Sunday, July 11, 2021

Review: It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
Series: Bellinger Sisters, Book 1
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
It Happened One Summer cover
ISBN: 9780063045651
Release Date: July 13, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar... in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart.

It Happened One Summer is a fast-paced and incredibly fun romance that will draw you in on page one and not let go. If you loved Schitt’s Creek you’ll recognize Alexis Rose as the inspiration for Piper. However, you don’t have to be a fan of a show to enjoy this story of a party princess landing herself in hot water then finding her true self far from the life she knows.

It’s impossible not to love Piper. She has a personality that sparkles and draws you in. Has she grown up a pampered LA princess and is spending her life partying and taking Instagram pics? Yes. But she’s kindhearted and she always means well and her sunniness and general likeability draws people to her. Getting out of her comfort zone gives her a chance to grow and find out who she truly is. Is she the party girl who loves shopping and attention? Absolutely. But that’s not all she is. I loved that Tessa Bailey didn’t knock Piper down for loving flash and glamour – there’s nothing wrong with it. And I loved watching Piper become something more. She’s been told that she’s an airhead, that there are a million girls like her, that she’s shallow and there’s nothing more to her, and so on, but that’s just not true. Her perseverance after being uprooted is something to admire and she’s just so nice I loved watching her find her place in Westport. She connects with her father’s world in ways that are delightful but I won’t spoil for the readers. Part of the joy of the story is just following Piper on her unexpected journey.

As for Brendan…oh, the grumpy fisherman with a heart of gold made me smile. He’s a widower who is stuck in his routines. That’s good when he’s on the water; he’s a captain and his men’s lives are in his hands in a dangerous profession. But on land he needs to be shaken out of his rut and that’s exactly what Piper does. Like Piper, Brendan is more than what he thinks he is and I liked watching him break out of his mold. On paper the two of them shouldn’t work but that’s what makes their romance so fun. The unlikely pair fit together extremely well. Their dynamic sparkles, their love story kept me reading late into the night, and the steaminess is off the charts. There are so many cute Piper/Brendan moments in this story I wish I could talk about but I feel like it will spoil readers’ enjoyment by revealing them. Suffice it to say they are a dynamite pair.

It Happened One Summer is a delight from beginning to end. I loved the way Bailey blends sweetness and spice, then rounds it all off with a dose of humor. The emotional moments have impact and feel earned and I finished the book with a smile on my face. I cannot wait to return to Westport to see Piper’s sister, Hannah, fall in love.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.