This book is as light and fluffy as a piece of cake that the heroine would have baked in her shop. There were glimpses of really engaging moments, but for me the fluffier aspects overwhelmed anything of substance. Because of this, it was an overall enjoyable, light read but not a DIK.
Pastry chef Serafina Wilde (yeah, go figure, the uptight lady’s last name is Wilde) escapes from her crumbling life in New York to her crazy aunt’s home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As far as crazy relatives go, this one takes the cake (Get it? Ok, I’ll stop). Aunt Pauline is an uber-feminist and devoted her entire career to educating people about the female orgasm (rock on!). She allows Sera to rent out the front room of her sex shop in order to open up a bakery. The one condition is that the back room must remain intact because that is the meeting place of the infamous “Back Room Babes.” The BRBs are a collection of local women who flock to Pauline to learn her (ahem) techniques along with lots of life discussions surrounded by masturbatory aides. Throw in Asher Wolf, the sexy landlord and you have the ingredients for a typical piece of chick lit.
The story opens with Sera, aka Bliss to her aunt, completely starting over. Let’s just say she doesn’t have a lot to work with, either emotionally or physically. There is a little background on how Sera got to this point: To escape the constant verbal abuse and condescension from her celebrity chef ex-boyfriend, Sera turned to alcohol. That, along with the constant pressures of her job as a celebrated pastry chef, caused a complete breakdown that made her lose everything. When she moves out there, she discovers that not only is the natural beauty of the western city a source of renewal; help also comes in the form of the local inhabitants aka the Back Room Babes. Sera, newly empowered, decides to follow a life long dream and open her own pastry shop from the front of her aunt’s sex shop. As far as plot wise, that is pretty much it, which left the story with a sort of stagnant feeling.
Part of my issue with this book was that it seemingly glossed over the fact that Serafina was a recovering alcoholic. There was a flashback to the night of her initial realization and subsequent downfall that led to her enter into AA. Yet after that, it was as if she was magically cured of her addiction. While she could no longer enjoy alcohol, she was never tempted to drink again, even during the social gatherings of the Back Room Babes. I’m not saying I wanted to see her struggle; on the contrary, I wanted to see her actually recover. I understand that everyone’s recovery experience is different but I think there could have been a more accurate depiction of what recovery entails. p>
The most irritating part for me was that Sera’s issues were juxtaposed with asinine plot lines. They were meant to serve as comic relief but ending up just annoying me and taking up the majority of the story that could have been better served elsewhere (like anything involving Aunt Pauline and her lover, the Back Room Babes, and the crabby baker that Sera hires).
Fields barely manages to throw in a love interest for Sera: Asher Wolf (no comment from me about the last name) the mysterious landlord. He was a really interesting character whom I would have loved to learn more about. Not only was he adept at managing real estate; he bred huskies and designed jewelry! Could a girl ask for anything more? Apparently not, since we don’t get to learn that much more about him.
All that was needed was the bad guy – in this case, Sera’s ex boyfriend, Blake, the renowned chef who blackballed her to the NYC pastry business. And boy, did he deliver. Chef Blake, could have had a career as a Bond villain; down to stroking his mustache and cackling while plotting Sera’s horrible demise. Just when Sera experiences success, Blake (randomly) shows up in Santa Fe set on destroying her (his words). He was flamboyant enough to counter Asher’s masculinity (I mean, come on, the guy is a pastry chef and says stuff like “ I’ve never had a mousse so bloody delightful”). Anyway, I digress: I understand that he was a representation of Sera’s past conflicts, but this guy was totally over the top and not worthy way for Sera to discover her own worth.
Chef Blake just gets piled into the overly abundant cast of characters. I would have loved a little less of them and a lot more development of the major ones. This is the first contemporary for Fields and I would be interested in reading more from her as she becomes a more developed writer. Overall, reading this book is like enjoying a piece of cake, but without the calories