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REVIEW: The One Real Thing by Samantha Young

SYNOPSIS: 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….

SERIES: Hart's Boardwalk #1

GENRE: Romance, Contemporary

RATING: ★★★☆☆ / 3 promising stars.

REVIEW: I love Samantha Young...but not in a creepy way! ...okay, maybe a little creepy. But just in that slightly zealous way that all book lovers do when they find an author they really really like. You know the way, don't pretend that you don't! (sigh)...let's try this again...

I'm a huge fan of Samantha Young. Her On Dublin Street series books were automatic Kindle buys. I've also read some of her New Adult works, both romance and fantasy. Her writing just sucks you in. So of course I was excited for her next contemporary romance series, especially since Dublin was done. Time for a new town and new characters!

I love the area that Young has created with this new book! The boardwalk and all the businesses on it are going to provide so many fantastic opportunities as the series progresses. And the people are diverse and teeming with untold secrets (rubs hands together greedily). Let's face it, we contemporary romance lovers just adore secrets and damaged pasts. I have a feeling, especially being familiar with this author, that this series will not disappoint as it continues.

I say all this because the first book in any new romance series, one that will be focusing on different characters in each subsequent book, is about much more than the main characters in it. It's important to get a feel for what will be coming and pay attention to every little character, because they'll be getting their own book, or star as the bad guy, in the future. I'm glad to say that I'm excited for this series to continue, even if this book was merely enjoyable and not extraordinary.

Okay, let's bring this around to Dr. Jessica Huntington and Cooper Lawson, our main characters in The One Real Thing. Jessica has one of the more interesting backgrounds that I've come across recently. Where she works and why she works there is definitely not something that I have come across before. It lent an edge to her character that was intriguing but not over the top. And Cooper is a bit typical hot guy with the golden heart living in a small town and owning a bar. It's not bad but it also wasn't great.

Our main characters both have trust issues, so of course that creates one part of the obstacle separating these two, but it's Jessica's damaged past that is the main problem. The romance did feel a little lackluster in some areas. It was hard to put a finger on but there was just something missing. Luckily this book isn't all about the romance and I love that! I love when there is dimension and greater obstacles than just the inability of two adults to have an open and honest conversation. So, there's a bad guy in town trying to disrupt the livelihood of the boardwalk's citizens, and that creates the much needed dimension in this story and beyond.

So while this wasn't a fantastic read, it's definitely the beginning of a promising new series. I'm excited for what's to come.

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