In this delectable novel—complete with recipes—Jennifer Ross frosts a sweet story of a young woman fulfilling her dreams, one delicious cupcake at a time. In Ansley Waller’s world of Southern belles and gentlemen, getting a diamond ring isn’t just important—it’s the ultimate goal. So when her fiancé, Parish, unceremoniously kicks her to the curb and cancels their upcoming wedding, Ansley is so ashamed that she decides to leave Dallas and make a fresh start. In a surprise move, she heads to New York City to live with her recently widowed grandmother, Vivian, whom she’s never met. In turn, Vivian gives Ansley a no-nonsense ultimatum: Rather than wallow in misery, either get a job or go home.
The Waller women have a tradition of baking their way out of sorrow. So Ansley mixes batch after batch of creative cupcakes—Black Bottom Heartache, Moving Blues Banana Caramel, Tres Leches Made Small. Before long, she’s opening up her own cupcake shop and even trying her hand at dating. But the ways of Manhattan’s eligible bachelors are altogether different from their Southern counterparts, and Ansley’s nearly fail-safe tactics fall flat. And worse, someone’s got a half-baked scheme to sabotage Ansley’s new life. It’ll take a cup of courage and a dash of Southern charm, plus a few secret ingredients, if Ansley hopes to pull off her recipe for success.
I love stories centered around desserts or a bakery and this was definitely that kind of book. It’s not a romance but it was still an enjoyable read. This book follows Ansley Waller as she makes the move from Dallas (her beloved hometown) to New York after a humiliating break up with her fiance and tries to find a new path for her life to take.
Ever since Ansley was a little girl, all she’s ever aspired to be was a wife and mother. She grew up with the rich crowds and she was debutante and being a wife and mother was naturally what she would have done with her life after college. She had it made when she got engaged to Parish but once she let her nice facade fall off and showed her true colors (which weren’t all that nice), Parish wanted out.
I couldn’t fault Parish for wanting to break up with Ansley because after he proposed and she accepted, gone was the nice, happy go lucky girl he thought was marrying and in her place was a woman who talked about people behind their backs and made everyone feel uncomfortable with how direct and hurtful her “advice” was. She yelled at the help when she didn’t get exactly what she wanted and when her sisters needed her comfort, she didn’t mince words when telling them what was what. When we first meet Ansley in this story, I didn’t like her at all. She was a total bitch and I thought it was going to be interesting to see how things fall into place for her.
Ansley runs away from Dallas and goes to live with her grandmother (her mother’s mother) in New York. She’s not running away to find herself, she’s running away because she’s embarrassed about being dumped by Parish. Now that she’s not getting married, she has no idea what to do with her life. The only thing that she finds herself doing while she’s there is baking cupcakes. Her grandmother gives her eight weeks to find a job and until then, she wants Ansley to make dinner and help her search through her husband’s old financial documents because the IRS is about to audit her ass and she needs to be ready for them.
Before Ansley knows what’s what, she’s purchasing a three year lease on a business building and making plans to open a bakery. In between trying out new recipes and setting up everything she needs to get the bakery up and running, she’s helping Vivian sort through Vivian’s late husband’s affairs. With the help of her new friend Dot, the bakery stuff seems to fall into place and while all of that is happening, she’s falling into a total crush mode on Thad, the guy that works for her grandmother. Thad doesn’t like Ansley and seeing the things that Ansley does to get his attention made me laugh.
All in all, this was a good read. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Ansley’s bakery come to life. From the brainstorming to the purchasing of the building to the construction and the recipe building, I thought it was all so interesting and well written. I was rooting for this to work out for Ansley because I saw the growth in her. She truly did seem to be sorry for the person that she was and genuinely wanted to change things around for herself and I came to respect her for it all.
But as much as I enjoyed all of that, I felt like the ending was rushed and didn’t mesh well with the rest of the story. I thought that Parish’s quick forgiveness of Patty and then Thad’s quick forgiveness of Dot made no sense and made me hate the both of them. I wasn’t done being mad at both Dot and Patty for what they did to Ansley and Parish’s ass backward proposal to Ansley made me want to punch him the face. I liked Thad and I wanted a better ending for him and Ansley, especially because I never got why he didn’t like Ansley so much in the beginning. As great as Dot was to Ansley, I still didn’t like her and didn’t think she suffered enough for what she did and then there was Patty. Oh I wanted to run her ass over with a bulldozer and then back up twice. What a bitch she turned out to be and I hated that after all was said and done, after everything that Ansley did to turn her life around, she still ended up alone. I wasn’t a fan of that but aside from those issues, I liked the other parts of the book enough to give this book a 3 instead of anything less than that.
I guess my romantic heart wanted a happy ending for Ansley, a better ending than she got in this one.
Grade: 3 out of 5.