Review by Gabrielle

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“Ellie was undeterred, skipped out into the hall, punched the air and then wondered how the hell she was going to keep up the good impression with virtually no experience and no qualifications to show for herself. Her skipping slowed.”

This book is sweeter than a cupcake with buttercream. You know, the kind that tastes pretty good at first until your teeth start to ache, resulting in a serious sugar coma. I prefer my cupcakes with a little less icing. 

Ellie’s life is just fine. She has an alright job and lives with her parents. There are worse things, aren’t there? But Ellie longs to open her own bakeshop using the mad baking skills she learned from her Gran. When she sees an advert for someone to lease the bakeshop in a nearby castle, she realizes this is her chance and she goes for it. Miraculously, grumpy Lord Henry and gorgeous Estate Manager Joe choose her to run the shop, despite her inexperience. Can Ellie make all her dreams come true? After all, dreaming about a bakeshop is a lot different than running one. And can she keep things on a professional level with Joe?

I was all in on the premise of this one. Woman looking to turn her life around? Check. Castle in the English countryside? Check. Baking? Check. Unfortunately, I found the premise better than the execution. It starts off okay but Ellie is a bit too self-doubting and helpless for my taste. I’d say this is a great book to gift to your grandmother, but then halfway through there are some sexy scenes that don’t actually play well with the rest of the sweet tone of this book. They seem out of place like they were added as an afterthought. Nothing here was all that convincing.

If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, this is a fine choice but you’d be better served by checking out Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me At The Cupcake Café instead. Similar premise, better writing.