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It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey: FAQs + Books Like It

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

If there are two things I love it's a Tessa Bailey book and a summer romance. So, picking up a copy of It Happened One Summer was a no-brainer. (Kindle | Kobo | Paperback)


I'm only disappointed I didn't read it sooner. When books like this receive so much attention and come with so many rave reviews, I often find myself a bit reluctant to give them a shot. Can it possibly live up to the hype? What if I don't like it? Well, in this case, I'm happy to report that all those worries were for nothing. It was absolutely delightful, light-hearted, swoon-worthy read.


Now, if you're here, you're either looking for one of two things; You have questions about the book or are looking for books like It Happened One Summer to read next. In any case, you'll find all of that below and more. (Warning: This article contains spoilers)

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

What Is the Book It Happened One Summer About?

The book It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey is about the love story between an out-of-control LA socialite, Piper Bellinger, and a widowed crab fisherman, Brendan Taggart. It includes the summer romance, small-town romance, and he-falls-first tropes. Here is the brief description from GoodReads: "Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who is cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town... where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong."


How Long Does It Take to Read It Happened One Summer?

According to How Long to Read, it will take the average reader approximately 5 and a half hours to read It Happened One Summer.


Is There a Sequel to It Happened One Summer?

The Bellinger Series in Order by Tessa Bailey

Yes - the sequel to It Happened One Summer is Hook, Line, and Sinker. It focuses on the love story of Hannah Bellinger and Fox Thornton, though Piper and Brendan make the occasional brief appearance.


How Old Are Piper and Brendan?

In It Happened One Summer, it is confirmed that Piper Bellinger is 28 years old. However, Brendan Taggart's age is never confirmed, which means that we can't know for certain what the age difference is between Piper and Brendan.


What Are the Spicy Chapters in It Happened One Summer?

If you're looking for the spicy chapters in It Happened One Summer, jump to chapters 16, 18, 21, 26, and 27.


Does It Happened One Summer Have a Happy Ending?

Yes - It Happened One Summer does have a happy ending! Just before Brendan leaves for another two weeks at sea, he learns that Piper and Hannah invited their stepfather, Daniel, to the opening of their bar, Cross and Daughters. That combined with the news of Kirby's party in LA for Piper, makes him believe she is going to leave. Out of anger, he leaves the house but Piper promises she'll be there to see him off in the morning. If she is there, it means she plans on staying in Westport. Unfortunately, she doesn't make it in time as Abe falls and hurts himself on their morning walk to the museum. To make matters worse, Daniel cancels at the last minute, no one shows up to the party at the bar on time, and Mick insinuates she isn't as tough as his daughter/Brendan's first wife was. Upset, Hannah sends Piper back to LA for Kirby's party. Brendan arrives back in town to find out the real reason why Piper didn't show up to see him off that day and that she had left. He then chases after her to LA. At the party, they reunite and return to Westport together as a couple.


Is Westport, Washington a Real Place?

Yes - Westport, Washington is a real place in the Pacific Northwest United States. There are no articles or interviews confirming why she chose this particular location for It Happened One Summer.


Will There Be An It Happened One Summer Movie?

Yes - In June 2022 it was confirmed by Deadline that It Happened One Summer would be adapted into a movie by BCDF Pictures and Frolic Media. Since then, there has been no other news confirming the cast or a possible release date. However, Tessa Bailey did once reveal her 'dream cast': "I have definite actors in mind for the four main characters. For Piper, I can only see Annie Murphy. Piper will never be anyone else in my mind - that's just her. Hannah is Josephine Langford for me. Fox is Tyler Cameron of Bachelorette fame. Brendan is the hardest to cast because nobody really looks like the big, salty, seafaring man I have in my head. But I would love to see a bearded Tom Hardy play him."


5 Books Like It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Are you looking for books like It Happened One Summer to read next? If so, here are my top five recommendations for similar small-town romance books.


When in Rome by Sarah Adams

1. When in Rome by Sarah Adams

A cozy small town? Check. A celebrity/socialite falls for a normal grumpy guy? Check and check. As you can see It Happened One Summer and When in Rome by Sarah Adams are very similar. If that sounds like what you're looking for, check out the description for it: "Amelia Rose, known as Rae Rose to her fans, is burned-out from being the 'princess of pop.' It's what brought her to Rome... Rome, Kentucky, that is. When Noah Walker finds Amelia on his front lawn in her broken-down car, he makes it clear he doesn't have the time or patience for celebrity problems. Despite his better judgment, he lets her stay in his guest room - but only until her car is fixed. Of course, that's when he begins to see a different side of her. He knows she'll return to her glamorous life eventually, but until then, Noah will show Amelia all the charming small-town experiences she's been missing, and she'll help him open his heart to more."


The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

2. The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

While there's no celebrity/socialite in The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker, it is the love story between a city girl and a country boy, which is not really all that far off of It Happened One Summer. Here's what it's about: "When Calla Fletcher was two she not only left the Alaskan wild behind, she left her father too. Now, at 22, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla hops on a plan, desperate for a chance to finally connect with her father. While she struggles to adjust to this new subarctic environment, Jonah - the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps her father’s charter plane company operational - can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a bond with the burly pilot. But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all."


Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

3. Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

At face value, almost everything about this book is different from It Happened One Summer, but if you look underneath, it's the same; both books are the story of a woman who has to choose if she's willing to leave behind everything she knows and follow her heart. Here's the description of Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez: "Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come - the complete opposite of sophisticated city girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable. While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to be a surgeon, Alexis is content with being a “mere” ER doctor. In fact, every minute she spends with Daniel in his tight-knit town shows her what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?"


Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

4. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

Before you even consider reading this book, I think it's important to note that Things We Never Got Over is a substantial small-town grumpy-sunshine romance. And by substantial, I mean it's 572 pages long. If you're up for it though, it will make the perfect follow-up to It Happened One Summer. Read the description and you'll see what I mean: "Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was going to help her estranged twin in Knockemout, Virginia. Too bad her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. Now Tina's left Naomi to take care of a niece she didn't know she had without a car, cash, or home. There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications or high-maintenance women, but since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life. At least, that’s the plan..."


One Night on the Island by Josie Silver

5. One Night on the Island by Josie Silver

One of the things I loved about It Happened One Summer was that it wasn't just about Piper and Brendan's love story. Sure, most of it was, but another part was about found family and choosing a different life for yourself. In that way, One Night on the Island by Josie Silver is very much like it. Here's what it's about: "Spending her 30 birthday alone is the last thing that dating columnist Cleo wanted, but she is going on a self-coupling quasi-sabbatical at the insistence of her boss. The remote Irish island she's booked is a far cry from London, but at least it's a chance to indulge in some self-care. Likewise, Mac is also looking forward to some time alone on the island. Unfortunately, a mix-up forces both solitude seekers to share a one-bedroom hideaway until the next boat arrives. Things get off to a rough start, but as the days go by, they no longer seem to mind each other's company quite as much as they thought they would..."

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