Book review: The One Real Thing (Hart’s Boardwalk) by Samantha Young

5 Sep

one real thingWelcome 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….

I became a fan of Samantha Young’s books with the On Dublin Street series and I loved her standalone novel Hero too. So when I saw she was starting a new series set in an American boardwalk town, I jumped at the chance to review it.

The One Real Thing pretty much has all the ingredients for my perfect book; it’s set by the sea, it has a lovely community of eclectic residents to get to know, a beautiful inn and a strong but imperfect heroine with an equally strong male lead and of course, a sizzling romance! I loved that Jessica and Cooper are both adults with pasts and I enjoyed reading about characters close to my own age (Jessica is 33 and cooper 36.)

The setting for The One Real Thing is just beautiful and I could absolutely see why Jess was so drawn to it. Young has created a great history to the town of Hartwell and as Jessica discovers it’s stories and legends I was hooked. There’s a lovely  flavour of fate and a little magic to the story which is stopped from being too sugary by the grittier parts of the story.

Jessica is a doctor in a woman’s prison. her reasons for her choice of career and why she works in a prison are a key theme in the book. As we meet her, it’s clear that there is much in her past that she needs to come to terms with and I enjoyed getting to know Jess and slowly unpicking her history. Cooper has his secrets too and this gave an edge to the story. As Jessica takes a holiday to Hartwell she soon meets many of its lovely residents and I found myself falling in love with the town along with her.

Samantha Young’s love of reading and books comes across in her writing very well and I was delighted to see that she’d included a book shop among the businesses that populate the boardwalk. Bookshop owner Emery was one of my favourite characters in this book and I hope Samantha tells her story one day too. There’s huge potential for many more books based around Hart’s Boardwalk and I can’t wait to read more so I was pleased to see that Inn owner Bailey’s story will be the focus of the next book in the series, Every Little Thing which will be out in March 2017.

With a good dose of mystery and a some seriously hot romance, The One Real Thing has a brilliant message that it’s never too late for a new beginning and I finished reading with a big smile on my face. This is a book that will appeal to romance lovers, fans of Nora Roberts and Gilmore Girls –  an excellent start to a new series!


The One Real Thing is out on Tuesday 6th September from Piatkus.

Find out more about Samantha and her writing at:

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