‘Unfortunately Yours’ by Tessa Bailey Review

Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey cover featuring cartoon August and Natalie.

Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey is a wildly fun marriage of convenience romance with the kind of head-over-heels cinnamon roll hero who’s top-tier book boyfriend material. There are perhaps multiple reasons why the trope shouldn’t work in the present day and why it shouldn’t have worked in the novel, but it does—from beginning to end, it’s a delightful page-turner.

How Tessa Bailey presents heart and warmth in this novel is no small feat. As a heroine, Natalie Vos is deeply relatable as someone who’s often left it out. (Cue Taylor Swift’s “You’re On Your Own Kid.“) And much of the growth between her and August Cates takes place during the quiet moments of unveiling loneliness and building a friendship as the foundation of their marriage. There’s plenty the two of them battle alone, and bringing them toward a place where they could freely share those burdens is where the novel is at its strongest.

Given the Goodreads description, I was hesitant that the romance would lean more toward physical attraction, forgoing most emotional beats for lust. “Now, a quickie marriage could help them both. A sham wedding, a few weeks living under the same roof, and then they can go their separate ways–assuming they make it out alive. How hard could it be? There’s just one thing they didn’t account for: their unfortunate, unbearable, undeniable attraction.” Thankfully, that’s not the case with Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey because the novel marries the physical attraction beautifully with the innate understanding the characters build together.

Forced proximity always allows for some of the finest high jinks to ensue, and this story has much of it. There’s a limit to pranks, and there’s a point where they could go too far, but that’s never the case with August and Natalie; instead, even when they’re ridiculous, they’re still so wholesome. Plus, include a cat into the mix, and there’s nothing more a reader should want. Ultimately, the novel works because, in the midst of their fiery banter, there’s immense compassion in both of them for wanting to be the other’s safe space.

Communication is tough in the real world, let alone in the literary, but Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey weaves their natural progress skillfully. August is still grieving and grieving alone—opening up and allowing someone into his space wasn’t going to be an easy fix. And with a character like Natalie, there’s tremendous risk in admitting that you feel left behind because what if the person you tell that to also leaves you? There isn’t much conversation about this, but the bits we get work, especially for those who feel the same form of abandonment. Still, the couples get from point A to point B quickly, but it works because the attraction is there from the start, coupled with a profound desire to wholeheartedly get to know each other.

More than anything, the marriage of convenience works because while they could’ve both backed out it before it began, they chose to push through, in some ways, for the other person. It’s a tight, odd spot, but credit where it’s due; Bailey wins the reader over with this one. It just works. Don’t ask me to explain it. Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey is a gorgeously fun and sexy romance novel that feels unforgettable late-night afterglows and a safe place that’s trustworthy and warm.

Unfortunately Yours by Tessa Bailey is now available wherever books are sold.
Featured Image Credit: ©Tessa Bailey | Avon Books


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