I want to kick something. This book didn't work at all, and the ending just cobbles together happy endings, that make zero sense when you read what has come before. I am all for happy endings in my romance books, but not with partners who come out of nowhere and or partners that have zero chemistry with the objects of their affection. I kept hoping Mansell would switch things up a bit and have Carmen and Nancy not do what is typical for these types of books, it just doesn't work.
"The One You Really Want" has best friends Nancy and Carmen dealing with Christmas and changes to their lives. Nancy expected that her husband was buying her some fancy jewelry, instead she gets the surprise of her life when she finds out he has been having an affair. Carmen is still grieving the death of her rock star husband, three years later. When her brother-in-law comes to visit (and stay) for the holidays, she finds she is not going to be able to shut the world away anymore.
I wish that Mansell had actually shown Nancy and Carmen hanging out solo more than she did. Instead we have Nancy working, dealing with her mother Rose, and crushing on Carmen's next door neighbor. I wish I had gotten a better sense of her character. She doesn't even care that her husband is cheating on her. She just pops smoke from Edinburgh to go and live with Carmen in her mansion in Chelsea. I don't know if I wanted her sobbing throughout the book, but she's not even grief stricken. And her mother and Carmen tell her how they never liked her husband anyway.
Carmen's story jumped all over the place. She has three love interests in this book and the first one fails miserably and the second is ruined because she lies about her history and how much money she has. It made no sense to me, and I felt annoyed about it. The worst for me is that Mansell has you rooting on one of these guys for most of the book, and throws a third person in the ring for her and it didn't work at all.
Carmen's brother-in-law Reenie did not read as realistic to me at all. He's a rockstar and has a new girl every day it seems, but it stretched realism that he was living with Carmen, Nancy, and Nancy's mom Rose and has zero friends it seems.
Nancy's mother Rose was okay, but not that exciting a character.
We also get the next door neighbor Conner and his 16 year old daughter Mia. I didn't really like Conner and thought him not actually standing up for his daughter more due to his BS relationship was eye-roll inducing. I didn't get why Nancy even liked this guy.
The setting of this book take place over Christmas. What's weird though is it doesn't read like a typical Christmas romance book. Also the book jumps ahead a few months here and there so I don't even know what month things ended on. It was summer I think.
The ending was a bit of a mess. We have Carmen deciding to start a relationship I didn't root for at all and then she fades away from the book. We switch to Nancy and she gets her totally not realistic happy ending too.
Winter Solstice / Yuletide (December 21): Read any book that takes place in December OR with ice or snow on the cover OR that revolves around the (summer or winter) equinox OR a collection of poetry by Hafez.