Author: Lucy Parker
Series: Palace Insiders, book 1
Publisher: Avon (August 17, 2021)
Paperback, 384 pages
Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance
Four years ago, Sylvie Fairchild charmed the world as a contestant on the hit baking show, Operation Cake. Her ingenious, colorful creations captivated viewers and intrigued all but one of the judges, Dominic De Vere, the hottest pastry chef in London. When her glittery unicorn cake went spectacularly sideways, Dominic was quick to vote her off the show. Since then, Sylvie has managed to use her fame to help fulfill her dream of opening a bakery, Sugar Fair. 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, the go-to for sweet-toothed A-List celebrities, and a veritable British institution. He’s brilliant, talented, hard-working. And an icy, starchy grouch. Learning that the irksome 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’re both determined 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?
Who doesn’t love an opposites attract, grumpy/sunshine, enemies to lovers trope? Plus there is a BAKING CONTEST SHOW, which – hello, yes please. Just be sure to have lots of tasty baked goods/sweets on hand, because this book is HUNGRY MAKING.
There was a lot going on with Battle Royal plotwise, and I think sometimes it got to be a bit TOO much. I wish there’s been more of a focus on the baking show, but it kept pulling away to the royal storylines and family storylines and… I just want reality TV dramaaaa!
I love the chemistry between Sylvia and Dominic – swoon. She’s all fairy lights and cauldrons of bubbling highly alcoholic drinks, and he’s all neutral color palettes and structured lines, but deep down they’ve both suffered a similar sort of loss and have built up walls to protect themselves. It’s just lovely to see them learn to let those walls down – or crack through them – together. I definitely laughed at how they’re supposed to be rivals but are both just such genuinely good people that they can’t help but help each other.
This is the first book in the Palace Insiders series, and can be read as a stand alone. I am VERY much looking forward to book two, which I hope is about Pet and a certain very large bodyguard!!
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.