Cover Image: Secretly Yours

Secretly Yours

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Member Reviews

Tessa Bailey's books are always fun and this is no exception. Both main characters have issues and quirks, but they are both relatable and overcome their personal traumas in a realistic way. I have to say the whole virgin thing was a bit of a stretch, especially for a contemporary novel, but it is not a big quibble. I am looking forward to reading more stories in this fictional world.

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Tessa Bailey is always a "must read" author for me. I was so excited to see Secretly Yours available as an e-ARC.

Hallie is a spastic, chaotic, gardener living in a small town in Napa Valley. Hallie was very close with her grandmother who recently passed away and she is trying to figure out who she is without her grandma. She is also trying to protect her memories of her grandma by helping save a local wine shop. Julian Vos is local royalty due to his family owning a vineyard. Julian is back in town to write a book while taking a sabbatical from his job as a college professor. He is exactly the opposite of Hallie and is very tightly wound and relies heavily on schedules. Hallie has crushed on Julian since high school and when she hears he is back, she formulates a plan to be near him and is hired to do some landscaping at the vineyard. Hallie and Julian have a bit of history, and as the saying goes, opposites attract.

This was not my favorite of Tessa Bailey's books, but it still got 4 stars. I felt like maybe more development was needed in Hallie and Julian's relationship.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Tessa Bailey books are usually fun and zany romps and this one had those qualities, but it also had a really smart take on the opposites-attract trope! Typically, I feel we see opposites attract as "they have to learn to tolerate each other despite their differences" but this one took two characters--Julian, whose strict rigidity is a tool he uses to manage anxiety (but it isn't working), and Hallie, who is living on impulses to avoid processing her grief over losing her grandmother (but it isn't working)--who actually need to change to be a bit more like each other. Bailey also addresses the complicated ideas of what it means to change for a partner--particularly from Hallie's perspective, both because of the insidiousness of 'change for a man' cultural narratives AND because Julian's strategy, to work himself into the ground, is one that appears potentially functional and productive from the outside--and where that overlaps with changing for yourself and why someone who pushes your limits could actually be just the kind of person you need.

That said, fans of Bailey and the bonkers elements that bring her characters together will find the usual absurdities--Hallie, for example, has been crushing on Julian for fifteen years, and has channelled this into....basically never kissing anyone else, even though she hasn't seen him in all this time? Plus she keeps doing petty crime to a local wine store. The whole thing is just backed up by some really smart character work that you won't want to miss.

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All of Tessa's books are a rollicking good time - the woman does not know how to write a boring book. And this book is no different!

Tessa's heroes have really been the standouts for me recently, and Julian continues that trend. He's an anxious nugget realizing his coping strategies maybe no longer work, and is more than willing to try and find new ones. Hallie's lack of schedules and plans stresses him out, but it's always important to him to emphasize to her that this is his problem and not hers. We love a man who 1 - is working on his mental health and 2 - makes sure that his love interest knows that their differences are not a character failing on her part.

Hallie's also a real delight, but her end of the story is where things fall apart for me a bit, I think. Tessa writes books that really fly by, and I think this could have been 25 pages longer with a little more backstory for her and I would have been satisfied - I just would have liked her to be a little more fleshed out. To me, her reasons for not telling Julian she was behind the letters were a bit weak, but his reaction when he finds out she's his secret penpal is absolute perfection. Another ending that Tessa 10 years ago wouldn't have written the same way, and a great example of how authors grow.

As always, I am ready for Tessa's next book the second I close her latest one. Never stop, Tessa.

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Tessa Bailey need I say more?
I love all of Tessa Bailey's books and this is no exception. Well written romance with plenty of steam
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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I will forever read anything and everything by Tessa Bailey. The humor in this book was unmatched. I can’t count the times I laughed out loud or went back to reread a scene because it was hilarious. The chemistry, the characters, everything about this book was great.

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First of all, huge thanks to Avon for the opportunity of reading this so early!

As someone who exclusively reads romance, I read tons of authors, but if you ask me who's my number one favorite... it's Tessa Bailey for sure. I connect with every book of hers I read, and I haven't read her full backlist yet. Anyway, this book has been added to my heart's favorites list.

Julian Vos is big, enormous, giant boyfriend material. He fell so hard for Hallie. He had a physically painful need to be near her even though they were total opposites and she was a tornado in his perfectly organized world, but she was exactly what he needed. His anxiety made my heart break, especially once the events that led to it were revealed. We really don't know how much we're letting out anxiety dominate our life until our schedules break, which can be scary but necessary.

Deep stuff aside... can we send Tessa her crown for being the Queen of Dirty Talk? I've said before how I love her steamy scenes because I think they're not simply sex scenes (don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with this, I LOVE those as well), but crucial moments for feelings growth and development. Her heroes are so GONE for the heroines, it's so intense and special. I love it. In this case, dirty talk aside, I loved how Julian basically worshipped Hallie's curves and rolls. They were so explosive together!

I loved this book, I truly did. It's Tessa's essence. I have to give it 4 stars because I didn't enjoy the lying by omission. It's one of the things that I don't enjoy in books (or life in general). I loved the letters, but I think it went a bit far.

I know saying this is crazy taking into account this book doesn't come out until February, but I cannot wait for Natalie and August's book, especially for Natalie because I think she's very interesting and her backstory will bring the tears.

Rating: 4/5
Steam level: 3/5

Once again, thanks to Avon and Netgalley for my ARC. Opinions are my own!

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Secretly Yours was a very cute story. Very much the grumpy/sunshine trope, it focuses on Hallie, a scattered gardener and Julian, an uptight history professor. I liked how Julian delved into his anxiety and Hallie with her grief. I think this will be a popular read! Very frothy and light. I didn’t think the secret admirer plot was all that important to the story and honestly felt like it almost didn’t fit, but still I think a lot of people will really enjoy this.

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Perfectly emotional romantic comedy from Tessa Bailey. We're in St. Helena with whirlwind gardener/landscaper Hallie (with a believable amount of mess to her life) with her life slowly going back into disarray after losing her grandmother. In comes her high school (and current) obsession Julian Vos, as in one of the family members of the Vos Vineyard family. History professor Julian has moved back home temporarily to write his novel and doesn't need the distraction that is Hallie. Guess who becomes his gardener?

Hallie was a really well-rounded character that was so loyal and passionate, but was not without her faults. I loved following Hallie and Julians separate and joint developments. It was funny, spicy, emotional. I loved it.

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Cute! I loved having a less experienced MC woman and I'm always a fan of the grump/sunshine trope. I've been enjoying Tessa Bailey's recent works so much more than her earlier ones!

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How does she continue to write all these bangers?! I absolutely loved this and couldn’t put it down. Sunshiny chaotic gardener and straight-laced professor/wine heir? In Napa Valley? And there’s going to be a second book about the sister and ex-navy seal?! Gosh, what a joy. Thanks, Netgalley for the ARC! 5/5

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Secretly Yours was delightful! I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan (or actually even a little fan) of Tessa Bailey's last series. But I decided to give this one a try and I'm so glad I did! Hallie has been in love with Julian since she was a teenager, but he had no idea. They reconnect years later and she finds that her crush has only intensified, but now Julian can't help but notice. He's buttoned up and grumpy, she's free spirited and full of sunshine. While the book is light and an easy read, there is still some deeper issues confronted and I love that Julian faced his anxiety and that Hallie wasn't afraid to face it with him. FYI - as Tessa Bailey's books tend to be, Secretly Yours is an Open Door romance.... very open. So if that's not your jam - you may want to skip through those parts.
Overall a fun, light, but full of heart, read!
Thank you to NetGalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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I love all things Tessa Bailey and this was a fun, fluffy fast read. The Napa setting was perfect escapism and I hope to see more stories in this world.

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This one was so cute! I'll admit that I expected a bit more enemies considering the synopsis, but I loved it even more because they didn't waste time hating each other. Their slowburn romance was addictive, and I never got bored of them. The end did feel like it was dragging on a bit, but I still loved this. And I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book in the series, August and Natalie had so much tension!

Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review

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This was one of those books I couldn’t put down, but I also didn’t want it to end.

Hallie and Julian’s story was 15 years in the making, with lots of detours and personal growth along the way. When they find themselves back in their home town and in each other’s paths again, they can’t deny the magnetic pull between them.

This book is great for fans of Napa, dogs, secret admirer letters, hot shirtless professors, boisterous British best friends, sweet grandmas, small town spirit, candid discussions of mental health, opposites attracting, and doughnuts.

Thank you to Avon and Harper Voyager and NetGalley for an advance reader copy!

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Tessa Bailey has knocked it out of the park again. This sweet grumpy x sunshine romance story is high up on my must read list, and I'm sad that everyone else has to wait it out.
This story follows Hallie & Julian. Hallie is the sunshine bubbly neighbor who has been deeply in love with Julian, the grumpy professor since she was 14. Hallie is hired to work on Julian's garden while he is taking leave to write his novel. Will she be the ultimate distraction?

This book to the perfect mix of sweet & spice and this is a must read!

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This might be my new favorite Tessa Bailey book! A perfect combination of spice and fluff. I loved how chaotic Hallie was and how much she made Julian come out of his shell throughout the novel. I can’t wait to read Natalies story when it comes out next! I will definitely be recommending this to everyone next year!

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