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Review: It Happened One Summer, by Tessa Bailey

Boy am I glad I decided to just jump ship and start reading this book - it has salvaged my month of romance reads by not being terrible, and was also a helpful palate cleanser to alternate with Libertie (which I was reading at the same time and was difficult to digest in one setting, to say the least).

This is the story of Piper Bellinger, a rich Los Angeles socialite, whose stepfather exiles her to Westport, a fishing town in the Pacific Northwest, as punishment for a party that got a bit out of hand and ended up with a trashed hotel and Piper being arrested. While in Westport, Piper meets Brendan Taggart, a captain of a fishing village who has been widowed for seven years and his grumpy and gruff. Because this is a romance, you already know what happens.

As I mentioned in the intro, this romance wasn't terrible in the way the other romance books I attempted this month have been. It wasn't great, but I liked the story and the characters enough and I think Tessa Bailey did enough world-building to make me interested in the next book in this series, and to enjoy spending time in her characters' heads and relationships, and honestly that's just what I want my romance novels to be, you know? Places I enjoy existing in that aren't difficult or make my anxiety spike into overdrive (the novel I'm reading as I write this review is on-the-verge-of-apocalyptic climate change fiction and honestly thank goodness my GP put me back on my anti-anxiety medication or I would not be able to read it without going into a spiral. Was I supposed to spend the day reading about the Northern Ireland protocol and analysing its potential impact on family reunification under EU law in the UK post-Brexit? Yes, yes I was. Did I do that? No. It's the day after Thanksgiving. I'm hungover and useless) with some hot sex. And let me tell you, the sex was hot. And there was lots of it. That was enough for me to forgive the cringe-inducing, over the top, weirdly specific yet open to misconstruction dialogue.

The premise for the conflict that drives the two of them apart for the emotional impact in the last few chapters did make me quirk my eyebrow and go "Really, guys, this isn't that big a deal" but again it's okay. Good sex. A lot of it. Was the right read for a midnight train home from a very boozy dinner.

Right, this wasn't so much a review as a meandering thought experiment, but hey. What do you really come to this blog for anyway, I ask you?

My main takeaway from this novel is: it's fine as long as you only expect it to be middling, and it does exactly what you want or need from a middling romance novel. It's reignited my flagging interest in contemporary romances, and I'm looking forward to the next book in this series, and the sex was good, the premise was engaging if bonkers, and there is even some enjoyment in rolling your eyes at the overly wrought way the characters speak to each other.

Anyway, happy reading,

Amélie xx

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I’m Amélie, I love books and reading, and I also love talking about them.

I’m incredibly lucky to be bilingual, so I read books in both French and English, and will talk about both of those on here – although I will do more in English, since I know that’s probably what the majority of the people who ever find this blog will be interested in!

I also like history, traveling, Shakespeare, coffee, cheese, musicals, Italian Baroque art, the ballet, Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, flowers, makeup, high heels, and baking. Yes, I’m a walking cliché. I am aware.

Please do tweet at me with any suggestions/book recommendations/thoughts.

In case you’re curious – yes, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time.

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