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by Meg Donohue

Pub Date: March 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-206928-3
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

A little friendship, a little wit and a little mystery make for a charming debut about two old friends reconciled after starting a cupcakery (a bakery specializing in cupcakes).

Annie Quintana and Julia St. Claire have an unusual relationship. Raised like sisters, there is a gulf between them—Annie’s mother Lucia was nanny and cook to the St. Clair family. The distance between the Pacific Heights carriage house and the mansion may be measured in yards, but as the girls entered high school, it became an impossible distance. Ten years after graduation (which coincided with a prep-school scandal and Lucia’s untimely death), Annie and Julia meet again at a St. Claire fundraiser. Annie, now a talented pastry chef, is catering and surprised to see a subdued Julia, who has quit her job in finance and moved back into the manse to plan her wedding. Annie hasn’t forgiven Julia for her past transgressions, and Julia has conveniently forgotten all about them, which makes for some awkwardness when Julia offers to finance Annie’s cupcake shop. As Julia promises to bow out after her wedding, Annie agrees to a business partnership, but every meeting is colored by her anger and Julia’s nonchalance. What Annie doesn’t know: Julia is depressed, recovering from a serious trauma and unsure if she should marry Wes, who may be too good for her. And what Julia doesn’t know about Annie: she’s dating her high school sweetheart and knows the truth about what Julia did to destroy her reputation. In the meantime, their cupcakery is a grand success—except for the frequent vandalism, notes telling them to get out and a frightening man in a hoodie who is always lurking in the shadows. When the truth is finally revealed, it brings real danger to Julia and Annie, who have finally learned to be the sisters they were meant to be.   

Despite the sugary title, Donohue has written a sharp little novel featuring the subtle characterizations of two appealingly flawed young women.