The One Real Thing by Samantha Young
Series: Hart's Boardwalk #1
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: September 6th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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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….
Jessica works at a women’s prison. While there one day she discovers letters hidden in one of the books from the library. They are letters that were written in 1976 but were never sent. When she reads them she is struck by the love that the writer – a now deceased inmate – poured into them. Since they are addressed to a man named George Beckwith she decides to travel to Hartwell, Delaware since her vacation plans went belly up.
From the moment that Jessica arrives in Hartwell she feels at peace. She’s had some serious issues to deal with in her life and they’ve directed her decisions for years. After spending time in Hartwell and getting to know the wonderful people there she decides it’s time to stop letting her past decide her future. One of the decisions she makes is letting love in – and she does that with Cooper Lawson.
Cooper was born and raised in Hartwell and his family has owned a pub on Hart’s Boardwalk for many, many years. When he runs into Jessica during a rain storm he’s instantly attracted to her. He makes it a point to get to know her and despite her hesitation at first, she finally caves into him. She’s not sure what she’s getting herself into as she’s never opened up emotionally but she knows it’s right.
There are, of course, the villains in town who want to take over the boardwalk but the owners of the shops on the boardwalk work together to thwart their plans by working together.
This was an easy book to read. By that I mean that there wasn’t a great deal of angst and the characters were very easy to get into. I really liked Jessica. She was just a tired out woman who had been holding herself back emotionally because of something that happened in her childhood. On top of that the “event” caused her parents to treat her like a pariah and so she was very alone in the world. She had her best friend who lived thousands of miles away but that was it. When she got to Hartwell I loved how the townspeople just took her in. They were friendly and open and made her feel at home. The part where the past was revealed was very hard to read but it was such an important part of who Jessica was and it was done well – I just had to power through.
Cooper was one hot hero, let me tell you! He had been hurt by his now ex-wife who slept with his best friend – so he lost both in the end. He knew from almost minute one that Jessica was the woman for him but he held himself back to try and figure out his feelings. Once he decided to go for it he was all in and I loved that. His best friend showed up a couple of times in the book and I think there’s definitely more explanation there (about why he slept with Cooper’s wife) that will be revealed in future books (I hope!).
The part that had to do with George Beckwith when Jessica finally gets to meet him and give him the letters was incredibly sweet. I loved George and his acceptance of Jessica and what she was revealing to him. It made me cry – but in a good way.
Overall I really liked the book and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more in this series in the future.
Rating: 4 out of 5