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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling 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.... 

©2016 Samantha Young (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Young has done it again. Sexy chemistry and gut-wrenching emotions kept me turning the pages!” (Kristen Proby, New York Times best-selling author)

What listeners say about The One Real Thing

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hello Doctor.

Ahh, I do love diving into a new series. I was waiting for more books to be out so I could binge. ;)
I adore Samantha’s work and I was expecting Scottish but it wasn’t I was pleasantly surprised.
Doc Jessica was a great main character her past being sooooo secretive got to be a little much but I get it. I still enjoyed her and the way she comes across I love that she befriends two of the women in town one who is so friendly but the coffee/bookstore owner who is terrifyingly shy surprised me and I loved this about Jessica she knew how to interact with both women. This helps her grow a family of sorts. I dug it.

Cooper cracked me up, this dude is looking for no strings and you can’t blame the guy his ex is a bag of NUTS lol. I loved the back and forth you could see the attraction from both of them and when they finally give in. Explosive.

We have to talk about how Samantha brings all these characters together and how she makes us love all the secondary characters so much we want MORE. Vaugh, I can’t wait for his book I am chomping at the bit here.

I loved the narration Angelica Lee does a great freaking job….Yep, I knew it she narrated Hero by Samantha Young to one of my favorites. Tad is newish to me, I know who he is and I like the way he narrated Cooper maybe because I listened at a higher speed maybe I missed some of the emotion I expected from him? I will have to slow down his chapters in the future to see if it was me.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Nice to hear from Samantha Young again

Samantha wrote an easy to follow, very hopeful and positive book about forgiveness and love.

I love the way that Samantha Young builds her stories and layers on subplots. Her "background characters" are always my favorite and it was no different in this book.

I had a hard time with the ending. It's hard to write why without giving up the plot but I can say that I thought there was a big to-do about nothing.

That being said, it's a Samantha Young book, therefore it's very well written and extremely entertaining!

Tad and Angelica are dream narrators. I have not one criticism to give them, excellent choice for this book!

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Intense Emotional Journey

I am probably one of the ONLY people who has never read/listened to On Dublin Street, Samantha Young's most famous novel. But this first edition of the Hart's Boardwalk Series piqued my interest, and I'm so glad it did.

Jessica is a doctor at a women's prison, a career she seems to thrive in. At least, in her own mind. When her coworker reminds her that she never takes any time off, Jessica plans a vacation to a spot not too far away in Hartwell. She books three weeks in a seaside inn and prepares to restore her inner peace. The homey, small-town atmosphere in Hartwell takes her by surprise, making her wonder if she is, really, happy in her job, or in her life.

Cooper owns the local pub on the Boardwalk, and from the very first time they lay eyes on each other, the sparks start to smolder. Neither of them is looking for anything long term--Cooper is still trying to get over finding his ex-wife in bed with his best friend. But fate has other plans.

I found this to be the whole package as far as contemporary romance goes. Great characterization, some mystery throughout, development of a relationship in a slow, believable manner, and some hot sex scenes. I totally enjoyed it, and will NOW be going on to listen to On Dublin Street.

As far as narration: I enjoyed the story being told by two narrators, male and female. It was interesting how Jessica's chapters were told in the first person, where Cooper's were told in third. Threw me a little at first, but the author kept us invested more in the heroine than the hero that way. My only criticism is that Angelica Lee, at least, in the mastering of this audio, had a slight lisp. I found that distracting and it took a while for me to ignore it.

I highly recommend this story to any true fan of full-length, contemporary romance.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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great book.

female narration was spot on but male voice sounded very different from the description of the rugged bartender he was narrating for. great story line! can't wait until the next book comes out. Already preordered!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

New Series, New TOV

Before you read this book, accept the fact that it is not the Dublin series.

It seems like Samantha Young has pulled in some similar themes but a new interesting set of characters. I'm definitely interested to see where she takes this series.

Worth the credit

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good but not nearly as good as On Dublin Street

I liked the story but it's not nearly as good as the Dublin street series. Her Scottish characters sound so exotic and interesting and this one felt a bit boring. I actually increased the speed just to get it over with. Parts of the story just didn't feel real to me. Maybe it's the fact that the characters were older and professional and I felt as they should be on a different stage in their life as portrayed in this story.
The narrators were good and made the dual POV work. In summary this story is good but not great. Nevertheless I will get the next book on the series because Bailey and Tremaine sound like they will be better than this original couple.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Eh

I found Jessica's inner dialogue is a bit whiny (contributed to by the narrator). It reminded me a bit of a valley girl, which game me an underlying feeling of annoyance throughout the story. Great sex scenes, but the plot was a bit weak. Jessica is supposed to be a competent, independent woman, but Young writes her as a woman incapacitated by a man she barely knows. Personally, I found that a bit sexist and irritating. Also, Jessica's big secret isn't that shocking to believe (as a reader), which made me even more annoyed with her that she took unreasonable lengths to hide it 🙄. I read the Dublin Street series and enjoyed it MUCH better than this book. To each their own, though!

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Worth the listen

The first book I read by this author was “on Dublin street” and it’s one of my favorite books. So I wanted to see what her other books are like and I picked this one. I enjoyed it and I really loved all the characters. It wasn’t as amazing as “ on Dublin street” but it was definitely worth the read plus it is not a predictable story so that was nice too. Kept me listening and guessing until the end. I also enjoyed the narrator.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Ugh...

I am SO frustrated by this one. I've read all of Samantha Young's On Dublin Street books, all of her stand alone's, all of her Play On series... This was such a frustrating story for me!

If you love a girl who's so determined to be a damn martyr, this story is for you!
If you enjoy a woman who's so unwilling to get off her cross because someone needs the wood, then this story is for you!
If you're anything like me, and wanted to strangle heroines with self-imposed victim hood, wishing the love interest would just drop said Heroine like a bad habit, then this book is NOT for you!
****Minor Spoilers****
I understand where Samantha was going with this. This was the first novel where both her heroine and love interest was in their 30's. I get the understanding that she was going for a more mature theme with this one, but it borderlines on juvenile themes from a mature adult's perspective. Jessica is stunted in her maturity. Intelligent, but totally immature. It took 11.5 hours just to find out what Jessica's issues were! Once she FINALLY tells Cooper, in Chapter 27, I was so annoyed with Jessica's issues, that I grew to hate her and her issues. Which is something I've NEVER experienced with Sam Young's heroines. Only to find out that she chose to maintain in a victim state over something that she should've been proud of and was so OBVIOUSLY self-defense was lack luster and didn't feel like the event fit the crime of martyrdom. Jessica confesses her and her sister saw therapists, but it obviously didn't help them, so there was no overcoming of said trauma. The fact that her parents tried to make Jessica responsible for her sister's own choices is horrifying, but again, that doesn't fit. Especially since the parents weren't around when both girls were younger, and certainly weren't around when they got older. So when did the parents solidify that what happened was Jessica's fault? It might be heartless of me, but this was a story that didn't advocate for women helping themselves and the tidbits of information, once revealed, didn't add up once I found out. In fact, it just pushes and advocates that women need to run, hide, never speak about their pain, or find healing. All of Jessica's choices for her life makes me feel like she'll never get over her need to be a victim and that Cooper was going to be her "fixer" if you will, instead of getting the professional help that she obviously needs. Cooper shouldn't be the "band-aid" on a woman that is obviously bleeding internally on an emotional level and a relationship that is build on that foundation won't withstand. It prevents one from facing your issues by demanding the other fill an emotional void they obviously cannot repair. It's almost too much to ask of a guy.

As for Cooper, I really wished that it was written from a first-person POV. I felt like I wanted to get more into his head than what a third-person POV provides. It almost gives him an unrealistic point of view that shows him from a perfect, God-like, perspective. I wanted to feel his thought process when dealing with Dana, Jack, and Devlin. I didn't want to be TOLD and third person just didn't give it to me.

I struggled with this story. There wasn't a hopeful ending for me because it just didn't end with realistic expectations. And I know she can write a tragic character like Shannon Mccloud in Echoes of Scotland Street, and not make her sit and marinate in her own misery. I'm currently debating if I want to go for Bailey's story because I found her so vile towards Vaughn and NO ONE ever tells her to stop talking to him like he's less than something on the bottom of her shoe. I'm aware they begin their romance in the second book, but I find that particular behavior entitled, judgmental, and overly excessive. And then I'm supposed to believe that a guy who is nice, is going to allow a woman to treat him like that? I don't think so.

Oh Samantha... please, for the love of all things Holy! Go back to stories that really are amazing! This series of characters is like petting a cat backwards. It's uncomfortable and agitating.

As for Tad and Angelica, they read fabulously and I have no qualms. I've listened to them both before. On that note, Tad is a great reader, but I couldn't get into Tad's narrations because of the POV choices which I explain above. That's not on Tad. He just read what was written.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great start to a new series.

A great start to a new series. It’s an emotional and sexy read. Loved the chemistry between Jessica and Cooper. Can’t wait to listen to the next in this series. Narration was good.