Review ~ Secretly Yours by Tessa Bailey

Title: Secretly Yours

Series: A Vine Mess #1

Author: Tessa Bailey

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 7, 2023

Pages: 384


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.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

First, I literally squealed when this one showed up in my mailbox. Then I checked the release date. February…Hmm. It’s only September, though…Okay, I can wait a little while…I really can…I CAN…NOPE. I had to pick it up. And can you believe I tried to tell myself that maybe I wouldn’t be sucked right in. Maybe I could just read a chapter or two and be satisfied for bit.

Hahahahaha! Yeah, right. I started this book and COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.

First we have Hallie committing small crimes in honor of Corked, a long loved establishment of hers and her grandmothers. Her Grandma was best friends with the owner, Lorna. Someone decided to open up shop next door to Corked and open UNCORKED. As Hallie is lamenting to her bestie, Lavinia, she gets some updates, too. Apparently Julian is back in town staying on his family’s vineyard, Vos Vineyard. Hallie has been long-term crushing on Julian. And Hallie is town gardener, so she calls up Julian’s mom and offers to do some updates to the beds surrounding the little house Julian is staying in.

Julian is a professor at Stanford. He recently had a colleague have a bit of a mental breakdown, and he’s a bit worried about following if he doesn’t take a break. He figures it’s the perfect time to start writing that historical fiction novel. And let’s say he just doesn’t know what hit him when Hallie shows up.

While this isn’t grump sunshine, I’d call it Mr. Serious meets Sunshine. This is definitely an opposites attract story. Julian schedules his time down to the second while Hallie doesn’t know what she’s doing in five minutes. To mix things up further, Hallie sends a secret admirer letter after imbibing just a little too much one night leading to a bit of a dual relationship for Julian.

It’s come to my attention that I am far more wrong for you than the other way around, Hallie. You’re nothing short of breathtaking. Unique and beautiful and bold.

Julian and Hallie are both immensely attracted to each other, but they both think they’re totally wrong for each other. They’re just so different. At first Julian thinks she’s all wrong for him, but that ends up changing. When Julian decides he’s gonna go for it, it’s a total swoonfest.

He needed a plan for winning her, because something deep in the recesses of his chest told him this was too important to be left up to chance.

There are also some other things taking place worth noting. Julian is struggling with some severe anxiety. There was a fire on his family’s vineyard that has left some deep scars. There’s some healing and restoration that needs to take place. Hallie is struggling with the loss of her grandmother and not feeling grounded anymore. She has a family history of drifting from one place to another, and her grandmother is the only thing that’s ever felt like home.

In the closing I had hoped for a few more things to be said, but I didn’t need them. Hallie and Julian totally had my heart! And now I can’t wait to get more from all of the side characters.

*I’m horrible about recognizing triggers, so always make sure to check them out if you have any.


Happy Reading,



12 thoughts on “Review ~ Secretly Yours by Tessa Bailey

  1. Pingback: The Sunday Post 2/5/23 | Ali's Books

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