Don’t let the cutesy cover fool you. “It Happened One Summer,” Tessa Bailey’s newest book brings the heat with several swoon-worthy sex scenes and contains some of the most blush-inducing dirty talk I’ve read in a contemporary romance recently. This was a fun and sweet book that I couldn’t put down and I highly recommend it.
When I heard this book being described as “Schitt’s Creek” inspired, I knew I had to read it. The fact that it has one of my favorite romance novel tropes, commonly known as Grump/Sunshine was an added bonus. The story hooked me from the start but I was worried because I didn’t like Piper at all in the beginning. Part of this was by design as she is a rich, spoiled girl but I thought her actions and attitude were too over the top and I struggled to find anything likable about her. It wasn’t until she arrived in Westport that I started to like her and as soon as Brendan was introduced, and the two met, I couldn’t put this book down. I was hooked. Brendan is the perfect romance novel grump: prickly, brooding, sexy, kind, and attentive. He says what he means and knows what he wants, except when it comes to love, of course. While Piper and Brendan can’t stand each other at first, the animosity comes more from the misconceptions they both have about each other than outright dislike or hatred. The chemistry is there and Bailey does a great job in building up the sexual tension so that when they give into their attraction, it’s believable and extremely hot. I can’t remember the last romance novel I read where I believed the love story as much as I did in this book and there was a surprising amount of emotional depth to the characters which made their relationship realistic. Even the side characters, Piper’s sister Hannah and Brendan’s friend Fox, are fully realized and believable and add to the story instead of feeling like they are just extras in the background. What kept this book from getting five stars was the somewhat contrived last act obstacle that Bailey has Piper and Brendan deal with. I know this is common in romance novels but it felt forced in what was a fairly realistic romance to that point.
I truly loved this book, even more than I thought I would. The relationship was realistic, the romance was hot, and the writing was fun. It was a perfect summer read with laughs throughout and low angst. Tessa Bailey has become a must read author for me and I can’t wait for the second book in this series featuring Hannah and Fox. I hope you’ll like this one as much as I did!
Favorite Quote: “He’d ridiculed her at the outset. Now he wanted to fight off anything that made her sad.”
Author: Tessa Bailey
Published: July 13th, 2021
Rating: 4.5 Stars