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Hart's Boardwalk #4

The Truest Thing

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New York Times Bestselling Author Samantha Young returns to Hart's Boardwalk in this emotional new story about taking chances and finding redemption...

Nine years ago, Emery Saunders moved to Hartwell to start her life over as a bookstore owner. Her inability to trust people made it hard for her to find a place in the small community until Jessica Lawson moved to town and befriended the shy beauty.

But there was one person in Hartwell who tried to befriend Emery long before Jessica arrived...

Jack Devlin has his secrets. One of them is that he fell hard for Emery the moment she appeared in Hartwell. Another is that his father blackmailed him into covering up a dark family tragedy. It forced Jack to sever his relationships to protect the people he cared about. Yet, staying away from Emery has not been easy throughout the years and he hasn't always succeeded. When Jack's mixed signals hurt Emery once again, she puts him out of her heart for good.

Until the Devlin family secret is finally revealed, freeing Jack from his father's machinations. What Jack wants more than anything is to repair his relationships, starting with Emery.

However, Emery isn't ready to forgive and Jack's not ready to give up.

And when the town's latest scandal ties Jack and Emery together, Jack is not above using their new reality to prove to Emery once and for all that their love is worthy of the legend of Hart's Boardwalk.

392 pages, Paperback

First published August 18, 2020

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About the author

Samantha Young

123 books25.3k followers
Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She's been nominated for several Goodreads Choice Awards. Samantha writes adult contemporary and paranormal romance, YA urban fantasy and YA contemporary fiction and is currently published in 31 countries.
She resides in Scotland.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 428 reviews
Profile Image for Beatrice Masaluñga.
1,137 reviews1,662 followers
August 21, 2020
ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.

It takes a while to collect my thoughts on how much I love The Truest Thing. I've a read a lot of romance stories that stirred my heart and soul and this book will forever be close to my heart. At two o'clock in the morning, I have a book hangover and I don't know what to read next.

Among the heroines in Hartwell Boardwalk series, Emery Saunders is my favorite and I'm DYING to read her story ever since this series began. She's a bookstore cafe owner and Bailey's opposite -- introvert, shy and awkward. People don't know how to interact with her because she's a conservative and quiet woman. Behind the shyness is a lonely lady who grew up in a wealthy family but she neither feels the love and affection from them. Moving to Hartwell is a fresh start until she meets Jack Devlin, the guy whom she had a crush on.

Everyone thinks Jack Devlin is bad news. His family has a horrible reputation in town for all the shadiness, blackmailing and other antagonistic stuff they did. Admittedly, Jack made a lot of mistakes that torn bridges. That includes betraying his best friend, Cooper Lawson and hurting the woman he likes for nine years. He did it to protect the people he cared from his father and brothers. Something awful happened that forced him to work for his father and do the dirty deeds. He is an anti-hero and often misunderstood. Still, the guy has goodness in his heart especially for Emery.

Jack and Emery have a FANTASTIC character development. Once you get to know Emery, she is full of surprises. She's quite mysterious but she's fierce, classy and witty. I'm so proud of her being braver and more confident about herself. I love how she sees goodness in Jack and taught him a lot when it comes to forgiveness, love and trust. It's impossible to hate her. I love her so much and I'm emotional she found a family in Hartwell when her own kin failed her. I'll protect her at all cost.

As for Jack, my goodness. He's the sweetest! He's so head over heels with Emery and HE. HAD. TO. WORK. FOR. IT. He GROVELED to regain her trust. He's affectionate, attentive and patient. I'm living for the slowburn / crush-to-lovers romance stories like this. It's top tier and I can't stop fangirling! These characters had a rough journey and the epilogue is dreamlike. Beautiful and heartwarming. I SWOONED HARD.

Without a doubt, Samantha Young writes blissful and emotionally driven stories. She outdone herself with The Truest Thing and I couldn't ask for more. Years of waiting for this book is worthwhile.

My Playlist for The Truest Thing:
1. Sunrise - Norah Jones
2. Crush - Yuna ft. Usher
3. Terrified - Katharine McPhee ft. Zachary Levi
4. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
5. Come Inside of My Heart - IV of Spades
6. I Knew You Were Trouble - Taylor Swift
7. Unwell - Matchbox 20
8. The Reason - Hoobastank


Profile Image for Jo - •.★Reading Is My Bliss★.•.
2,395 reviews205 followers
August 22, 2020
What do we know about Jack Devlin? He is the son of Ian Devlin, probably the most disliked businessman in town. He used to be best friend’s with Cooper until he totally broke bro code in the worst way imaginable. He is known to be a player, never short of female attention. We have seen glimpses of the real Jack, the good things he has done that people don’t see. Above all of that, is the way he reacts to and looks at Emery, the shy bookstore owner.

Emery moved to town nine years ago, opening a bookstore that also serves coffee. Since moving to Hartwell, she has slowly found a wonderful circle of friendship with Jess, Bailey, Dahlia & Ivy and she could not have asked for a better ‘family.’ However, she is terribly shy and any interaction with men has her blushing like a lobster. Moreso with men she finds attractive. Men like Jack Devlin.

‘Every time he threw that sexy, wickedly boyish smile my way, I melted.’

I am happy to tell you that we finally get all the gritty details around what happened all those years ago that ended Jack and Cooper’s friendship. The version of Jack that Cooper knew is not the one people know now. In fact he is the complete opposite, living a life so far removed from what he even anticipated. However, there is a dark secret behind that which just shows the strength of Jack’s true character.

Jack has made so many sacrifices for the people who are dear to him, at the expense of his own happiness. There have been moments of light for him though, brought to him by ‘sunrise’ - his nickname for Emery. What people haven’t noticed is the connection between Jack and Emery. She is the woman he truly wants but can’t have. He knows this but every now and again he shares hidden moments with her. She probably knows more about him than anyone..

‘Someone saw through it all to the truth. And not just anyone. Emery. It was a relief that Jack didn’t want to feel.’

This story, for me, felt like it had two parts. The first half fills in the past 9 years and a major part of the plot with secondary characters is the main focus. In the second half is where Emery and Jack’s love story has the opportunity to develop. Emery knows that Jack is a good man, she sees him so differently to anyone else. She may be quite introverted but she has quite the backbone and her self worth is the reason she knows she cannot be with Jack.

Emery wants that epic love, with a man who puts her first and makes her feel like a priority. If Jack thinks he is that guy, he is sorely mistaken. Actions speak louder than words and his have not told a great story the last few years. She is happy to offer him friendship but there is nothing more than that for them. Jack is not on board with this and he wants to prove to Emery that he is a man she can count on to be her truest thing.

‘You are so fucking adorable,’ Jack said softly. Our eyes met and his turned smoky, and hot. ‘And beautiful. And kind. And naive. And wise. You’re every contradiction under the sun… and I can’t stop thinking about you.’

I have been anticipating this story since I read the second book in this series and it gave me everything I wanted and more. Honestly, so much happens it felt like this was 1,000 pages long but it was over before I was ready to let it go. Emery and Jack’s story was so worth the wait!

‘I feel like I’ve been left here to wait for you for nine years.’
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,020 reviews12k followers
August 21, 2020
She was pure temptation. He couldn’t have her. But, fuck, did he want her.

I adore all things Samantha Young and I've absolutely adored her Hart's Boardwalk series. But while I did ultimately enjoy this one, it certainly wasn't my favorite in the series.

Jack and Emery's story is not an easy one. It spans years and is riddled with dark secrets, betrayal, and pain. Emery was a character I wasn't sure that I'd love at first. She's painfully shy, timid, and blushes with a stiff wind. But there's just something about her that you can't help but click with. She's a very complex character with so many layers that get peeled back with each new chapter.

The second she sets foot in the small town and locks eyes with Jack, they have an indescribable connection. She's a young girl with plenty of secrets who struggles to make connections but with more years that she spends in the charming small town, the more that changes. She makes friends. She forms strong connection with the town and the people. But her connection with Jack only gets more and more complicated.

Jack is a tortured characters with some dark secrets in his past and some debilitating demons in his present. And while I liked him at first, that connection began to wane as the story progressed. While I understood (somewhat) the reasons for some of the decisions he made, I also hated them. I hated them so much that I had a hard time moving past them and struggled with how Emery could. Even though Emery does make him work for it in the end, some of these betrayals were almost too much for me. Their constant back and forth, I want her but I can't have her also became too much. It wore me out. There's just so much drama on top of drama happening here, that the relationship issues with these two became too much for me.

I feel conflicted because while I did have issues, I also enjoyed it. I loved Emery, and even though Jack wasn't perfect, he did have his incredible moments too. His feelings for Emery were so deep and there was so much emotion packed into this. I just could have done without some of the decisions with women he made. Le sigh.

While it wasn't my favorite in the series, it was still an enjoyable read. I do adore this series and look forward to more.

ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for ✰ Bianca ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰ .
2,150 reviews1,206 followers
August 18, 2020



Emery and Jack.

We all remember them.

She's the quiet and super shy coffee shop / book store owner billionaire heiress. And he is the son of the town's villain.

In the first part of the book we go back to when Emery arrived in town almost a decade ago. We see how she met Jack and how they kind of fell for each other instantly. But we also see how it's not really happening for them through the years. Jack is too deep into dirty business with his family and he doesn't want to drag Emery into it.

And then we're finally in the here and now ...

What will happen with Emery & Jack?
Will we get our happily ever after?



Finally Emery & Jack's story!

We were waiting for them to finally get their happily ever after for what seems like centuries!

And their story was beautiful!

But also so very heartbreaking and sad - especially in all the back-in-time moments. It was just never their time. Ugh. So sad. But now they can finally try it for reals - but destiny has some more obstacles available first. LOL. Poor Jemery. Emerack??? ☺

It takes them a long while to get that happily ever after - 9 years - but we'll get there!

And the reader has an amazing time watching them fight for that happy end!

I didn't really love-love the whole back and forth through the years. It was just too long. And then in the end I wanted them together so much faster, but they were still a bit too stupid to get it right.
I wanted to slap them both a few times. But I still loved reading this so much!

I love that this is a mature series. Those couples are all in their thirties .... we don't have any immature 21-year-olds running around. ☺

I also loved that we got to see all the other people in town again. And I SO need more stories for some of them - even the new generation. I see an amazing enemies-to-lovers story coming in 20 years!

Beautiful series!

THE TRUEST THING was a sweet & heartbreaking & sparky kinda-2nd-3rd-chance-love-story! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Jack - this one is MINE!

💜 💜

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Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,574 followers
August 17, 2020
<3 5 STARS <3

I spend my day on the beach reading this.It was sweet with the great amount of drama! Emery and Jack’s story is intense, emotional,sweet and heartwarming!I was so intrigued and excited to see how their story will unravel!

Emery is shy and sweet.Jack is protective, and it was hard for him what he went through, he wanted Emery from the beginning!I liked their moments together they were intense.They have a great banter!

I love this series and this one was exactly what I needed!


Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,828 reviews2,188 followers
September 27, 2020
While I ultimately liked this book, there's a part of me that's saying "I waited 4 years for THIS?".

Emery and Jack were a couple I wanted a book for since the first book in the series, and while I am glad Young wrote it, it felt all over the place and ultimately unsatisfying. There were great moments and some excellent steamy ones as well. I just found myself putting the book down and walking away for long periods of time.
Profile Image for MELISSA *Mel Reader*.
1,346 reviews1,419 followers
August 19, 2020
4 Stars!
(ARC provided by author)


Nine years ago Emery Saunders moved to the small tourist beach town called Hartwell in Delaware's Cape Region to start over and follow her dreams of opening up a bookstore cafe. For so long the quiet, shy bookworm was lonely as she tried to figure out where she fit in her community. Then she finds the people who accept her just as she is. She's grateful for the friendships she's made, but hasn't had luck in the romance department. The one man she found irresistible was also the black sheep of the town. Jack Devlin is gorgeous with the kindest eyes she's ever seen, but questionable character. She isn't quite sure what to think of him. He was a bit of a mystery, and full of mixed signals. She tires of the push and pull between them, and is done letting him toy with her emotions.


Jack Devlin's life is full of secrets, drama and chaos. He's tried to break away from his toxic family, but eventually gets sucked back in. The only bright spot in his life is Emery. She's sunshine and goodness. He wanted her from the moment he first laid eyes on her, but she could never be his. Through the years he's tried to stay away from her, and severed relationships to protect those he cares about most. That didn't change the fact she was still all he could see. As time passed it became harder to ignore his feelings. He hardly recognized the angry person he'd become, but when everything is out in the open will love conquer all? Can Jack convince Emery to trust him with her heart?


The Truest Thing, A Hart's Boardwalk novel by Samantha Young is an emotional, captivating friends to lovers romance full of angst, heartbreak, scandal, forgiveness, and love. A tortured hero and his beauty with trust issues. We follow their story from the past when they first meet all the way to the present as questions are answered, and secrets and truths are revealed. Their journey was rocky and full of obstacles, but beautiful. I really loved this couple and also the friendships in this series!


Profile Image for Izzie d.
4,062 reviews273 followers
August 19, 2020
First of all I recently found this author and I devoured her previous books in this series and another one but this one..... Grrrrr.

It's best to read the series in order as this book is about Jack and Emery and their story and events that lead to Jack being the person he is today happen in the previous books.

I got to say Jack is very dislikeable in the previous books he does some awful things.
In this book the author tries to redeem him, excusing his previous behaviour with lots of bad family history and angst.

He's not very likeable.

Emery is very shy but she think she loves Jack and several times they almost start things and then don't, during which time he kisses her on several occasions only then to be seen kissing a tourist or sleeping with another woman.

Emery says "I’d watched in painful longing as he made his way through a smorgasbord of female tourists".

So called Hero is a huge man-whore and he uses his charms to help his cause for thwarting his families schemes and this paints him as a baddy.

Emery came across to me as a weak heroine and she is a doormat.
Let's have him walk all over her and oh let's have him do it again and again.

He continues his man-whore ways and she isn't dating in all the years the story spans across.
I wished she'd have had at least some relationships, whether Jack witnessed it or not preferably for him to see her happy with someone else.

Pushing away from Hero. Push/pull constantly.
Each chapter is X amount of years previously until it comes up to present day.

Hero is seen kissing another woman, which the heroine witnesses and she sees him with his arm around a different woman.
There is local gossip of him with another woman at a hotel so although no intimate scenes other than the Hero and heroine, except for a passionate kiss.

I honestly almost gave up and if I'd realised the book was about him I may not have read it.

Some Hero's actions are beyond redemption, at least to get his HEA with the heroine.

There was also no condom used and it's never a good sign when you need to discuss STD testing.
"I feel like I’ve been left here to wait for you for nine years. And I know it’s not that simple,” she hurried to add. “I know you had your reasons and a part of me even understands them. But you’ve never prioritized me, Jack. And maybe you didn’t owe me that. But that’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a guy who hasn’t used other women to push me away, to remind me of what we’re not … so many women”—her eyes glistened with hurt that killed him—“that I had to ask Jessica to test me.”"

Dual POV.

Sorry to rate this one less starts but his behaviour really annoyed me.

Breadcrumbs dropped for future books in series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for AJ.
2,871 reviews932 followers
August 10, 2020
“She was his and he was hers, and he felt that deep in his fucking soul.”

5 stars!

Oh, so beautiful! A love story full of heartache, romance and so much swoon, this book sucked me in and didn’t let go, and I loved every heart-clutching moment of it!

Jack and Emery’s story has been building quietly through the series, and I dove into this book with so much excitement, desperate to see what would unfold between the shy, quiet bookstore owner and the bad-guy-with-a-heart who is so much more than what he seems. And this book was everything that I was hoping it would be!

This book takes us right back to the beginning where Jack and Emery first met. Before the events of the other books in the series, we get to see that first moment of connection, and follow them through the years as their lives twist and change and they keep sharing epic moments that may be brief but that mean so much. Things that were only ever hinted at, and that carry so much emotion that work to that shape a unique dynamic that is fascinating and frustrating, but beautifully heartfelt.

Jack and Emery care for each other so much, but due to circumstances beyond his control, he has had to keep his distance. Well, things have now changed, and Jack finds himself in a position to mend the wrongs from his past and reclaim his life.

He was thirty-eight years old and having to build a new life for himself, start over, and Emery Saunders was the one thing he wanted in his life more than anything.

It’s so freaking exciting and I was reading with this great sense of anticipation for all that was to come. It’s like we get to see Jack unveiled, and oh holy Lord, what an unveiling it is! Completely different from the man we though we knew, we finally get to the heart of this complex character who is, down to his soul, a good guy who is deeply protective of the people he cares about. From his ex-best-friend, Cooper, to the friends that he has wronged, he has a lot of amends to make, but his priority is to finally claim the woman that he has loved all along.

She was his and he was hers, and he felt that deep in his fucking soul.

Emery has changed and grown a lot throughout this series, and I loved getting to see those changes up close as we revisit her past and watch her become the woman that we now know. From a cripplingly shy almost-recluse, to a member of the girl-posse, she has secrets of her own and issues from the past that she’s dealing with, but she has a quiet strength about her that is wonderful to see. She has been there for Jack in ways that nobody knows about, and she’s put herself out there for him, but can she truly forgive him for the past, and is she ready for all that he is offering?

It’s a dramatic and somewhat angsty ride for these two as they figure it all out. There is some back and forth, and there’s a whole lot of emotion as they deal with their pasts, the reality of their present, and everything standing in the way of their future. I did get a bit frustrated, but their love story is beautifully written - I could feel the emotion between these two, and even though they have their difficulties, I loved seeing how drawn they are to each other, how deeply connected they are, and how much they clearly mean to each other. Their relationship is heartfelt and super passionate, and I adored Jack’s persistence in fighting for his girl. And I love how their story played out. Freaking swoooooooon!

“No matter what happens, there is nothing in this world that could tear me away from you. God, Emery, don’t you know by now that I fucking live for you? I don’t care what that says about me. It’s how I feel.”

And even with all of that swoon, one of my favourite parts of this book was watching Jack and Cooper reconnect. The relationship between these two had me in tears at one point, and seeing Jack slowly brought back into the fold was so incredibly special.

This book reads like the final in the series with closure provided for all of our couples , as well as some of the singles that we’ve met along the way, and an epilogue set years into the future which paints a beautifully happy ending that left me grinning madly and feeling immensely satisfied. I’m hoping it’s not the last we’ll see of this crew, but if it is, it’s a beautiful finish.

A fantastic read, I loved this book so much. 5 stars!

An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,019 reviews10.1k followers
August 31, 2020
It’s been a long time coming for Emery and Jack. When they were first introduced in the Hart’s Boardwalk series, I knew I need their romance asap. It’s been a few years, but The Truest Thing is finally here and it was just as angsty and tortured like I expected! Though book three, Things We Never Said, is still my favorite of the series, I’m so glad we get to read this much awaited story and would highly recommend it for longtime fans of the series.

Emery moved to the small boardwalk town of Hartwell nine years ago to open a bookstore/coffee shop. She was insanely shy around others and never made any friends, at least not until the heroine from book one moved in, but from the moment she met Jack, a local resident, there was something there between them. Unfortunately, the town player who never wanted to settle down and the new shy, awkward resident meant that neither could come forward and act on their chemistry. To make matters worse, a few years later Jack turned his back on his friends and the community to work with his evil, heartless father. But through it all, Emery saw who Jack was deep down and never stopped rooting for him.

Usually, this kind of dynamic – the town manwhore hero and the shy virgin heroine – doesn’t work for me. It’s not my favorite thing to read in romances, but somehow Samantha Young made it work. I never really hated Jack for all the hurtful things he did, though I do feel like he could’ve groveled a bit more to Emery. Emery didn’t come across as a pushover and I was rooting for her to find her inner strength and go after what she wanted. I enjoyed the way these two characters finally were able to be together, though it’s certainly not an easy road. The nine years they’ve known each other have been fraught with drama, hurt, and heartache, but we all know that Jack and Emery are everything to each other.

I love this cast of characters Samantha Young has created and am so sad to say goodbye to them. I love the small town community and the setting of Hartwell, which is brought to life through the author’s writing. For anyone who has been waiting for Emery and Jack, wait no more. It’s an angsty, emotional, and steamy final book to the series!
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,902 reviews635 followers
June 19, 2021
I am really torn about The Truest Thing. I really am. The writing is excellent as usual. This is something to be expected from Miss Young.

What really throw me off is the glaring loop holes on the plot. I usually can dismiss some silly loop hole in the romance book. Understanding because the authors need to heighten the drama/ plot.

Not in this case. The characters of Emiry is so confusing. She is a brave, shy, rich heroine. And yet she can not get her logical head playing part when Jack left her. She did not contacting him at all. And she started blaming game.

The plot is also have to many layers. I have to admit I am confuse focusing on which one.

Anyway, it has been a long day for me. Overall this is an OK book.

3 stars
Profile Image for Lu Bielefeld .
4,040 reviews446 followers
September 29, 2020
2 ⭐⭐ - Meh!

I don't know what to say! WTF!
Zero made one bad decision after another and turned his life into a mess.
He cheated on his best friend with his wife.
Zero joined his family in their dirty work.
Zero had sex with all the women who crossed his path, including the ones his father needed to get their dirty plans going.
Zero practically rubbed other women in Zeroine's face.
Zero pushed Zeroine out of his life on several occasions and always in a really humiliating way for Zeroine.
Zeroine looks at Zero from afar to date several women and have sex with them all over the years.
We are talking about 9 years.
Yes, nine years of waiting without her dating anyone. No sex for her.
All too humiliating for an adult woman to behave in that stupid way.
Zero did so many questionable things that I think he is unworthy of forgiveness.
I wonder why the authors don't make strong, determined heroines who don't accept shit from men who don't keep their pants zipped up. Or at least have an active sex life while waiting for Zero to decide.

And when Dana Kellerman came back to Hartwell from college and set her sights on Cooper, Jack tried to make his friend see sense. However, Coop couldn’t see past Dana’s beauty or that falsely sweet smile.

As for Jack, Iris had nothing but good to say. But she’d warned me that he was the town player and only “dated” tourists. He wasn’t for me.

Dana seemed satisfied. Too satisfied. Lately, she’d been a little too concerned about who Jack had in his bed. It worried him.

I did not like how Dana Lawson stared at Jack when she’d interrupted us in my store a few weeks ago. She’d looked at him with the possessiveness of a girlfriend, and that made me uneasy, considering she was his best friend’s wife.

That jealousy only grew as Jack handed Joey back to Cooper and slipped his arms around a woman I hadn’t even noticed. I didn’t recognize her. She was a tourist, a tall brunette with enormous boobs and a tiny waist. So that was his type.

Stephen Hawking once said the quietest people had the loudest minds. Jack suspected that of Emery. He suspected there was lots of fantastic stuff to discover about her.

Jack Devlin hadn’t shown up to take me on that date he’d promised. I’d sat on my porch swing overlooking the water, waiting. And waiting.

One Friday, a month after my talk with Iris, the news was all over town. Cooper Lawson had caught Jack and Dana having sex on his couch. I couldn’t process how the man who’d come to me for advice could then cheat on his best friend with his wife!

Some nights he closed his eyes and all he could see was the look on Cooper’s face when he walked into the house and caught Jack thrusting into Dana. He hadn’t even wanted her. But he’d taken what she offered and poured all his frustrations into hate sex.

He’d stood her up and then weeks later screwed his best friend’s wife. Jack turned to watch Emery walk away.

Jack’s gut twisted. He hadn’t spoken to her in two years. Two fucking years. But he’d kept an eye on her, and he did not like what he saw.

He’d hit him when he’d caught him with Dana. But it had been one punch. Not enough.

And I realized that for the longest time, I’d allowed myself to stay frozen in one place because I hadn’t quite let go of hope. Hope that one day Jack Devlin would reveal himself to me.

He was the one man I’d decided to trust in almost a decade, and once again, I’d chosen the wrong man. I knew that for a fact now. Jack was sleeping with Vanessa Hartwell. He was using her as part of his father’s manipulations to get his grasping paws on shares of Bailey’s inn.

Images of him with Vanessa at this very hotel filled my head and chilled my bones. Vaughn had caught them.

“Were you sleeping with her when you kissed me?” I had to ask. I had to know. He didn’t look at me. “Does it matter?”

Not only did Em hate him for sleeping with Vanessa, now she thought all their interactions over the years were just him fucking around with her.

Jack. Waiting at a burger stand with a petite brunette. I was hit with a wave of déjà vu. And sadness. And frustration.

Since the humiliating morning I’d offered myself to him on a platter and he’d refused, Jack had done as I’d asked and stayed far away.

I understand why you did and said the things you did. But I was left humiliated and rejected. Again. And it was clearly easy for you to forget me, as noted by the plethora of women you’ve been with throughout all this. “I don’t trust you with my heart. I’m sorry.”

You devastated my life. You think I cared in the end that she cheated on me? No. I cared that she cheated on me with you. That you betrayed me. And now I find out it was all to push me away, protect me? I don’t know if I get that. I don’t know if I ever will.”

Instead, I’d gotten knocked up by Jack Devlin. And I kind of hated him. I sobbed harder. Jessica tightened her hold on me. “Oh, Em, sweetie.” She choked up. “Talk to me. You have me so worried.”

Jack had left Hartwell. He’d left me. Without a word. Without a goodbye.

“Don’t make me stand by and watch you flirt with someone else.” I jerked my head away and glowered. “Why? You’ve done it to me for nine years.”

“But you kept hurting me, Jack, whether you meant it or not. The other women. Pushing me away. Vanessa. Abandoning me after we made love, hours after your father held me at gunpoint.”
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,419 reviews384 followers
August 18, 2020
Fans of this series have been waiting for this book, for Emery’s story in particular. She’s been a rather special side character, present in most of the previous books and I have needed to see her story in focus. Thus the joy at this precious landing on my kindle.

I liked the style of storytelling for THE TRUEST THING, it started nine years ago and edged its way through Emery and Jack’s hurtful dance around one another to the present time. It was frustrating, slow-burnish and traumatic all at once but I couldn’t put it down.

The best thing about this story for me, was Emery’s slow emergence from her shell, her shyness and beginning to form friendships to eventually standing up for herself. The female friendships in this group were great reading and felt real to me. There was a moment, a line from Cat that completely cracked me up.

“Dana Kellerman is a pile of shit frosted in diamonds.”

Jack on the other hand, I really struggled at times with him. He frustrated the heck out of me. Yeah, yeah, he had all the reasons but how Emery stayed the hopeful distance is beyond me. I came to a place of grudging acceptance with Jack but I never really liked him.

This series has been a favourite of mine and each book has delivered on story, couples to cheer for and a building groups of characters across Hart’s Boardwalk. THE TRUEST THING really did feature all the couples from the other books and I loved their involvement.

If you’ve not started this series, or you’re not up to date, get on that, so that you can read this final (I think) instalment.

Thank you to the author for the early review copy.

This review can be found on A Take From Two Cities Blog.
September 18, 2020
4 ⭐'s

This is the story I've been waiting for ever since we were first introduced to Jack...and it was everything I thought it would be even though I wish it would've been more.

I'm not really going to review the town, the relationships, etc., because this is book four and the last book and it would feel a little redundant. Also, I don't want to spoil anything for the prior books.

From the first book, I always felt that Jack and Emery would end up together so that was no surprise and I wasn't really surprised about anything else either. Well, that's not exactly true...I was surprised that Jack was a bit clueless at times when it came to Emery. I hated that he tended to run or stay away instead of staying and fighting.

The nine year time lapse really bothered me this time. Jack and Emery had so many chances and basically threw them to the wind. I did love how much stronger Emery became and to be fair, Jack had a lot to go through with his family first.

My favorite thing was Jack and Cooper. It made my heart happy at how sweet they were together. What a bromance!

The epilogue was pretty amazing as well. I loved getting updated on all the couples and the babies! Tyler and Tabby are too funny! I was a tad disappointed
Profile Image for Vilma.
602 reviews2,873 followers
September 2, 2020
With THE TRUEST THING, Samantha Young caps an incredible series with a sweeping finale that left me breathless.

This fourth and final installment in the Hart’s Boardwalk series is utterly perfect—a love story nine years in the making. We finally learn the truth behind Hartwell’s two-timing villain and how he fell hard and fast for a quiet bookstore owner. Their story is anything but straightforward, rather, it’s a twisted journey punctuated by deception and heartbreak, scarred by secrets which fester just beneath the surface.

Jack Devlin fell for Emery Saunders the first moment he saw her across Cooper’s Bar, and she too was smitten with him from the start. But the spark between them blew out almost as soon as it caught flame. Jack became Hartwell’s pariah not long after. He was the man who betrayed his best friend. The man who worked for an unscrupulous father everyone detested. But Jack had a secret which hijacked the life he intended and isolated him from those who once loved him.

Through the years, Emery saw a side to Jack no one knew about, but Jack, ever protecting those he loved most, hurt her time and time again. Once his big secret is revealed, however, Jack is finally free from his father’s machinations. Now, he must summon the courage to repair the relationships he may have irrevocably damaged, starting with the woman he’s loved for nearly a decade.

Set against the small, seaside town of Hartwell, these stories have roused to life so vividly. Stories about love, forgiveness and friendship. I’ve connected deeply with these characters, each who have longed for a second chance at love, a second chance at life. Jack and Emery’s romance was particularly moving—the push and pull between them, spanning years, intensified each moment to an unbearable fever pitch, making their happily ever after all the sweeter.

Young has penned something really special with this series. And this latest, well, it’s a wonderful, sweeping love story I couldn’t have loved more.
Profile Image for Rose.
514 reviews
August 21, 2020
I’ve never DNF’d a book at 3%... until now

Started this without really seeing reviews, got to 3 percent and wanted to reread the blurb, saw a friends review. And I refuse refuse refuse to read a book where the h is celibate for 9 years and watched the H be a manwhore.

It is 2020. Let me repeat, it is 2020. Even the SHYEST, most AWKWARD, WEIRDEST, most quirky people go on dates and have sex. So her being shy, isn’t an excuse. Her shyness is used as an excuse to adhere to current cultural norms which deems a woman a “slut” if she dares to enjoy sex (unless it’s with the hero of the book of course!).

I’ll say it again. It. Is. 2020.

I’ve read other books where the females have been celibate and men haven’t, and didn’t mind in those and would maybe remove 1 or half a star for it. But 9 years? 9 years of complete celibacy? That’s not even realistic ... I have 30 year old friends and not one has ever been through a 9 year celibacy.

Would the book have changed anything if she had 1-2 boyfriends and enjoyed sex ? Or is it that woman are deemed slutty and dirty for enjoying sex ? What would it have changed if she enjoyed sex and dated a bit with fellow shy cute men? All it would’ve done is sent a positive message about female sexuality and it would’ve been read / brought by more people. I know that my friends in good reads marked this as do not read because of this. What would it have changed if she dated a bit? Hmm?

Again, it’s a trope i dislike however didn’t mind in many books but given I know their backstory, i won’t read this book. There’s 2 ways I see this trope used, a way which maintains respect for both characters and I understand the choices , the second way is when it’s used to perpetuate current societal norms in which women must be pure and celibate whilst men can seek out sex freely. Unfortunately, this book (and again, given that I read previous books and know their history), was the latter. Because 9 years is too long.

It’s 2020 and it’s a woman’s right to enjoy sex as much as a man’s.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
411 reviews47 followers
Shelved as 'nope-nope-nope'
November 19, 2020

Surprise, surprise, pining celibate heroine while the hero gets to have his fun for NINE YEARS

I was interested in this one but want to know if heroine is celibate as that will turn me off, because in another book in this series Jack is seen walking out of womens hotel rooms. I am not into the whole I love you so much, but i have needs that need to be met. Over it, its 2020, thats enough!

If anyone knows please spoil me!
Profile Image for Cell.
517 reviews
August 20, 2020
Hated the H he is a crybaby who is suffering all the time and has to sleep with other women to help his friends and his Family out but of course the whole time he is so in love with the h but he still can get a boner for women he hates ………he calls this „hate fuck“pathetic . This Book was torture …H and h get together in the end of the book …the rest is pushing each other away and feeling miserable.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Seline.
493 reviews37 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
August 20, 2020
I was so excited to realize that this book came out because I’ve been waiting for this but to be honest I’m not feeling it at the moment. I’ll probably get back to this later.

DNF 45%
Profile Image for Jessica Morales-Lafaille.
692 reviews47 followers
August 20, 2020
I missed reading book 3 and was worried I will be lost. I definitely wasn't lost it went over what happened on the past.

We meet Emery a shy book store owner. Who is trying to hide her family history. She doesn't want people knowing she is rich.

To protect everyone Jack loved he had to hurt them so they won't want to be in his life. He had to make his father happy to protect his sister. He hated his father more and more each day passed.

Emery and Jack had a instant attraction from the day they met. He knew he couldn't be with her. She just couldn't understand why one minute he wants her and the next he pushes her away. He's hurt her so she doesn't know if she could trust him with her heart. I do love this series and how all the friends become a family.
Profile Image for Has.
18 reviews
May 12, 2021
I started reading Samantha Young books when I was 17 maybe? I truly fell in love with her On Dublin Series books and her young adult stuff is pretty good but I've got to say Hart's Boardwalk has just not clicked with me.

I loved that her characters are older but for fucks sake they really don't act like it!! They're so fucking angsty and immature. With the exception of Vaughn, I've hated all the male protagonist's in this series. They're so fucking toxic. So fucking gross. Willing to misuse their authority and power to fuck someone, shame women for having abortions or don't have motherly inclinations. Pit women against each other. Jesus fuck. And even though these women are supposed to be badasses they fucking shrivel -SHRIVEL- into these shells of women out of romance. It's not romantic to have to relive trauma for the sake of appeasing your man. It's not romantic to watch the man you love fuck a ton of women for NINE YEARS just for him to realize you are the one. It's not fucking romantic! To! Be! Driving! Drunk! To! Someone's! House! Becuase! They're! Fucked! Up! Over! You! And a lesson Samantha Young needs to learn- good sex doesn't equate to love. It just doesn't.

I could go on y'all. Jack is Trash with a capital T. Emery deserved so much better- in terms of man and story line.

Also don't even get me fucking started on the fact that every person of colour Young writes about is mixed and has been adopted or raised by someone else (Fall from India Place) because God forbid People of Colour just don't make good fucking parents but some hot ass kids. Yeah fuck no.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for ✰  BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰.
2,717 reviews12 followers
August 7, 2020
ARC received for an honest review

As with every trip back to Hartwell, I knew I was going to be happy, and said, and angry and frustrated.

Samantha Young did not disappoint there.

One thing Samantha Young goes, and does well, is give us a tale that is not rushed and insta. Her stories are told over a number of years, and leave the reader yearning for the characters to find their HEA.

Jack and Emery's decade long tale left me, most of the time, wanting to throw my reader across the room. When I wasn't frustrated and p'd off at Jack, I was wanting to give Emery a clip around the ears for how she treated Jack. Neither of them are faultless in this story, and as annoying as it was at times, it made me love the story more.

I loved the people of Hartwell, and was wonderful to find out more of the couples from the previous books (not going to lie, I still need to read one of the earlier books).

My big thing with this story (and my big bug bear in any tale) is communication. Talk to each other people! I know it was the plot device for The Truest Thing, but gah! It gives me the irrits, no matter who or what the reason - rant over.

I adore Sam Young and would read the Chinese takeaway menu if she wrote it and put it in front of me. I can't wait to see what she brings us next.

Smokin Hot Book Blog Email
Profile Image for Kinga Abi.
132 reviews8 followers
August 18, 2020
LOVED IT! and it got me like >

In The Truest Thing Samantha Young once again, managed to give us the perfect combination of emotional roller coaster, fun, laugh out loud moments, suspense, and examples of true friendship, all of it wrapped up in a beautiful love story with a bow on top.

I was looking forward to this one, because, for me, Emery Saunders and Jack Devlin were the most intriguing characters in this little town. She is the mysterious, beautiful but shy owner of a bookstore/coffee shop on the Hartwell Boardwalk. Jack is handsome, brooding, good guy turned bad, who had this air of sadness following him whenever he appeared. I was so curious about him, about his story, because he used to be Cooper's best friend, until he betrayed him, and with that also turned his back to his others friends, when he started to work to his a hole, conniving father. Well this book reveals it all.. and then some. It holds quite a few surprises, and I just loved how all the puzzle pieces fell into place.
Who knew, that while everyone was living their lives Jack and Emery had their own, little secret but OH MY GOODNESS SUCH HOT encounters. It was love at first sight for them. Their chemistry is palpable every time they meet. Jack just melted my heart. He has an intense presence, he is sexy and sweet in the same time. I loved the endearment he gave Emery. He made me swoon, and there were times when I really wanted to hug him, and times when he acted so stupid, I felt the greatest need to slap the stupid right out of him. lol. Of course, Emery turned out to be amazing under all that shyness, and it was wonderful to experience how she evolved, and blossomed thanks to Bailey, Jess, Dahlia, Ivy and even Jack's influence. She has the most original way of cursing, classy and lady like, but when she is mad you can also see that Bailey has rubbed off on her quite a bit, and it was a pretty great.
Another aspect I loved about it was the BONUS HEA of the two other characters from the bunch!
The friendship between all these characters is so awesome I wish I could pack my bags and move to Hartwell to be part of it.
The Truest Thing is now my favorite book in the Hart's Boardwalk series, right there on top with Every Little Thing, which is Bailey and Vaughn's story.

P.S. Joey OMG HE WAS THE CUTEST!!!! I really hope Cat's story is next! Pretty pleeeeease Sam!!!!

Here is a little taste>
"... he had the kindest eyes I'd ever seen. ... However, those kind eyes that could morph into a smoldering gaze..."
"Jack trusted his instincts. He knew he'd never meet a purer heart then the one that belonged to this beautiful woman."
"... You're perfect in all your perfection and imperfections. So You're still perfect."
"You make living worthwhile and if it had taken me ten, thirty, or fifty f*cking years to convince you to give me a shot, then that's how long I would've waited. There will never be another woman for me. Never. It wouldn't be fair to any woman to share my life with them, when I belong so completely to you."
Profile Image for Suzanne.
2,432 reviews40 followers
July 29, 2020
I have been DYING to get my hands on this book since Samantha Young announced we were finally getting Emery and Jack’s story. I can honestly say she does not disappoint with this one because I devoured it. I could not put it down. The twists and turns and the passion. It was absolutely everything for me. I have been intrigued by these two and their under currents since book one of this series. What we get with their book is such raw emotions between them and finally knowing why Jack did a lot of things the way he did. It was so heartbreaking. Especially for Emery. We get the build up leading to the now so you fully see why things happened and why these two have such a connection even though they would both deny it in a heartbeat till things implode with Jack’s family. It is raw, passionate, angsty, and so much more.
Honestly, this book is everything. The questions you have been wanting answers for are exposed. The push and pull between Jack and Emery is so intense that it is mind blowing. I have to say the one thing I love is the fact that Young can write in first and third person in a book and it flows seamlessly. I was blown away by it because I would have never thought to do something like that but Young pulls it off brilliantly! If you are a fan of the Hart’s Boardwalk series, you need this book in your life. You get tidbits of everyone in the previous books as well as everything you wanted and more for Jack and Emery. Hands down one of my top reads of 2020!
Profile Image for Meli  .
1,055 reviews186 followers
May 24, 2022
Seit neun Jahren ist Emery in Jack Devlin verliebt, aber er hat sich in dieser Zeit sehr verändert und so einige schlechte Entscheidungen getroffen. Es gab einige Momente zwischen ihnen, aber Jack hat Emery jedes Mal wieder von sich gestoßen.

Das erste Drittel des Buches sind die letzten neun Jahre im Schnelldurchlauf, mit kleinen und großen Zeitsprüngen, in denen anscheinend fast nichts passiert. Durch die Sprünge fand ich das erste Drittel einfach überhaupt nicht spannend. Man sieht dabei auch viel von den Geschichten der anderen Charaktere, die man schon aus den Vorgängern kennen könnte. Ich denke, wenn man diese nicht gelesen hat, kommt man auch mit, aber man wird da schon mit einer Menge Informationen bombardiert, die eben mehrere Jahre umfassen.

Nach dem trockenen ersten Drittel gefiel mir die Geschichte schon besser, aber ich fand Jack sehr anstrengend. Er ist ein Idiot, der zwar gute Absichten hat und alles für seine Familie tun würde, aber er versteht gar nicht, wie Emery sich fühlt, während er versucht, mit seinem eigenen Kram klarzukommen und ihr dabei immer wieder gemischte Signale sendet. Emery hingegen ist sehr schüchtern, ihr fällt es schwer, neue Leute kennenzulernen und Freunde zu finden und dann hat sie Gefühle für jemanden entwickelt - wo auch immer diese starken Gefühle plötzlich herkamen - der anscheinend erst kaum Zeit hatte und später dann kompliziertere Probleme, die ihn davon abhielten, Emery wirklich näher zu kommen. Abgesehen davon fand ich die Liebesgeschichte schon in Ordnung, besonders als Emery beginnt, sich für sich selbst einzusetzen, statt sich nur rumschubsen zu lassen. Das viele Hin und Her der beiden konnte mich aber nie so richtig überzeugen.

"The Truest Thing" ist schon eine ganz nette Liebesgeschichte, aber ich fand Jacks Verhalten zu anstrengend und das erste Drittel mit den ganzen Zeitsprüngen zu langweilig.
Profile Image for Natasha is a Book Junkie.
682 reviews7,439 followers
November 12, 2020
“You’re supposed to hate me. It’s for the best. But I hate that you hate me.”

At long last, Samantha Young takes us back to the quaint little coastal town of Hartwell, Delaware with a secret love story spanning a decade as two unlikely lovers discover they’re meant for each other. Book after book, this entire series has kept me spellbound with its colourful characters and the powerful bonds between them, but it seems like every story so far has been leading up to this one. We finally find out how the town’s shy bookstore owner ended up falling for the mysterious son of Hartwell’s most ruthless villain, and their story was not only profoundly moving and unexpected—it was also well worth the wait.

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