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Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

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Hook, Line, and Sinker is the sequel to It Happened One Summer and takes place a few months after the previous book finished.

In the first book, we’re introduced to Hannah Bellinger and Fox Thornton. Fox is a close friend and colleague to Brendan and it is through the relationship that builds between Brendan and Piper that Hannah and Fox first meet.

Hannah is quiet, unassuming and completely obsessed with her music, she is also infatuated with an oblivious director called Sergei.  This infatuation is just one of the reasons why she returns to LA, well, that and the fact that she has a job she doesn’t want to lose. She doesn’t use her step-father’s name to make her way in the world, something she is proud of. However, when she does finally come clean about her step-father’s identity in the book,  it does have a bit of a ‘secret boss’ feel, as well as being a little pointless.

Fox is the total opposite, and it is this which makes them pretty much perfect for each other. Unfortunately for him, everyone keeps on warning him to keep his distance from the nice girl and so he’s found himself, strangely, in his first-ever friendship with a girl!

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time–in bed and out–and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lacklustre love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?

Hook, Line, and Sinker finds us back in Westport with Brendan and Piper and their friends.

Let’s get to it. When in Westport with Piper, Hannah met and built a friendship with Brendan’s second in command, Fox. Fox is a bit of a ladies’ man who has a different girl in every port, but he won’t poop in his backyard, which I suppose gives him some sort of morals. Anyway, when Hannah gets the amazing idea to propose the latest film Sergei is working on is made in Westport, this becomes the perfect time to reconnect with her sister and Fox.

So, off to Westport the film crew heads and over the course of the book Hannah discovers a lot about herself, her aspirations and her friend, Fox. Who, it seems, is being warned by everyone to stay away from Hannah because he can’t be trusted.

But this is a romance and, with Fox being the MMC (or main male character) you just know that at some point in the book he is going to prove himself to be more than the man even his friends believe he is and show he is worthy not only of their trust but also of young Hannah’s love.

Hannah is not a character without fault, but as appears to be true in many romances, her faults are deemed to be more quirky in nature. I guess that her biggest fault is that she headed back to LA and though she maintained contact with Fox via text, it’s as though everyone else was an afterthought, including her sister and their long-lost grandmother! But perhaps I am reading into her actions more than I am meant to.

The saddest thing about Fox and his character, apart from his name which just bugs me for some reason, is that he has no faith in himself. He believes all the gossip about himself, he believes he is no good for any woman who is more than a one-night stand and it is this which makes him keep his distance from Hannah and almost leads to him pushing her away from not only a romantic entanglement with him, but also their friendship.

In Hook, Line and Sinker, the characterisation has been reversed. Fox is the flighty one who is no good at long term, while Hannah is the stable, sensible one who will do everything to make it work. It’s a gender reverse on the prequel in many ways, with the same twists and turns. 

This book and It Happened One Summer have both been cluttering up my Bookstagram feed every day for a good few months. So it was inevitable that I would eventually pick them up to read. This one wasn’t released until mid-March, so it was perfect timing, I was able to pick it up the same day that I finished the first one.

I have to be honest and say that Hook, Line, and Sinker didn’t fare as well when it came to my opinion. As much as I loved Hannah in the first book, and I truly feel that she had a lot to offer by way of helping her sister to adjust to a lifestyle she neither wanted nor was familiar with, this book fell short of the mark.

The biggest issue is that I feel the dynamics in Hook, Line, and Sinker were so different and this was rather disappointing. I couldn’t help feeling there was a huge disconnect between the characters in this book and the people they were before.

In the first book, we established that the sisters had previously been like people passing in the night. They had very little in common and it was obvious Hannah wanted that to change, while Piper didn’t want to make any effort. Throughout It Happened One Summer, this changed. They bonded, found that once they sat down and talked about things they weren’t as different as they believed they were and they grew close, became friends who were also sisters and when the summer ended and Hannah went back to LA there was this feeling that they would remain incredibly close.

So, what happened? Sure, there is an element of the protective older sister and future brother-in-law in the way that Piper and Brendan speak to Fox about Hannah, which personally I felt to be wholly unnecessary and almost infantilised Hannah. But the closeness the two women built up just doesn’t seem to be there anymore. Okay, so Hannah’s in Westport to work, and Piper is busy running the business that she built on the foundations of their dad’s bar, but it just feels as though whatever progress they had made has been wiped away. 

And, for me, that was just a step in the wrong direction. It was massively disappointing, especially as one of the main reasons I did pick up the sequel was because I had enjoyed reading about that bond they had built and the positive changes their relationship had made to both of them.

Positives

  • Great friendship dynamic between the two main characters
  • Being reintroduced to the residents of Westport

Negatives

  • The bond that the sisters had built up vanished
  • Lost the charm of It Happened One Summer

After contemplating my review for a long while, and looking at the reviews of others to see if maybe I wasn’t misreading elements of the book, I realised that I needed to go with my gut.

2.5 star rating

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It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
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The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

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