Author: Meg Donohue
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Contemporary/Chick Lit
Size: 352 pages
Release Date: March 13th 2012
Publisher: William Morrow/HarperCollins
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | BN | The Book Depository
Funny, free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated, ambitious Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clair’s housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls who know nothing of class differences and scholarships could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.
A decade later, Annie is now a talented, if underpaid, pastry chef who bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death. Julia, a successful businesswoman, is tormented by a painful secret that could jeopardize her engagement to the man she loves. When a chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, they must overcome past hurts and a mysterious saboteur or risk losing their fledgling business and any chance of healing their fractured friendship.
Meg Donohue's writing style and pacing of the novel were perfect. I loved how the narration took turns every other chapter between Anna and Julia. I'm finding that I am really enjoying this trend of dual POVs...more than two and I tend to find that it takes away from the novel. The characters of both Anna and Julia got under my skin quicker than I would have thought...I don't always find myself making quick connections to characters in Chick Lit but this book was the exception. I liked them both immediately and was sucked into their fears and secrets, hopes and dreams, more and more as the story developed.
This is primarily a story about friendship...what it means to really be a friend and how the bonds of friendship can transcend time, space and at times even betrayal. I loved slowly finding out the history behind Anna and Julia's friendship and eventual rift...and watching as time, hard work, trust and communication, mutual goals and a healthy dose of a mutual adversary...led them back to each other.
This is also a story about following one's dream and having the courage to make it happen. I for one can certainly confess to having had many a daydream about opening my own small business (a bookstore) and learning about how these two made it happen was tons of fun...I actually wouldn't have minded if more of the story focused on the nuts and bolts of getting their cupcakery up and running.
Add in a little romance and a dash of mystery and suspense and you have an amazing tale... What would it take to make this story almost perfect?? Cupcakes! Swoon-worthy, drool-worthy, "I need to go out and find a cupcakery at 1am in the morning" cupcakes! And that was precisely the final element that Donohue delivers by the dozen. Mmmmmmm....I'm getting hungry again right now.....