It Happened One Summer by: Tessa Bailey

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.


Content Warnings: Mention of grief/loss, death of a spouse, death of a child, death of a parent, and drowning.

I know I know I’m super late to reading this book and trust me, after finishing it, I regret that I didn’t read it sooner too. After hearing that Piper was inspired by Alexis Rose, from Schitt’s Creek, I knew that this was a book I needed to get my hands on. Already a fan of Tessa Bailey’s after reading the first two books in the Hot and Hammered series [I swear I keep meaning to get to book three 😅] I was already sure I would love this story.

Within the first few pages, I already knew that I was going to love Piper and want to fight for her. I love that from the start we were able to see her insecurities and fears even when she couldn’t really see them herself. And thanks to the duel narrative, although Brendan was definitely a bit prickly to start, he’s really just a big cinnamon roll.

This book is one of the many examples of why duel narrative is my absolute favorite type of romance novel. The story could never have been as beautiful as it was if we’d only seen one perspective. Being able to see, and hear all their inner monologues, feelings, and thoughts made this story beautiful and heartwarming.

I loved that we were able to see the little changes in Piper that connected her to Westport and its people. We were able to follow along and cheer as Piper finally started finding herself as well as learning to trust herself and finding strength in who she is. At the same time, we’re able to see Brendan realize that maybe he doesn’t have to be so stuck in his routine. Maybe it’s time to let certain habits go so that instead of living in the past he can finally be present and open to new experiences and a hope-filled future.

The way Tessa wrote Piper you could see, from the start, she’s desperate for a true connection. All Piper wants is someone who sees and value’s her for who she is but with the experiences she’s had she’s terrified of opening up and being rejected. If it hurts being rejected by people, who don’t even know you that well, you’re going to be scared to make deeper connections.

Although irritable and prickly at the start Brendan sees little glimpses of Piper’s compassion as well as her insecurities. He realizes he loves seeing her grow more confident in town and in herself and just wants to be there to help show her just how amazing, and special, she truly is.

I love seeing Piper and Brendan slowly drift closer and open up to each other. Though they’re from two very different worlds they find that together they’re the happiest they’ve ever been. Obstacles may come up but their love, and trust, for each other just might get them through it all.

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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