TITLE: Unraveling Him (Bailey Brothers Series book 3 of 6)
AUTHOR: Claire Kingsley
GENRE: Contemporary romance
PUBLISHER: Independently published
PUBLICATION DATE: August 20, 2020
TROPES: Grumpy/sunshine, forced proximity
NARRATORS: Jason Clarke, Ava Erickson
Unraveling Him by Claire Kingsley is the 3rd book in the Bailey Brothers Series and details the story between Evan Bailey – the second oldest brother – and Fiona Gallagher – a fellow car enthusiast and an all-around ray of sunshine. This is a charming story about trust, bravery, and the courage to take a new path when everything you know goes up in flames.
Stoic, growly Evan Bailey has enough on his plate. A growing business, a pack of brothers who drive him crazy, a gossip-loving small town, and a rivalry that runs deeper than any family feud. Love? That’s a hard pass. He already learned the hard way that he’s better off alone.
Fiona Gallagher has a problem. Or more like ten, but who’s counting? The trouble with her car is just the cherry on top of the crap sundae, but she won’t let that get her down. Besides, she has a plan. Evan Bailey—that brooding custom car builder who happens to hate her father—is going to help her. He just doesn’t know it yet.
The last thing Evan needs is the overly cheery Fiona crashing into his solitary life. But her offer is too compelling to ignore. Fiona isn’t there to pick through the wreckage of Evan’s heart. If he has one, he won’t let her anywhere near it. But the tension between them is hot enough to combust. And when she starts to see the cracks in his stony façade, she realizes she’s getting more than she bargained for—a lot more—in that big surly man.
Despite not having the best meet-cute, Evan and Fiona have great chemistry. Their love for cars was a well-needed catalyst to overcome their initial awkwardness. And it was endearing that they both found comfort in non-humans – Evan with his dog and Fiona with her plants. Their opposing yet surprisingly similar personalities made for an amusing and comical read.
Evan Bailey, known to his family as “the lone wolf,” lives up to his nickname. He’s broody and grumpy, and his favorite person to hang out with is his German shepherd dog, Sasquatch.
When I first met him in Asher’s story from the previous books, he was not someone I particularly liked. But taking a deeper dive into his psyche humanized him and made him someone I wanted to cheer for. This perception change reminds me of a quote I read in Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams – “You know what I love most about the books? I love how they can make us cheer for pretty much any character if we understand why they’re doing something. We’ll let them get away with pretty much anything–including pushing away the woman they desperately want–if they have a strong motivation. The why behind their actions.”
My constant worry with the grumpy/sunshine trope is that the grumpy character can come off a bit rude and unlikeable if not written correctly. But with this book, I liked that Evan’s grumpiness was written to be more comedic than serious, and there was a lot of teasing around it.
His character development was done well. It was a delight to see how he learned to trust his pack of brothers when he needed them the most and with Fiona as she tried to push him out of his grumpy bubble.
Fiona is a forever optimist. She’s quirky and loves buying potted plants and naming them after characters that belong in the Golden Girls. She babbles when nervous but is also not afraid to stand up for herself when she needs to, which is probably why Evan’s grumpiness never phases her for a second.
I loved how brave her character was throughout the story. After her whole life takes a turn for the worst, she packs up everything and goes on the road without a plan. But as she tries to figure out her life, we meet an honest, charming girl with a huge heart.
GRAM continues to be the MVP in these books. Her infinite wisdom adds such depth and heart to the story that I look forward to her scenes. I will never understand how she managed to raise these 5 brothers on her own because they are a handful, even in adulthood. But I admired how they respected her and heeded her every word. And her psychic ability to nickname all her grandsons and their future partners is uncanny and simply impressive.
We get to know the youngest Bailey brother, GAVIN, a little more in this one as Kingsley sets the stage for his story in the next book. He’s hilarious, charming, and crazy; you can’t help but fall in love with him.
SASQUATCH definitely steals the show, and you will adore his scenes if you’re a fellow dog lover like me. And mild spoiler alert – but I love it when the guy’s dog loves the girl more. It’s such a hilariously endearing thing!
Taking a detour from the previous books, Unraveling Him has some action-packed scenes, so I always stayed interested in the story. The story does start a bit slow between the MCs, but once it picks up, the chemistry is downright combustible.
The Tilikum town feud continues to wreak lighthearted chaos into the lives of its residents. But in this one, the feud gets a bit more personal between Evan and Luke Haven. I enjoyed the extra depth this gave both the characters and the feud without it being a copy-and-paste kind of subplot throughout the series. We also get more clues about the Eliza Bailey mystery we were introduced to in Asher and Grace’s story, and I am excited to unravel this as the series goes on.
The climax was fast-paced and exciting, and I listened on the edge of my seat to find out how they would resolve it. And my favorite thing about this series is the camaraderie and support the brothers give each other in times of need. The book ends with an adorable grand gesture that concludes this heartwarmingly charming book.
My one issue with this book, and I feel it’s a common thread in the series, is the over-explanatory inner monologues. I don’t think every single thought in a person’s head should be mentioned, especially if some are repetitive. Editing these out would have made the book much better.
But I enjoyed the dual POVs for both MCs, allowing me to understand each character more deeply. And I appreciated the details about all the cars and learning about car restoration.
Jason Clarke was the perfect voice for Evan – deep, intense and seductive. Ava did a good job making Fiona bubbly and optimistic, but I found her narration a bit frustrating – mostly because her chapters had more of the repetitive inner monologues.
Unraveling Him by Claire Kingsley is a small-town romance great for fellow car enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a steamy romance with some mystery and a lot of animal love, this book is for you.
Check out the rest of the series!
Book 2: Fighting For Us – Asher Bailey continued (second chance)
Book 4: Rushing In – Gavin Bailey (forbidden love, boss’ daughter)
Book 5: Chasing Her Fire – Logan Bailey (enemies to lovers)
Book 6: Rewriting The Stars – Levi Bailey (forbidden love, feuding families)
Would you like to know which Bailey Brother is most likely to be your book boyfriend? Take the short quiz in this Bailey Brothers Series Guide to find out now!
If you’ve seen a different cover for this book and are wondering if it’s the same novel, I have included the original and updated cover below to avoid any confusion.
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