Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
Piper Sheldon has quickly cemented herself as the writer within the Smartypants Romance universe who loves to re-tell some of our beloved stories. In her first two books of the Scorned Women Society series, we were treated to retellings of My Fair Lady (My Bare Lady) and Phantom of the Opera (The Treble with Men). These two have become two of my favorite books in the Smartypants Romance universe for the way in which they meld everything we love about Penny Reid’s Green Valley world and beloved stories from the past; you cannot help but be awed by the entwined nature of these books.
Enter Sheldon’s newest book, The One That I Want, a Smartypants allusion to Grease. In this book, we get the story of Roxanne “Roxy,” one of the members of the Scorned Women Society. Trying to move beyond her past, one riddled with poor choices, Roxy finds herself on the road to success as an event coordinator for Donner Lodge. Hoping for a promotion as proof that the control she’s carefully crafted into her life so as not to become like her past self, Roxy creates boundaries that don’t allow anyone in who could derail her. This story begins while she’s finished a conference in Denver. She decides to go out to a club to “let loose.” It is there where she meets Sheldon’s hero, Sanders. For these two, it is insta-attraction. Unfortunately, Sanders, while exceedingly handsome and charming, it is a bit impetuous, a thrill-seeker. Trying to keep control of her life, she allows herself a kiss and hand-holding but tells herself that she cannot do anything more even though she is wildly attracted to him. After saying good-bye, Sanders knows that he needs more of Roxy, and he makes choices to put himself in Green Valley at Donner Lodge where she works. Is a happy ending possible for Roxy or Sanders, or will she protect herself with her buttoned-down control?
Unlike the first two books, this book doesn’t follow as closely to its story of inspiration. Instead, it’s the spirit of Grease that finds its way into this book with two characters who undergo personal transformations in order to be together. As Sheldon does so well, we feel Roxy’s conflict and Sander’s pining. I will say that Roxy can be a bit much in her pursuit of control, but as is the case with all good romances, these two find their way.
While The One That I Want isn’t my favorite of Sheldon’s, it still reminds you of Sheldon’s genius at connecting our feelings of nostalgia for past stories with the world of Green Valley. Sanders reads like a sweet puppy dog of a guy, and you can’t help but root for him winning Roxy over and teaching her that balance is necessary to live an abundant life.
In love and romance,