Ten years ago, just out of college, San Francisco department store heiress Cassie Blake chose a life in Berkeley as a professor’s wife and a volunteer in an educational organic garden; now her husband might be cheating, and her mother is luring her back to Fenton’s with a gourmet food emporium.
When Cassie Blake discovers her husband, an ethics professor, has cheated on her at least once, she flees Berkeley to stay in a Presidio Heights mansion with her best friend, Alexis, the rich, bored wife of a hedge fund manager who constantly flies all over the world. Cassie’s mother, Diana Fenton, takes the opportunity to press Cassie back into the family business, asking her to oversee the store’s conversion of a full floor into a high-end gourmet food market. When once Cassie would have declined out of hand, her unsettling marriage situation leads her to agree to managing the design and the grand opening. More troubling is the quick attraction she feels toward James, the architect of the project, and the increased tension she feels with her husband, who resents her work and puts pressure on her to forgive him for his small indiscretion and come home. With the life she loved crumbling, Cassie must ask herself some unwelcome questions about who she is, what she wants and what’s worth fighting for. Set against the backdrop of glamorous high-society San Francisco, this is an entertaining, satisfying women’s fiction novel that reads like a reverse fairy tale but still ends happily. Hughes has a witty, charming writing style and the ability to create characters that are both larger than life and down to earth (Alexis, in particular, and her motley crew of ultrarich society scions). There is humor, wit and style, all of which enrich the arc of Cassie’s journey to true, authentic happiness.
A warm, sparkling and heartfelt novel that explores the power of second chances in life, in love and in following our dreams.