Monday 27 November 2023

Secretly Yours

Finished November 17
Secretly Yours by Tessa Bailey

This is the first of a series of romance books set in the Napa Valley. Here, Hallie Welch runs her own garden company: designing, planting, and looking after gardens for her clients. She has a real eye for it, and she is following in her grandmother's footsteps in this endeavour. She is still mourning her grandmother, and the stability that her grandmother brought to her life. Related to this, she's recently been extremely angry at a new wine store that has opened in town, called Uncorked. It is located right across from her grandmother's friend's store, Corked, and has had a major impact on business there. Corked hasn't kept up with the times and looks a little shabby, which hasn't helped. 
When Hallie hears that her schoolgirl crush, Julian Vos, the son of local vintners, has come back to town, she gets a little excited and curious. With memories of the one kiss she had with him, she can't help but wonder if she's still attracted to him. 
Julian has returned to town on a sabbatical from his university teaching job to write a novel. He's made the move after a colleague's health crisis, and he finds that his mother, who runs the vineyard now, has secrets and issues of her own. 
Both Julian and Hallie feel an attraction, despite their different lifestyles and personalities, and it was interesting to see their relationship develop. The secret letter plot wasn't as central as I'd expected and didn't always ring true for me. 
The side stories only added to the interest, and I could see who would be a likely candidate for the second novel, since Hallie's bestie is already married. I'd also like to see more around the wine store rivalry and where that goes. 
Overall as good as what I'd expect from Tessa Bailey. A very entertaining read. 

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