes under pressure when a young woman shows up at Mac’s office with very shocking news — she’s his daughter. The ripples of that disclosure spread wide and quickly.

It was interesting to see how each character reacted to the news of Mac’s heretofore unknown child. Mac steps in as protector while Edie views their whole marriage as based on lies. Truth telling is a big theme in the novel. But truth and its importance in being shared takes on different meanings for the characters. I liked Mac and his willingness to fulfill not only obligations, but to provide a place for Riley in his life and in the life of his family. I disliked Edie — she accused Mac of deliberately lying to her, while she kept many things secret in her own life. There’s a contrast of thinking about things versus acting on them. That part of the story created the most discussion with my group. It is interesting that out of 6 women present at our meeting, we all sided with Mac! We all felt that the reactions from Edie and Mac’s family and friends were realistic. We felt sorry for Riley, and wished her mother Kat could have had a different life. We were thankful for an epilogue that showed a hopeful future.

The One You’re With wasn’t our favorite of Denton’s books, but we liked it overall and felt it was worth reading. It sure made for a lively book club meeting! And that’s several points in its favor.


Audience: Adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

%d bloggers like this: