The One You Want – ARC review

The One You Want
by Jennifer Ryan
Release Date: July 5, 2022
Publisher:  Avon Books
Number of pages:  368
Kindle Edition
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Contemporary Romance
Ages 16 and up
CW: child abuse, cheating, harassment
Sometimes weddings bring the worst surprises… Growing up, Rose fled her family home–and a dangerous father–vowing never to return. But Rose is back in Carmel, California, with two goals: to joyfully act as maid of honor for her best-friend-forever Maggie and to reunite and rebuild her relationships with her mother and sister. And she can’t wait to finally meet the groom-to-be.

But when Maggie excitedly introduces her to Marc, Rose is horrified. He’s the man Rose spent one lust-fueled but disastrous night with a year ago. Rose and Maggie have shared every secret…but Rose isn’t sure she can reveal this one. To complicate the situation, Rose makes an instant connection with Gray, Marc’s best man and cousin.

And as the big day approaches, the secret weighs heavy upon Rose. It was a whirlwind courtship, but Maggie seems so sure she’s found the one she wants. Now Rose faces the biggest dilemma of her life: Should she tell Maggie and Gray the truth and risk losing them? What if it’s best to leave things alone? Then again, what if her friend is making the biggest mistake of her life? 

The genre of Women’s Fiction is always a mixed bag for me. I went into this story thinking it was women’s fiction because of the way it was marketed, with the words “a novel” on the cover. I love Jennifer Ryan so decided I would give it a go, even though I wasn’t really in the headspace to not have an HEA. I’m please to say that I actually think this story is contemporary romance and it did have an HEA. Although Rose had a lot to unpack when she arrived back at her childhood home, the central story really felt like it was the Rose/Gray story.

While I do love this author, she has a tendency to have a “big secret” in many of her books. And that is something I cannot stand. For the most part, she’s been pretty good with not having that secret drag through an entire story. Just when I was about over the secret here, Rose finally revealed it to those that needed to know.

If you, like me, read the blurb of this book and wondered how the heck Rose never met her best friend’s fiancé yet, never fear. The author handles that issue in a way that is realistic and makes sense for two busy young women. What I like about that other than not having to do the whole suspending my disbelief thing is it also helped to show how manipulative an abuser can be. Whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, or any other type of abuse, the abuser is always a master at manipulating.

Gray is wonderful. So is Rose, for that matter. I wasn’t crazy about Gray keeping things about Marc from Rose, but I understood. And he really tried to give her as much information as possible. Rose really tried to give Marc the benefit of the doubt throughout everything that happened. Her main goal was to protect her best friend, she also just wanted Maggie to be happy. Rose knew that just because she wouldn’t be happy with a particular person or situation it didn’t mean that wasn’t what Maggie wanted and needed.

The story with Rose’s family was almost a side story although it is very heavy. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, I think the author did the right thing of not having the family issues drag the rest of the story too low. The reader gets the emotions, the woe, and the pay-off without having every disturbing detail.

4 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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