If you’re looking for a summer read, a hot and steamy romance, this is the book for you!
I’m talking about “It Happened One Summer”, by Tessa Bailey.
This book is the first part of a series! You can read it stand alone, of course, but I argue that the second book is even better and you are missing out! Check out the review for the second book as well, here.
We meet Piper Bellinger, our heroine of the novel, in the middle of a party, being dumped by her then three weeks boyfriend. She is 28 and realizes this had been her longest relationship yet. Three weeks! Her breakup is all the more difficult as she thinks about how lately she is one of the oldest women at every party she’d recently been.
This was Piper’s career. Partying. Being seen. Holding up the occasional teeth-whitening product and getting a few dollars for it. Not that she needed the money. At least, she didn’t think so. Everything she owned came from the swipe of a credit card, and it was a mystery what happened after that. She assumed the bill went to her stepfather’s email or something?“It Happened One Summer”, by Tessa Bailey
Basically we get she is very much above the mortal world, in her riches cloud, completely out of touch with reality.
The way she thinks about everything…we can’t help to empathize with her, while also judging her. It is an interesting combination that, very rarely achieved by an author. Her first portrayal, our first impression of her, is made by her thoughts “Chin up, woman” and what she says “I can’t believe you’re throwing it all away like this. We’ve been through so much” – She is talking to the guy that dumped her. It had been only 3 weeks – what can they have possibly been through in just 3 weeks?! This is precisely what I’m talking about – I like her and I also can’t help myself in judging her.
After this lovely introduction, after her brake-up is complete, she decides to throw an immense party by breaking into a hotel pool and inviting all her online followers to join. This is obviously very dumb and she is sent to jail, turning into the last drop of her stepfather’s patience. He decides a punishment is in order, one that would wake her up, bring her feet on the ground, help her make something of herself.
This is how she ends up in Westport, a small fishermen’s town, her biological father’s home town. To help her on her journey, her sister, Hannah, tags along. Here, she is supposed to take ownership of her father’s legacy, a bar and thus endure her life on a small budget for at least 3 months.
What she discovers arriving in Westport is that the bar is dump that produces no money, that she and her sister have nowhere to live and have to make do with the abandoned apartment above the bar, all the while not being able to cook or have any survival skills on their own whatsoever. To top it off, Piper meets Brandon Taggart, who is apparently married, but causes a deep impression on her.
What I Loved and Hated
What I loved in this book more than in other romance books is Piper’s evolution. We start by considering her shallow, even stupid. Piper herself has a low opinion on herself, brought on by her lack of meaningful relationships. Other than her sister, she has no real friends. The relationship with her mother is terrible, given that her mother hides major things from her. The relationship with her stepfather is also almost non existent, as Piper is a constant disappointment for him.
In this new town, she contemplates how empty her existence was and proceeds on remedying that. She renounces posting on Instagram and starts forging real, meaningful relationships with those around her. She falls in love with a Brandon, a man who is truly thoughtful and who helps her overcome her insecurities. She gets out of her comfort zone with everything she does and is willing to get to know the town and experience life more.
This evolution is so impressive and built so gradually, I loved it! By the end of the book she is a completely different person!
Of course, the romance is hot as well and the imagery of the town and the life there where dreamy. The portrayal of Brandon is perfect. I loved his passion for the sea! His story makes him a well rounded, relatable character and his falling in love is epic.
All in all, this was a perfect read! There isn’t anything I would change about it!
P.S. Be aware that the book contains very explicit sexual language!
You may also be interested in the second part of this book:
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