A misunderstood millionaire pursues a widowed bakery owner in English author Knight’s debut novel.
It’s a wonderfully awkward moment when Holly Jefferson meets Ciaran Argyll while delivering an adult cake from his stepmother to his father, Fergal, to commemorate their divorce. Recently widowed and insecure, Holly isn’t ready to take a risk on a rich playboy whose exploits she’s read about in the tabloids. It doesn’t help when Fergal’s nasty mistress plants seeds of doubt in Holly’s mind about Ciaran’s intentions. Undeterred, Ciaran tries to win Holly over with increasingly grand gestures while Holly busies herself with a mysterious influx of cake orders and helps her pregnant sister prepare for the birth of her baby. These scenes offer little insight into Ciaran’s feelings, but they do show Holly putting more effort into her cakes than her personal life as she hops from party to party in sensible shoes rather than high heels and leaves the home renovations she started with her late husband unfinished. Meanwhile, Holly’s dead husband, Charlie, turns up so often in her conversations and dreams that it’s as if he's challenging Ciaran from the grave. After friends and family convince her to give Ciaran a chance, Holly reluctantly has her Cinderella moment at his charity ball. It’s refreshing that Holly doesn’t entirely fall victim to the makeover trope—she says yes to the dress but not to the spray tan—since her frumpy clothes are fitting for her job and are worn, in part, to mask her grief. When Holly finally opens up to Ciaran, she finds out that he’s not the spoiled womanizer she thought he was.
Heartfelt revelations (and a creative use of cake frosting) make for a satisfying ending to a pleasant read.