Trigger Warnings: loss of loved ones, child abuse mention, domestic abuse mention, physical harm and violence, cheating and infidelity, harassment and stalking, alcohol mention, sexual content
Genre: Romance, Adult, Contemporary
Publication date: 17th August, 2021
Publisher: Avon Books
Synopsis (taken from Author’s Website)
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?
Author Bio: Lucy Parker lives in the gorgeous Central Otago region of New Zealand, where she feels lucky every day to look out at mountains, lakes, and vineyards. She has a degree in Art History, loves museums and art galleries, and doodles unrecognizable flowers when she has writer’s block.
Her interest in romantic fiction began with a pre-teen viewing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Firth-style), which prompted her to read the book as well. A family friend introduced her to Georgette Heyer, and the rest was history.
**** eARC was provided by Netgalley for an honest review
When I tell you this book has me in a chokehold…….. lord
We all know that The Great British Bake Off is notorious for its very wholesome vibes in addition to some spectacular baking fiascos. Well, Lucy Parker said, “Lemme make a book that’s even FLUFFIER than that show,” and fucking delivered like no other.
Sylvie’s a former contestant from the show’s version of GBBO who is invited back to judge alongside the grumpy but hot judge, Dominic, who wasn’t the nicest to her when she was on. They’ve both got rather popular bakeries across the street from each other so the rivalry on TV also exists in their off screen professional lives. Their polar opposite sunshine and sparkle versus austere and serious imply a lifelong rivalry butttttttttttt that shit makes the best fucking romance dynamic EVERRRR.
Now what really butters my croissant is when Grumpy and Sunshine are perfect compliments. HOOOO BOI were these two. Throughout the book Sylvie and Dominic tease out the tenderness from each other, learn about how their lives parallel each others in the oddest of ways. Their life experiences and tragedies make it easier to understand each other and they pull through in providing each other with what they need most in times of need. I tell you I have never read a more perfect pairing in an enemies to lovers grumpy-sunshine dynamic I HAVE NOTTTT.
The ensemble cast is also so excellent. Dominic’s sister, Sylvie’s childhood best friend, the royal couple for whom they are commissioning the wedding cake, Sylvie’s deceptively innocent sugar sculptor….OOOOF. All of them are such incredibly perfect characters that fit into Dominic’s and Sylvie’s lives. Pet (Dom’s sister) and Johnny (Sylvie’s bff) both have significant subplots within the story that add dimension to the main romance in a really nuanced way.
The secondary characters and their subplots allow Sylvie and Dominic to each have a storyline outside of the main romance. It gave the story three individual narratives that each had separate climaxes and resolutions and upped the ante of the book. This did some wonderful things to the pacing of the book because during periods of intimacy building between the leads. The supposed lull (intimacy is no lull but for you plot driven folks it could be) was nonexistent because the story took time to address alternative conflicts.
Even the resolution was beautifully done. Just when you thought the climatic conflict was done OOP there’s another twist that’s thrown at you. So the last 20% of the book was just as exciting as the rest of the book. It’s not a swift tie-a-bow type ending. No, every single character gets a respectful ending that is addressed with love and care in the same way that Sylvie and Dominic care for each other.
This entire book is wrapped up in so much love and tenderness and my entire reading experience was just filled with so much chest tightening affection for every aspect of this book.
The third act conflict was perhaps the most telling about how I felt about this book because the ~incident~ that happened stalled my reading for a whole week. I was so so so anxious about what was to happen that I didn’t want to even think about anything bad happening to ANYONE in the book. So I pawned it off to a friend to read and give me a rundown on what happened. Once I got the green light I finished it and of course it wasn’t anything bad because it’s LICHERALLY a romance like nothing bad happened idk what I was so scared about. But that visceral reaction was enough to tell me this was a five star book and officially my all time favourite romance read so far.
Yes it has surpassed Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and that’s been unmatched for like four years now. Battle Royal takes the mantle alongside Talia Hibbert’s Brown Sisters series, THAT is how good this book is.
Also shout out to one spectacular smut scene plus a second one that is slightly less smutty but still chefs kiss.
Anyways, go read it because I will be screaming at every passing person to READ IT.
That’s all folks, see ya next time!