The One You Want by Jennifer Ryan, Vanessa Edwin (Narrator)

Published July 5th 2022 by Avon Books, Harlequin Audio

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The One You Want is a romance, but it is also a story of friendship, family, reconciliation and honesty. Rose has returned home to Carmel, California, a place she fled years ago to escape her abusive father, leaving her mother and her younger sister behind. He is gone now, but the damage she did to her relationship with her sister may not be able to be repaired. She returned home to be the maid of honor at her best friend, Maggie’s wedding. She is happy for her, until she meets the groom. She is horrified that he is Marc, the man she had a one-night stand with a few years ago, not knowing that he was involved with someone. She doesn’t trust him to be faithful to Maggie, especially when he asks her not to tell Maggie about their relationship. She is between a rock and a hard place, not wanting to hurt Maggie, but knowing she should tell her the truth. She’s also finds that she is very attracted to the Best Man, Gray, Marc’s cousin. Will she tell Maggie the truth? Will she be able to reconcile with her sister? Is what she is feeling for Gray something she wants to pursue? What will happen when she tells Gray the truth about her relationship with Marc?

This is a well written story with several themes and storylines, all involving Rose. Rose was a victim when she was younger and she made some bad decisions, but Maggie was always there for her. I loved their relationship and that they were still BFFs even with Maggie moving away. Rose and Poppy had a lot to get past. Rose never wanted to put Poppy in danger, but with her gone, it was bound to happen. Poppy was very angry, and had turned that anger inwards. I liked that Rose had therapy to get beyond what happened and that she encouraged Poppy to do the same. The abuse was never described, but you knew it had happened. The romance was love at first sight, but it was an attraction that was a friendship with chemistry and not a hop into bed one. The one thing I didn’t like about this book was how Rose kept putting off being honest with Maggie and Gray. You know it will not end well and there will be some major angst. I also didn’t like Marc, AT ALL! I know this was supposed to be how I would feel and I liked how Jennifer Ryan developed all the characters. This was an enjoyable story with secrets, mistakes, angst, abuse, reconciliation, friendship, family and romance. It is all put together in a well written and plotted story. Vanessa Edwin does a nice job with the narration making this an easy book to listen to and enjoy.

The White Girl by Tony Birch, Shareena Clanton (Narrator)

Published March 15, 2022 by HarperAudio

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Odette Brown, an aboriginal woman is raising her granddaughter Sissy. Sissy is a light skinned girl, born to Odette’s daughter, the father unknow, but probably white. They have survived under the radar, with Sissy going to school, visiting the small town and lying low for the most part. When Odette has to visit a doctor, she leaves Sissy home alone and she doesn’t follow her grandmother’s rules. She is now on the radar of the local authorities. You see, in the 1960s light skinned aboriginals were removed from their homes based on the Federal Aboriginal Protection Act. Can Odette get Sissy to safety before she is removed from their home and raised in a residential program?

This is a very emotional story for many reasons. First these protection acts that were enacted all over the world, did nothing but cause heartache, devastation and lasting mental health issues. Sissy was very happy and very well cared for, there was no reason for her to be removed from her home. The men who bullied and used their positions to do these horrendous things were awful and Tony Birch writes some great characters. There were also a lot of people willing to help Odette, but you have to wonder how many of these people were there to help the many families in this situation. If you are interested in history, human rights, racism and the plight of indigenous people, I recommend you pick up this well written book. The audiobook was narrated by Shareena Clanton. She does an excellent job developing voices for the characters and uses expression and tone to make this book come alive for me. I definitely recommend this audiobook.