by Samantha Young
Series: Hart's Boardwalk #1
Release Date: September 6th 2016
Publisher: Berkley, Penguin Audio
Narrator: Tad Branson, Angelica Lee
Length: 12 hrs and 27 mins
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: Audiobook, Paperback
Find It: Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Audible
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 has a rather interesting profession as a doctor in a prison. A job that takes a lot of compassion and patience, which Jessica has both of. She is, however, hiding a secret that has her struggling with parts of her life. She stumbles upon a set of love letters written to a man in a small town called Hartwell. When she realizes that the author of the letters passed away before she was able to send these letters to her lover, Jessica decides to take a trip to Hartwell herself in search of this man to deliver these letters to their rightful owner.
Cooper is your typical broken adorable man, owner of a local bar, who’s broken and loved by every woman in the small town. (Yes, a bit cliche, but it didn’t bother me too much.) Cooper is moving on after his ex cheated on him, yet when he meets Jessica there’s an instant attraction that has him interested in getting to know her better.
“It’s never too late to change the road that you’re on.”
Jessica and Cooper, despite their attraction being instant, took their sweet time building their bond and starting a relationship together. I love this type of drawn-out romance where the anticipation is part of the fun. I was eager to see what would come of these two and how their relationship would work, if at all.
I had a bit of an issue with the back and forth between the two points of view in this book. Jessica’s POV was first person, while Cooper’s was third person. While I LOVE dual points of view, the switch between first and third is something that I find to be quite irritating. (This is just a personal pet peeve of mine, so don’t let it factor into your opinion of this book if you don’t mind that kind of thing. For me, it was just a bit irritating to get used to.)
My favorite thing about this book was honestly the secondary characters. I absolutely adored Bailey, the owner of a Bed and Breakfast that Jessica meets upon her arrival at Hartwell. I’m so excited for her book next!! I loved quite a few of the other characters as well, and I was surprised by how thoroughly Samantha Young was able to introduce us to this huge cast of characters without it feeling like overkill. I understand completely that writing the first book in a series like this must have quite a bit involved. It’s not only Jessica and Cooper that we’re introduced to, but an entire cast, plus a new location. I have a feeling that the additional books in this series will be even more awesome since they will be able to focus a bit more on certain characters.
Small town romances often turn out to be my absolute favorites. I love reading about quaint little towns where everyone knows everyone’s business. It’s so entertaining! I actually grew up in a rather small town myself (nothing quite AS small as Hartwell though) and I love finding these settings in romances. Samantha Young went a wonderful way with this one too creating a setting and group of characters and we’re instantly love. I’m definitely excited to see where this series goes from here!
A major plus for two narrators!! I often complain when books have two points of view and only one narrator, so I was very pleasantly surprised to see two narrators here. I enjoyed both of these narrators quite a bit, and I don’t have a single complaint about their performances. Again, as mentioned above, I struggled with Jessica’s POV being first person and Cooper’s being third, as this is quite annoying for me, especially in an audiobook. I constantly felt like during Cooper’s parts that he was talking about someone else, until I realized again that it was told in third person. Aside from that specific writing style that irks me, I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook!
Have you read The One Real Thing? Have you read Samantha Young’s other books? Which of her books is your favorite?