Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Thanks to Edelweiss+ and Avon books for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Piper Bellinger has a reputation and millions of followers on Instagram ready to tap the little heart icon on her newest post, but after the longest relationship of her life capped out at three weeks and she’s pushed aside for being an airheaded socialite, Piper pulls a stunt that lands her in jail and ultimately banished from LA to Westport, the small town where her father was born and became a local legend after his passing.
Now, Piper has to tough it out with her sister, who was kind enough to tag along, for three months in a town that smells like fish and is home to gruff men who brave the treacherous ocean for weeks at a time in search for crab and a large payday. All that and she has to learn to avoid and particularly grumpy but gorgeous sea captain who has Piper telling her deepest fears and emotions.
Just before she left her mother warned her against getting too close to the fishermen in Westport, but being such a small town and with Brendan’s commanding presence, is that even an option?
I must admit I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of Schitt’s Creek, the series that inspired this book, but that didn’t matter because these characters are all their own and I quickly grew attached to each and every one of them.
This isn’t my first Tessa Bailey, I’ve read four other strictly romance books by her and this one was categorized as Women’s Fiction which usually gives me pause because there’s almost always a very sad subplot and at times we don’t get a HEA in the traditional sense. I can say this is not the case with It Happened One Summer.
Piper is put through the wringer in the first chunk of the book and she learns a lot about herself and her roots in Westport. I really enjoyed watching her grow and finally figure out what she wanted and what she deserved away from the fake friends and shallow minds in LA.
Brendan’s journey was similarly enjoyable as a widower that is stuck in his routine as Piper’s fiery nature and unpredictability brings him out of his shell in many ways and gives him appreciation for life and love, a place where he had only been going through the motions.
When it comes to romance and series in particular I really judge the book by the supporting characters because they are the ones that are going to be carrying the next installment and I have to say that I adore Piper’s sister Hannah and her passion. I can’t wait to read her story which is really saying something.
I really feel like Tessa Bailey is growing as a writer, the same alpha/possessive male is present as with every other book I’ve read by her but Brendan is also kind and gentle, looking to lift Piper up above all. She’s learning to strike that balance which sets the men apart from each other.