Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who is cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town… where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong.
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.
I realize I’m, like, 1 of only 3 people left on the planet who haven’t seen a single episode of Schitt’s Creek–the synopsis and author were enough to make me pick this one up. (OK, so it was really just Tessa Bailey. We all know I barely read past the first paragraph of any synopsis, if that.) I am so glad I did!
It Happened One Summer was absolutely fabulous! I have to admit, I was a bit concerned about Piper as a romantic heroine for the first part of the story–her airhead-ish attitude and total lack of life skills (I had to re-read the bit where she was lamenting the end of her three-week relationship–her longest on record!–to make sure I wasn’t misreading it. Surely she meant “years”? But no…) really had me worried. Could this heroine be saved?
The answer? Of course she could! Tessa Bailey is on the case!
It turned out all Piper needed was to be exiled for the summer to the town she was born in to live in the beyond decrepit apartment above the bar her (died when she was just 4 years old) father used to own to come into her own. With an assist from her sister Hannah, who voluntarily went into exile with her, and a small (? not sure how small it really was, since they didn’t run out of money by Labor Day and they tackled some pretty substantial projects while there) amount of funding from her stepfather–she comes into her own at last.
Piper and Brendan are just too cute, y’all. They start out fairly antagonistic–he’s sure she’s a ditz, she thinks he’s a major grump–but she quickly gets under his skin and he starts (grumpily!) doing things to help her and they become friends. Then they (slooooowly, he’s a widower and his in-laws aren’t ready to let their daughter go) move into a relationship and OMG, did I mention they are just too cute? Grumpy/sunshine pairing FTW!
(Can I just say–when he gets all ready to take on every person in her life who’s ever called her an airhead or made her feel as if she is expendable? I wanted to swoon!)
And, OK, the dark moment and grand gesture are a bit OTT, but it was still freaking adorable. Like the rest of this book. Only the fact that I was in public kept me from standing and cheering when I got to the HEA.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go start counting the days until Hannah’s book ( Hook, Line, and Sinker ) comes out…
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.