About the Book:
Title: Secretly Yours
Author: Tessa Bailey
Series: A Vine Mess #1
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: Feb. 7, 2023
Publisher: Avon Books
Synopsis: Hallie Welch fell hard for Julian Vos at fourteen, after they almost kissed in the dark vineyards of his family’s winery. Now the prodigal hottie has returned to their small town. When Hallie is hired to revamp the gardens on the Vos estate, she wonders if she’ll finally get that smooch. But the grumpy professor isn’t the teenager she remembers and their polar opposite personalities clash spectacularly. One wine-fueled girls’ night later, Hallie can’t shake the sense that she did something reckless–and then she remembers the drunken secret admirer letter she left for Julian. Oh shit.
On sabbatical from his ivy league job, Julian plans to write a novel. But having Hallie gardening right outside his window is the ultimate distraction. She’s eccentric, chronically late, often literally covered in dirt–and so unbelievably beautiful, he can’t focus on anything else. Until he finds an anonymous letter sent by a woman from his past. Even as Julian wonders about this admirer, he’s sucked further into Hallie’s orbit. Like the flowers she plants all over town, Hallie is a burst of color in Julian’s gray-scale life. For a man who irons his socks and runs on tight schedules, her sunny chaotic energy makes zero sense. But there’s something so familiar about her… and her very presence is turning his world upside down.
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This was such a fun read! I love Hallie and Julian and all of their flaws and messes, and their romance is sweet and sexy and romantic. I love romances where the fun, chaotic character comes and ruffles up the ordered and buttoned up character. And then they both fall so hard that they don’t know which end is up. That’s Julian and Hallie.
Hallie and Julian are complete opposites. She is carefree, spontaneous, and a little messy, and he is controlled and structured. I loved them together! They have such fantastic grumpy/sunshine chemistry. He’s generally so in control, structured, and buttoned-up, but in the bedroom, he becomes someone else. Out of control, uninhibited, and passionate, Julian wants to connect with Hallie on every level – verbal, physical, and emotional. And the provocative and dirty things he says to her. Holy hotness!!! He brings dirty talk to a level that had me fanning myself. A hot professor with a dirty mouth and a love of plus-size women. Yes, please!
I also love how protective Julian becomes. He has no idea how deeply he feels for her, but his actions sure show how committed he is. He hates to see her unhappy, and he surprises himself in how strongly he reacts when he sees her being mistreated. I loved seeing him slowly let his walls down and embrace his feelings. I also like that Hallie begins to realize that her long-time crush is very different from the man Julian is now, and she loves him even more. They have a swoon-worthy and often comical and complicated love story filled with angst, longing, secret letters, adorable dogs, witty banter, and more.
I also liked the secondary relationships in the story. Hallie has a wonderful friendship with her friend Lavinia, and she begins a new friendship with Julian’s sister. Speaking of Julian’s sister, she, Julian, and their mother have a lot of family baggage to address. This story definitely sets up Julian’s sister’s story in the next book (I can’t wait!!!), and I’m excited to see how the Vos family evolves and changes.
Tessa Bailey books always make me so happy, and Secretly Yours is no exception. I loved it. It’s sexy, entertaining, and super charming, and there are so many sweet and humorous moments, but there are also some more serious themes introduced, including economic threats, grief, loss, mental health struggles, and more. It’s layered and romantic and fun, and I would definitely recommend it to romance readers.
Thanks so much to Avon Books for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The humor.
- The dogs.
Bumpier journeys lead to better destinations. You. Me. We’re the best destination of all.
You’re nothing short of breathtaking. Unique and beautiful and bold. And I’m a goddamn idiot if I ever made you feel otherwise.
She’s a rare spot of sunshine, and you’re committed to huddling in the shade.
I would recommend Secretly Yours to readers who enjoy:
- contemporary romance
- opposites attract
- anxiety rep
- great friendships
- slow burn