On a fictional British baking show with three judges, Sylvie Fairchild works her magic with cake and frosting. At least, until the week one of her fanciful cakes assaults one of the judges, Dominic De Vere, and the two fall madly in love.
Sort of. There’s a little bit of story between the beginning and the end.
Sylvie and Dominic are not quite enemies. Though their rival bake shops are across the street from one another, they aren’t competing for the same customers. Dominic is white-on-white elegance and Sylvie is wonder-filled colorful splashes of color and flavor. When England’s princess announces her engagement, The Firm wants Dominic. The princess wants Sylvie. Of course. Who will win the job?
With her usual skill, Parker saves the pair from the grumpy/sunshine trope by layering in a number of challenges for both our leads. Sylvie is struggling with another coffee shop that seems to be stealing some of her more inventive ideas. Dominic has family drama that he’s trying to move past. And, together, the two take it upon themselves to uncover a secret about the princess’s late favorite uncle. Does it sound like a lot? It is, but Parker paces it all well.
Though this story checks all of Parker’s usual boxes, Battle Royal is one I haven’t gone back to repeatedly in the months since I first read it. I like Sylvie. I like Dominic. I like them together. But it didn’t sparkle like some of her other books. I wish I could identify where it didn’t resonate.
In any event, any Lucy Parker is better than average, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to a non-romance reader. There’s enough there to appeal to those who don’t call the genre home.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in order to facilitate this review.