Now Reading
Book Review: Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey

Book Review: Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey

From the first tease of Natalie and August’s love story in Secretly Yours, Tessa Bailey fans have anticipated a hot, exciting passionate romance novel with plenty of chemistry and attraction between its two leads, and it’s safe to say that Unfortunately Yours more than delivers on all those fronts. This is a novel thats full of heart and humour – and, yes, some steamy scenes for good measure too – but even though the plot slows and stalls perhaps more often than youd like it to, theres no doubt that the relationship between Natalie and August is the true star of this novel, and they’re more than compelling enough to keep readers gripped to every page.

After losing her job, her fiancé and her reputation with one bad call at work, Natalie Vos has returned to the family vineyard in Napa Valley to lick her wounds and get back on her feet. The more her family continues to write off her contributions, however, the more Natalie yearns to return to New York and launch her new business endeavour – but first she needs the money from her trust fund to be released. Considering that cant happen until shes both married and gainfully employed, Natalie once again finds herself stuck for options.

Ex-Navy SEAL-turned-aspiring winemaker August Cates is determined to make his new vineyard successful and do his late best friend proud. The problem is his wine is disgusting, hes been refused a new business loan, and his buddys dream is now circling the drain. Since their first meeting got off to a rocky start, August and Natalie have been more likely to trade insults than kisses, but when a desperate Natalie ends up on Augusts doorstep proposing a fake marriage that could help them both out, it turns out to be an offer that August cant refuse. The one thing neither of them accounted for though? The unbearable, undeniable attraction between them.

Had she gotten herself in too deep? Why was exhilaration spinning in her tummy like a Ferris Wheel? Who got this much enjoyment out of a fake husband? Was she doing it wrong? Obviously yes.”

If its an enemies to lovers/opposites attract romance youre after, then that’s exactly what youre going to get with Unfortunately Yours. In fact, this novel is so packed full of romance tropes that it feels like it’s tailor-made to create the kind of story that will leave you with a big grin on your face. Between the enemies to lovers and marriage of convenience set-up and the resulting close proximity, August and Natalies relationship has lots of facets to play with here, paving the way for lots of simmering tension, prank wars and endlessly entertaining arguments that are built on flirty quips and teasing banter. With a dual POV, hints of a second chance romance, and a huge dose of he falls first too, this romance is a whole lot of fun from start to finish, reading like an ideal summer romance that’s best enjoyed with a glass of chilled white wine.

It helps, too, that Natalie and August are both such loveable characters in their own right. Natalie is down on her luck and feeling lost, but she’s proud and resourceful, and her determination to be taken seriously and to have her skills and insights be both valued and appreciated by her family and in business is honest, relatable and will ring true for many readers. Augusts golden retriever energy and love-struck inner monologue also doesn’t detract from the fact that he is also living with trauma and doing his best to cope with his grief, which leaves him struggling to let people in and accept their help. Both characters grow in recognisable ways throughout the novel, together and apart, but most heartening is the slow exploration of their feelings for one another and their commitment to always being the other’s biggest supporter. It encourages both characters to be more honest with their fears and ambitions, and creates a relationship payoff for readers that’s worth the time and attention they put in to reading this novel.

August and Natalie’s relationship in general is truly a wonderful one to experience as it unfolds over the course of the novel, but it’s the story’s overall pacing that ultimately lets it down, somehow feeling like the relationship is simultaneously rushing by and going nowhere. There’s a lot of repetition here, with similar situations repeating themselves as August and Natalie find it difficult to open up and let each other in at first. Most frustrating of all, however, is their inability to communicate at important moments; even when the characters decide to speak honestly about how they’re feeling and look like they’re moving forward, within both their relationship and the plot, it ultimately doesn’t take long for them to fall back into old habits and retread old narrative ground instead.

If you enjoyed Natalie’s brother Julian’s story in Secretly Yours (and even if you didn’t), Unfortunately Yours feels like a marked improvement all around, with more relationship development, more banter and more romance, and it undoubtedly reads as the more enjoyable story of the two. It can be a bit heavy-handed and overly traditional at times and it doesn’t really bring anything new to the romance genre, but it’s fair to say that Tessa Bailey is an author who knows what she does well and embraces it wholeheartedly here.

See Also

For better and for worse, this novel definitely made the most of every one of its romance tropes. The result is an entertaining, swoon-worthy read with a confident heroine, an overprotective hero and the kind of quotes that will have you falling in love with both over and over again.


Unfortunately Yours is published by Avon on 8 June 2023

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.