Secretly yours A novel

Tessa Bailey

Book - 2023

"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 Napa 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 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 grey-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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Romance fiction
New York, NY : Avon, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers [2023]
Main Author
Tessa Bailey (author)
First edition
Physical Description
372 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Fifteen years ago, Hallie Welch almost kissed her teenage crush, Julian Vos, in his family's Napa Valley vineyard. It was a moment Hallie never forgot. Julian, however, apparently did. Now back in St. Helena on a professorial sabbatical to work on his first novel, Julian doesn't recognize Hallie one iota. So Hallie does what any self-respecting woman would do after sampling more than her fair share of Napa Valley's finest export, she pens Julian a secret-admirer letter. While Julian might be puzzled by the anonymous love note, what is really bothering him is his reaction to Hallie, who is completely throwing him off his strict writing routine. With her latest addictively readable rom-com, the cheeky humor and full-blown sexiness that are organic elements in all of Bailey's (Hook, Line, and Sinker, 2022) writing are in full, glorious bloom. The end result is a lushly sensual romance that brilliantly exploits the opposites-attract trope between a buttoned-up, by-the-book academic and a cheerfully chaotic Earth goddess-gardener for the maximum amount of love and laughter. Watch for the follow-up, Unfortunately Yours.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A haughty professor and a spirited gardener face off in this raunchy and enchanting rom-com from bestseller Bailey (My Killer Vacation). Small-town St. Helena, Calif., native Hallie Welch struggles to find her footing after her grandmother's death, toiling for the prestigious gardening business she inherited from her grandmother and drinking at her grandmother's favorite winery to stay grounded. When the estranged scion of local Vos Vineyards, Julian Vos, now a Stanford professor, returns to his family's estate, Hallie grapples with an entirely different set of emotions, spurred by the memory of their almost-kiss back in high school. Hallie eagerly offers her services to refurbish the Vos Vineyards' gardens, determined to reconnect with Julian. For Julian, however, his time at Vos Vineyards is strictly business; he's there to finish writing his novel without interruption. But as the vibrant, chaotic Hallie enters his life, so too do a series of strange letters from a secret admirer, throwing his meticulous work schedule off course. Bailey delivers a second-chance romance with vigor and passion, despite the characters falling a bit too neatly and exaggeratedly into a familiar grumpy/sunshine dichotomy. The witty banter and gripping tension will make this a treat for the author's many fans. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary. (Feb.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Hallie Welch fell for Julian Vos when she was a teenager. They almost kissed once, but then Julian graduated and moved away. Now Julian is back in their small town, and it's all Hallie can think about since she's revamping the gardens on the Vos estate. When she turns up at the guesthouse where Julian is staying, he doesn't remember her--at all. Julian is on a sabbatical writing a book, but ever since the gardener showed up, he can't concentrate on anything else. He has kept his life strictly organized and scheduled for years, but this curvy, dirty, complete mess of a woman is demolishing his perfect planning. And he finds that he doesn't mind so much. This sexy opposites-attract romantic comedy features witty banter, steamy dialogue, and well-developed characters. Backstories of anxiety, family drama, emotional abuse, and grief flesh out the novel, creating depth and character motivation. VERDICT Readers will devour Bailey's latest (after Hook, Line, and Sinker) in one sitting, then go back to again and again to pick up on its intricate subtleties. Highly recommended.--Heather Miller Cover

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A woman writes secret letters to the man she had a crush on in high school. When her beloved grandmother died, Hallie Welch became the sole owner of Becca's Blooms, a gardening and landscaping company in St. Helena, a small town in Napa Valley. Hallie is facing old anxieties about where she belongs without her grandmother's anchoring presence. Rather than face her feelings, Hallie channels her grief through childish acts of sabotage and petty thievery against the new wine store threatening to put her grandmother's best friend out of business. When Hallie hears that Julian Vos is back in town on sabbatical to write a novel, she's determined to finally rid herself of the crush she's been harboring for 15 years. Julian doesn't remember Hallie, but he's strongly attracted to her despite the fact that her special brand of chaos wreaks havoc on all his carefully timed schedules and plans. The winery owned by Julian's family, Vos Vineyards, was once one of Napa's preeminent wineries, but it's struggling to recover after wildfires almost destroyed the business. When Julian's sister, who's dealing with untreated alcoholism, returns home as well, Julian realizes the depth of his family's dysfunction. Bailey's characteristic banter and instant chemistry between her main characters aren't enough to salvage the novel, which feels entirely constructed of scenes and tropes but without any real plot. Characters do things--prank calls are made, letters are written, grapes are picked, speeches are given--but very little of it makes coherent sense given the way characters have been described. Of note, Julian suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, but they are used as a plot device. Readers looking for a nuanced exploration of how people live with and manage mental illnesses will not find it here. Frenetic, fast-paced, and hollow. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.