Apparently, our heroine, Piper Bellinger, is strongly inspired by Alexis Rose in Schitt’s Creek, Tessa Bailey wanted her to have her own happy ending. First of all, I’m not really sure I think Alexis was too badly off at the end of the show, just because she wasn’t shacked up with a man. Her ending seemed perfectly happy to me – not all HEAs need to involve a romantic partner. No matter what provided the initial inspiration, I’m glad Tessa Bailey wrote this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s a really fun read.
The Piper we meet at the start of the book really hasn’t ever had to face any kind of financial hardship, but she also doesn’t really have anyone she’s close to, except her sister Hannah. The men she dates see her as a vacuous bimbo and she’s never really had a romantic relationship last very long. Apart from her sister, she doesn’t really have anyone to talk to or confide in, and she seems to move from party to party, with her rich stepfather’s money bailing her out of any problem she might encounter. She documents her rather empty life on social media, being very conscious of her public image, and when her latest boyfriend dumps her, she wants to feel relevant, breaks into a hotel’s rooftop pool (where she is joined by hundreds of people) and causes a scandal big enough that her stepfather might actually end up losing backers on his current project. He decides that enough is enough, she needs to learn how to live in the real world.
Piper’s real dad was a fisherman from the Pacific Northwest, who drowned in a storm when she was only a toddler and her sister was a baby. Their mother has never really told them much about that time, as the memories are very painful to her. It turns out that their dad, as well as being a fisherman, owned a bar in his hometown, and Piper’s stepdad is sending her there for three months to see if she can survive in the real world, with a limited budget, having to do her own cooking, cleaning and chores. Hannah, who actually has a job and mostly stays out of the limelight, refuses to let her sister be sent into exile by herself, and insists on coming with her.
The two women are woefully unprepared for what they find in the small town of Westport, Washington. Their father’s bar turns out to be more of a shack, where the locals hang out and get drunk between fishing trips. The tiny apartment at the top where they’re supposed to live is utterly filthy, full of dust, dirt, and vermin and there isn’t even a separate bedroom, just a bunk bed in a corner of the main space.
Brendan Taggert is a successful crab fisherman in Westport. His wife died seven years ago, but he still wears his wedding ring, as he feels her memory deserves it. Like the other locals, he’s absolutely baffled when he sees the Bellinger sisters arrive, especially Piper, in her couture outfits, looking as out of place as a peacock would in a muddy field. Initially, Brendan underestimates Piper and her sister, not believing for a second that they’ll be able to survive in the rough quarters available to them, and an incident where Piper causes a fire on one of her first nights, trying to cook for Hannah, seems to prove him right.
Full review here.