Secretly Yours

- Tessa Bailey


A steamy new rom-com about a starchy professor and the bubbly neighbor he clashes with at every turn...

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.



Hallie Welch tipped down one corner of the comics section and peered across Grapevine Way, her stomach sinking when yet another group of locals bypassed Corked, her favorite, sleepy little wineshop, in favor of UNCORKED - the new, flashy monstrosity next door that advertised hot sauce and wine pairings in the window.


meh, nothing special:

It makes me sad to admit that Secretly Yours was probably more bad than good. I fell hard for the Bellinger Sisters series, especially Hook, Line, and Sinker, so it’s hard to drop a little on the Bailey admiration scale after finishing Secretly Yours.

The entire premise is so convoluted it hurts my brain. In what world would these adult humans write anonymous letters to address their feelings and then not figure out who the secret admirer is based solely on how closely the letters align with their in-person conversations? It was so forced, all to support the neverending miscommunication tropes, and I was so over it. Does anyone actually like the miscommunication trope? Is there a whole fandom out there I don’t know about?

You probably won't be disappointed if you’re looking for a solid, smutty romance. If nothing else, Bailey writes damn good spice. It could’ve done without the female protagonist needing to be a virgin who saved herself for her unrequited love while still being a highly sexual person when they finally get together, but that may be a personal preference. Where Julian fails to communicate in the day-to-day, he more than makes up for it once he’s turned on. Bailey walked the line between dominating and needy incredibly well, which was the best part of this book.

I can’t get over how boring Secretly Yours was outside of the spice. Admittedly, once it starts, the spice takes up most of the story but doesn’t actually add to the narrative. We get these hints of things going on in the background (wine store rivalries, failing vineyards, estranged parents, baker best friends with overly rude husbands, chaotic lifestyles), but nothing is ever actually addressed. There’s no complexity, very little context or development, and most of the background noise is never resolved.

I mean, a few business cards are hardly enough to save a business, but it’s the impression we’re left with. You expect me to believe Uncorked didn’t put up a fight? The owner/manager was so over-the-top rude and needlessly cruel that it seems unlikely they just packed up and left.

With the lack of development and the slow pace, Secretly Yours is less light and fun and more dull and unlikely.




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