Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Review: Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall
Series: Winner Bakes All, Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake cover
ISBN: 9781538703328
Release Date: May 18, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way…and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.

Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory. Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.

Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.

Alexis Hall kicks off the Winner Bakes All series with the fast-paced, entertaining Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake. Anyone who enjoys Great British Bake Off will delight over the delicious bakes Rosaline and her co-competitors make. And though it choux is hard to compete with that, it’s truly the characters themselves who are the star (bakers) of the show.

I really liked Rosaline. She’s a single mom with a precocious daughter who she does her best for. Her relationship with her parents is extremely strained but she’s got the support of her best friend (and ex-girlfriend) Lauren and I loved that relationship. Rosaline nabs a spot on Bake Expectations, a Great British Bake Off style show, and she hopes the prize money and exposure will put her on the path toward doing something she loves while still being able to provide for her daughter. I loved Rosaline’s strength, determination, and heart and her flaws made her human. I enjoyed watching her journey over the course of the story and where she ends up was incredibly satisfying.

Where Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake falters for me is the romance. The vast majority of the book Rosaline spends with Alain and it’s frustrating. I understand why she’s with him for quite some time but the red flags will be waving for readers long before they come through to Rosaline. Unfortunately the sheer amount of time spent with Alain became draining and it also meant there was not much time left for Rosaline’s romance with Harry, who I absolutely loved. Rosaline is quick to stand up for what’s right and has done an amazing job teaching her daughter to stand up against bias, but she doesn’t see the biases she herself holds for quite some time. Harry is an electrician whose poor grammar and straightforward outlook on life make Rosaline question her beliefs and the assumptions she makes. I loved Harry; he’s got a heart of gold, is patient, and is so, so kind and sweet. The romance falters only due to lack of page time and had the book been a bit longer it would have really shone.

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake balances fluffy and fun with unpleasant realities. Hall doesn’t hesitate to take on prejudice of all sorts and though I loved that about this book there were also enough “teachable moments” that even someone like me who agrees with every one will be taken out of the story a bit by the sheet number. Still, I really enjoyed Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake overall. There were so many characters and relationships to love and when you add in the backdrop of Bake Expectations how could I not like this story? I cannot wait to see what Hall comes up with for the next Winner Bakes All story.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.