Sunday, February 12, 2023

Review: Secretly Yours by Tessa Bailey

Secretly Yours by Tessa Bailey
Series: A Vine Mess, Book 1
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Secretly Yours cover
ISBN: 9780063238985
Release Date: February 7, 2023
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Hallie Welch fell hard for Julian Vos at fourteen, after they almost kissed in the dark vineyards of his family’s winery. Now the prodigal hottie has returned to Napa Valley and when Hallie is hired to revamp the gardens on the Vos estate, she wonders if she'll finally get that smooch. But the grumpy professor isn’t the teenager she remembers and their polar opposite personalities clash spectacularly.

One wine-fueled girls’ night later, Hallie can’t shake the sense that she did something reckless—and then she remembers the drunken secret admirer letter she left for Julian. Oh shit.

On sabbatical from his ivy league job, Julian plans to write a novel. But having Hallie gardening right outside his window is the ultimate distraction. She’s eccentric, chronically late, often literally covered in dirt—and so unbelievably beautiful, he can’t focus on anything else. Until he finds an anonymous letter sent by a woman from his past.

Even as Julian wonders about this admirer, he’s sucked further into Hallie’s orbit. Like the flowers she plants all over town, Hallie is a burst of color in Julian’s grayscale life. For a man who irons his socks and runs on tight schedules, her sunny chaotic energy makes zero sense. But there’s something so familiar about her... and her very presence is turning his world upside down.
A professor bound by schedules and orderliness meets his match in a gardener who’s the essence of chaos and color in Secretly Yours. Julian is buttoned-up and reserved. He learned as a child to help his anxiety by using schedules but he’s taken it to the nth degree. I adored the stuffy professor who is both flummoxed and incredibly attracted to Hallie. Hallie took a bit longer to grow on me but she eventually did. She’s mourning the loss of her grandmother, who was her rock. Because she feels like she’s losing bits of her grandmother with every change, she becomes irresponsible and overly chaotic. She finds herself and her path, embracing her whirlwind self but maturing. And Julian learns to love letting go, to embrace the color that Hallie brings into his world. They both have journeys to take and I enjoyed watching them take them.

The romance was sweet and entertaining but not my favorite of Tessa Bailey’s. Hallie had such a huge crush on Julian from high school that she measured all other men against him for fifteen years. He, in turn, didn’t really know her nor did he remember her when they meet as adults. A combination of events leaves Hallie to one night drunkenly leave him a secret admirer love letter. I actually really liked what the love letters did but the initial setup just left me a bit indifferent. Still, by the end of the story I was rooting for Julian and Hallie and I loved where they ended up.

Secretly Yours kicks off the Vine Mess series and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Hallie and Julian’s family and friends. I definitely finished the book wanting to read about Julian’s sister, Natalie, who is also at a crossroads in her life. All in all, I thought Hallie and Julian’s book was an energetic and fun romance and it left me wanting more Vine Mess books.

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.