by Samantha Young
Series: Hart's Boardwalk #1
Published by Penguin Audio, PRH Audio Narrator: Angelica Lee, Tad Branson
Genres: contemporary, Romance, Steamy
Source: Publisher


THE ONE REAL THINGThe Hart’s Boardwalk Series  #1
By: Samantha Young Narrator: Tad Branson & Angelica Lee
PRHA Imprint: Penguin Audio
Genre: Fiction – Romance – Contemporary
Release Date: September 06, 2016 12 Hours and 28 Minutes

Audiofile provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

The New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street is back with the first in a sexy new romance series set in a small town on the Delaware coastline. 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…. – See more at:

My Take Oblong Shaped

I really liked the ON DUBLIN STREET series and Samantha Young’s standalone HERO, so I downloaded THE ONE REAL THING when it was offered as a review audiobook.

Young built ONE DUBLIN STREET on a close knit community, not a small town community.  In this case it’s a group of  merchants with businesses one the boardwalk in a popular seaside town.  It’s a great community, crowded in the summer and with only the locals in the off-season.

These are usually the ingredients for a great story.  But, it’s a re-alignment of characters and story-lines  from the ON DUBLIN STREET series.  In this a professional woman, a doctor, with a secret and terrible past, meets a bar owner with a terrible and obnoxious ex-wife.  The boardwalk community is much like the ON DUBLIN STREET gang. Crappy parents and absent fathers abound, there’s even a prison involved.

Maybe it’s the bar that throws me into an ON DUBLIN STREET (ODS) mood.  Whatever it was, though, that made ON DUBLIN STREET a unputdownable, binge-worthy book series, is just not there. Somehow the building blocks of a bar, an outsider and a group of welcoming people, just didn’t make it from the British Isles to Hartwell – it is as they say, lost in translation.

As in ODS Young glibly handles technicalities but at least she shows their existence. But it is also all too pat: jobs instantly and easily found as well as new friends being right there for the picking.

It’s also told in a first person read by Angelica Lee for Jessica, and a third-person reading by Tad Branson for Cooper’s character. Why the point of view changes is a mystery to me and I have noted it in two books this month. Is this a new thing?

Cooper and Jessica do find the time to traditionally date including a trip to the amusement park in town. It’s filled with all the typical rites of dating passage: he wins her a toy, they eat hot dogs, etc.

And, they make a cute, tension on the edge couple with instant chemistry. But the chemistry didn’t work for me otherwise.

One thing that is not cute is the contrived nature of Jessica’s big secret. It’s a “perfect storm” set-up.

I didn’t strongly dislike the story but I felt a certain antipathy for it, and having read ODS I know Jessica can do better.

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