I love this layer cake of a book. I planned to read my 6 other advance reader copies that will all be published in May before I tackled Battle Royal, but I have very little impulse control and Lucy Parker is my catnip. I read it in one day and then I was going to wait to review it, but here we are. I recommend having access to the confections of your choice (boozy confections would be appropriate, unless they wouldn’t) and a couple of boxes of tissue when you read it.
Dominic and Sylvie met when she was a contestant on the baking competition he judged. He felt she was style over substance, and getting smacked in the head by her exploding unicorn cake cemented that impression. She finds him humorless, uptight, and overly fond of the white to cream spectrum of color. Five years after the unicorn cake to the head incident, Dominic and Sylvie own bakeries across the street from each others and are about to become co-workers on the baking competition show. They are also in competition to make the wedding cake for the granddaughter of the queen. Dominic is not the tight-rumped curmudgeon he seems and Sylvie is working hard to make her fantasy sugar playland a viable and enduring business. They have a lot in common.
For a frothy, cake based romance, grief plays a big role. Grief shapes the lives of the characters in good ways and bad, driving their choices, but also holding them in stasis and apart from others. In Battle Royal, grief is an aspect of love, not to be rejected, but folded in as a part of the dynamics of love. It gives depth and nuance to the joy and the humor in the book. Battle Royal was such a pleasure to read. I knew it would be good, but I still wasn’t prepared for how much I loved it.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.