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The One is the book you have to read if you love reality television.

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If you’re looking for a book you can devour in one sitting, we’ve found The One.

The debut novel by Aussie TV scriptwriter Kaneana May (All Saints, Home and Away), The One is exactly the kind of book you’ll love if you’ve grown up on a healthy diet of reality TV, romances and rose ceremonies.

At first glance, it’s a little Bridget Jones meets The Bachelor, because it’s about the love lives of three women set behind the scenes of a reality TV dating show. A bit like UnReal.

There’s Bonnie Yates, who desperately wants a happily ever after. Sadly for her, that at times overwhelming desire means she keeps choosing the wrong men. Well, one man in particular, whom, quite obviously to the rest of us, is not her one.

But he’s definitely some fun.

Then there’s Darcy Reed, an ambitious television producer, working on a reality dating program that Bonnie decides to join. The show is all about romance and finding ‘the one’ (sound familiar?) but at home, Darcy has her happily ever after.

That is, until she doesn’t.

And then, a little unexpectedly, in between Bonnie and Darcy’s lives, there is Penny Baker.

While the other women have almost too many people in their lives, Penny is seeking a much more solitary existence… for a reason which slowly becomes clear as the novel unfolds.

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have ‘the one’ waiting for her… and the reader won’t guess who he is.

The One is much more than just a romance novel, or ‘chick lit’ as it’s often categorised, because May has written characters who are smart and just a little flawed. They feel like they’re living and breathing, and even though the overall tone of May’s writing is light, she never shies away from her character’s challenges and complexities.

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While tempting the reader with familiar themes, May keeps us turning the page with just enough doubt and wonder to stay engaged. I realised I was halfway through, lying in bed, and that was the first time I’d picked it up – the very essence of a page turner.

From a slow-burn love story to a couple of love triangles to an unexpected mystery, there’s a lot packed into this novel. And, as one would hope, kissing and sex too.

But there’s also beautifully, sensitively executed moments that may bring a tear to your eye.

Like May herself, as a stay-at-home mother living in regional NSW, The One offers what feels familiar, but, much to the reader’s delight, delivers the unexpected.

The author may have worked in the script department of beloved Aussie television shows, but since then, she has spent much of her time at home with her children. That fact itself is a testament to May’s storytelling, as the world she’s created in The One is so removed from her current experience, yet feels absolutely real and current.

Which of course makes the publication of her book all the more exciting – especially to May, who has also worked as a teacher.

May is open in the book’s acknowledgements, and on social media, about the thrill of becoming a published author, and, I’ll be honest, her attitude is infectious – because reading the book, her investment in her work is obvious.

But even without that knowledge, The One is quite a ride.

So if you’re looking for a book you can’t put down, I highly recommend you try The One (pun intended) that was over too soon.

Kaneana May’s debut novel The One, published by Harlequin, will be on the bookshelves in July 2019. You can purchase it from Booktopia and Apple Books.

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