Recommended Read, Review

Review: It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey (2021)

Heat Factor: It’s a slow-but-steady scorcher.

Character Chemistry: Folks…we have a classic Grumpy/Sunshine on our hands!!!

Plot: Piper tries to wrest control of her breakup narrative in a way that lands her in jail…so her wealthy stepfather sends her and her sister to the town they were born in, where they are meant to live in the bar apartment they inherited from their father for three months to SHAPE UP, and there she meets Brendan, the cranky sea captain who stole my heart. I mean, her heart.

Overall: Obsessed. This book was such a solid read, and so enjoyable…


I’m telling you, this book just starts out fresh from the jump. It opens with Piper’s breakup—which, let’s be honest, introduces us to our heroine at a real low point and it does NOT represent her in the best light…and I loved it. She comes across as shallow but beneath it is some real pain and insecurity—she’s almost brittle as she’s being publicly dumped by a self-absorbed two-dimensional man. It’s a real mess. So she convinces 200 people to break into a hotel pool and gets herself arrested in a ball gown, as one does. Naturally.

So Piper and her sister Hannah get shipped off to their almost-forgotten hometown. Their father was a fisherman who was lost at sea, and their mother was so heartbroken she ran off to LA with her two daughters and ended up falling in love with a super successful movie man. 

It’s in their father’s bar/apartment the girls meet Brendan Taggart, who is, just…one of the juiciest, foxiest, grumpiest heroes I’ve read in a long time. This guy is CRANKY. He only ever orders the same thing at restaurants. He handles issues immediately and does not understand why you wouldn’t, too. The man takes inventory of everything. I tell you, when he threatened to fire his crew for suggesting sassy instagram usernames, I nearly swooned. 

As one might expect, Piper very quickly discovers that she’s been ignoring really huge holes in her life that are threatening to swallow her up. She dates men that make her feel bad about herself, and she prioritizes choices that manipulate how she appears to other people over those that are actually fulfilling. And ultimately, it becomes clear that she really doesn’t know WHAT is fulfilling to her. 

And of course, Brendan is stuck in a pretty deep rut. He’s still grieving the loss of his wife, living the same days over and over again and staying ultimately focused on what has to be done instead of considering what could happen if he stepped out of his usual routine.

Part of the allure here is that Brendan woos Piper by just getting. things. done. She keeps banging her head on the bunk bed? He sends over a handyman to fix it. She needs a tree torn down? Brendan quietly shows up with a few guys and tears it out. Piper is horribly embarrassed by crashing a memorial service? Brendan quietly helps her find her humor again. It’s just dreamy. Swoon. The guy knows what he wants, and he wants Piper. It’s really that simple.

Ultimately this is a surprisingly sensitive read, with depth of character and a deeply satisfying plot. If you need a palate cleanser, this is the one—it’s wholesome, funny, and it just plain feels good. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.


Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop


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