Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
My feelings for Alexis Hall’s Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake are complicated: some really cool things are happening but it just doesn’t totally engage my heart.
Single mom Rosaline Palmer feels like she hasn’t lived up to her parents’s goals & isn’t providing the life she wants for her daughter.
But she loves baking & though she isn’t fully confident in her decision she signs up for a baking reality tv show a la GBBO.
The blurb clues you in to this dynamic, but on the way to production she meets Alain, a witty landscape architect. Soon after she meets other contestants, including Harry, a ripped electrician who calls her “love” until she asks him to stop & whose grammar grates on her.
This is a spoiler alert but for much of the book Rosaline is interested in & involved in a relationship of sorts—including sexually—w/ Alain, when he is not, of course, the one she will end up w/.
Throughout RPTTC we get glimpses that Alain isn’t the nicest person, which helps me w/ the love triangle-ish aspect.
We *also* see moments when Rosaline isn’t the *nicest* person; when she shows some of her least attractive & yet also some of her most relatable qualities: her strong desire to please & to judge.
While I’m a proponent of an imperfect heroine Rosaline’s portrayal doesn’t totally work for me, mostly bc I don’t think there’s enough self-awareness & reflection. That includes her snobbery...her awareness of which feels kinda surface level to me even when she’s apologizing to Harry.
Still, throughout RPTTC Rosaline grows in major ways & I cheered along.
In addition to Rosaline’s journey, I really like RPTTC’s wit, its gentle moments, its consideration of how others respond to Rosaline’s bisexuality, the intimacy in the sex scene b/t Rosaline & Harry. The way he encourages her to say what she wants & she encourages him to share his feelings throughout is lovely—though I yearned for more of a romantic declaration at the end.
I can’t wait to see what Hall writes next, obviously. But this one just doesn’t always work for me.
4 ⭐️. Release date: 5/18.
Give me that HEA, please.
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