Title: The One Real Thing

Author: Samantha Young

Series: Hart’s Boardwalk #1 (Books are stand-alone)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: September 6th 2016 by Berkley

Rating: 3/5 stars ★★★


“It’s never too late to change the road that you’re on.”


Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts…

While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women’s correctional facility where she works, she’s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life. Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison’s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town’s charm—and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.

Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they’ve owned for generations. But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her. Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there’s only one real thing in life worth fighting for….


3 of 5 stars to The One Real Thing by Samantha Young


While this is a good read, the last few impressions left with me were negative. I enjoyed reading it but there was so much I didn’t like.

First of all, I hate prologues that are not actually prologues but are time jumps (or snippets) into the story when the main characters already met. It ruins the reading experience for me. I want to be able to naturally experience the progression of the romance or the story in able to believe that what the characters felt was real and justified. This book has that kind of prologue. Also, I especially hate “prologues” that tell of the main characters’ first sexual encounter. I didn’t come for the smut but for a believable romance. It’s just weird reading about these bed scenes when you barely know the characters.

Moving on, what else I didn’t like about this novel is that it spent so much time setting up the other characters’ stories for the series. I get that it’s small town and that people are close but there are so many characters we have to remember and sometimes, those other ‘supporting’ characters, who are eventually going to have their own book, tend to sound more interesting than the actual hero/heroine. It makes me want to just skip the rest of the story and demand for Emery’s book! Emery is this painfully shy girl who owns a library at the boardwalk. She’s aloof to everyone much more in the presence of men so she’s very intriguing! I think it’d be amazing if she get paired with Jack Devlin, another interesting sub character, who is sort of an anti-hero. See, I already spent so much time talking about minor characters when it shouldn’t have been!

Since we’re already on the topic of supporting characters, let me just say how annoyed I am of Bailey, the heroine’s supposed new found bestfriend. She’s very pushy and demanding when it’s not her place to be. I feel like she doesn’t deserve Vaughn. The second book is about them.

Anyway, another unlikable thing about the story is the conflict that dragged on for all eternity. Jessica, the heroine, has this huge gigantic enormous dark secret no one has to know or she’ll be shunned by everyone! Plot twist: it’s huge, it’s dark but it’s not something she would be shunned for!!! She’ actually quite pitiful, admirable even, for doing what she did but I just hate how the author built this secret up for something so sinister as to allude that readers may actually hate Jessica for it but it’s not. Just say it as it is: a traumatic past that she bravely survived but left her broken.. not evil.

And one last detail I didn’t like: the alternating point of views done in different styles. First we get the Jessica’s (the heroine) POV in first person, which is okay. I get used to it and THEN…. we get Cooper’s (the hero) POV done in third person. Third. Person. Seriously, make up your mind. Do you want to just be the omnipresent narrator or a personal one? Either is okay, just not both. If this is a new trend nowadays I am so going to freak.

This book is lengthy but I feel like there really wasn’t much going on in the story so it could have been shorter and less dragging.

* Cover Art: 2/5 stars. Same old, same old. *