Palace Insiders #1
Bake Off + Royals + Romance? Yes please!
From the publisher marketing:
Four years ago, Sylvie Fairchild charmed the world as a contestant on the hit baking show, Operation Cake. Her ingenious, creations captivated viewers and intrigued all but one of the judges, Dominic De Vere. When Sylvie’s unicorn cake went spectacularly sideways, Dominic was quick to vote her off the show. Since then, Sylvie has used her fame to fulfill her dream of opening a bakery. The toast of Instagram, Sugar Fair has captured the attention of the Operation Cake producers…and a princess.
Dominic is His Majesty the King’s favorite baker and a veritable British institution. He’s brilliant, talented, hard-working. And an icy, starchy grouch. Learning that Sylvie will be joining him on the Operation Cake judging panel is enough to make the famously dour baker even more grim. Her fantastical baking is only slightly more troublesome than the fact that he can’t stop thinking about her pink-streaked hair and irrepressible dimple.
When Dominic and Sylvie learn they will be fighting for the once in a lifetime opportunity to bake a cake for the upcoming wedding of Princess Rose, the flour begins to fly as they fight to come out on top.
The bride adores Sylvie’s quirky style. The palace wants Dominic’s classic perfection.
In this royal battle, can there be room for two?
In fiction, falling in love seemed to happen in soft focus, all cheerful montages of pop music and soulful glances. In reality, it was raw and confronting, powerful and passionate, shifting every goalpost.
This has been a year where I have only wanted to read books that help me escape the reality around me. Because honestly, life in 2021 sucks. Hard. The world seems to think that everything should be back to normal by now, that masks aren’t necessary, that yelling at people in the service industry is totally okay, and that they can be generally assholes to women. Couple that with my own personal hellish year and, well, it should come as no surprise why I just want to read light hearted fiction right now.
If you love baking, spunky heroines, haters to lovers tropes, and then a solid romantic relationship that isn’t troubled by random unnecessary drama, delightful sisters, and a touch of royalty, then this is the book for you! Sylvie and Dominic are not unlike Olive and Adam (The Love Hypothesis) in that we have a fun and spunky heroine dealing with some grief from the loss of their mother figure and a strong, silent, brooding but loving type in their romantic lead.
Both are surrounded by a cool cast of secondary characters and friends and you can’t help but anxiously anticipate the next in the series that will focus on Dominic’s delightful little sister. There’s a bit of culinary espionage, a veritable culinary wonderland, delectable descriptions of mouth watering chocolates, and a baking competition, which despite the description’s emphasis on it, really takes a back seat to everything else in the story. Our royal couple have their own challenges, as do our bakers, and it all mixes together to make the lightest and fluffiest chocolate cake of a book that you could possibly imagine.
And yes, because I’m obsessed with it, this book does pass the Bechdel test.
Rating: 8 out of 10