Buttercream. Vanilla. Fondant. Dark chocolate. Brown sugar. Molasses. Baking has always been my true love, but it wasn’t until my mother’s death, and the unexpected inheritance of Serendipity Gardens, that my bliss called me. Bittersweet. But Serendipity Gardens has more to offer than just a potential shopfront. An unusual recipe box left to me by a distant relative might be the key to unlocking my dreams.
Too bad the most powerful family in Chancellor has plans that could turn those dreams to ruins—literally.
Too bad the son of that powerful family is just the kind of guy I’ve been looking for.
I suppose being heir to the Hunter family’s Blushing Grape Winery should make me happy, but nothing could be further from the truth. With my mother gone, my father has taken me under his wing, and I despise everything about the way he does business. Sour grapes, indeed. Instead of raising money for charitable causes, my true passion, I’m chasing my father’s manifest destiny.
Too bad his dream includes paving paradise.
Too bad the property owner is the sweetest woman I’ve ever met.
They say the course of true love never runs smooth.
But that’s nothing a magical cupcake can’t solve.
"HOLDING THE WHISK TIGHTLY, I swirled the pale-yellow batter around the bowl, the sweet scents of vanilla, brown sugar, and bitter dark chocolate perfuming the air. Even though it was a cool autumn morning, the heat from the oven made the kitchen feel toasty warm."
Julie, a red-haired dreadlock beauty, loves to bake scrumptious desserts. All she's ever wanted was to have her own restaurant or bakery where she can live out her passion. Her mom never wanted this because according to her there was no money in it. The result is that Julie's miserable, failing her classes, and about to lose her scholarship. Her mom has passed away and she can't decide whether she follows her mother's dream or her own. A property her family inherits might be the opportunity for her to choose once and for all what she wants out of life.
"I gazed across the shop. The possibilities were limitless, but the one thing that needed to be there was me. My heart felt it with more certainty that anything I’d felt since Mom had died. I needed that neglected place as much as it needed me. What we would do together, I wasn’t sure quite yet, but that was nothing a pumpkin spice latte couldn’t remedy."
Horatio's father has been on a rampage ever since his wife died - Horatio's mother. He's being pulled in two directions too - his father's demands or his own passion that he shares with his deceased mother. While trying to meet his father's demands he meets Julie, a sweet, polite, but not to be taken lightly girl who's in his way of a property his father insists he obtains. Julie and Horatio are on the verge of a decision - live the life their parents want or the lives they want to live.
"Nothing was ever good enough for Dad. Nothing. And now that Mom was gone, his temper and impatience were worse than ever. He hadn’t even asked about the charity event. My achievements meant nothing to him. The only thing that mattered was what he wanted."
The Cupcake Witch was a wonderfully feel good novella. I've been reading a lot of serious reads so it's been a while since I've been able to enjoy a sweet read like this. The setting is a small town that has that feel. Everyone seems to be friends with each other and I thought it was a perfect setting for Julie and Horatio's story. All the characters were very good-natured. Julie and Horatio were struggling with a major decision in life. I could feel how much they wanted to please their parents but also how miserable they were doing so. Their romance was a bit fast paced. However, the story and it being a novella had me not too bothered by the pace but enough that I think other readers might find fault with that aspect of the story.
"Rayne had bent down and was helping up the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. Her red hair flowed down her back, a pile of real estate signs were heaped at her feet, and she was nursing a cut in her thumb—an injury that, clearly, I had caused. Great. What a wonderful day this was turning out to be. And thanks to my dumb luck, I’d just made the worst first impression on the one person I’d needed the most."
There was some wonderfully delicious dessert imagery which I was, of course, thrilled to read about. I've been on a Food Network binge so the time I read The Cupcake Witch worked out nicely. I loved the concept of a cupcake witch or really a hearth witch. It's kind of nice thinking that magic can be anywhere even in the food we make. The only thing I couldn't believe was that there weren't any recipes! That would have taken the story higher in my mind. One detail that didn't escape me was that the cover has a red-haired dreadlocked girl just like Julie! Such a cool consistent thing to discover.
"The earthy, slightly spicy, taste of the lavender mixed with hints of lemon and honey. The cupcake melted in my mouth the way Mom’s pineapple upside down cake used to do. The cupcake’s lavender flavor, melding with Rayne’s honey, took me back."
I'd love to see what else Poppy Lawless has in store. If it was anything like this tasty story it sure to be a sweet read.
About the Author
Poppy Lawless is the author of the forthcoming series Love & Chocolate releasing in 2015 and The Glass Mermaid. Poppy holds degrees in English and Psychology. She is a counselor in the field of mental health and is a trained herbalist. Poppy's new series blends the best of romance with a Practical Magic or contemporary Bewitched appeal.
Thanks to YA Book Bound Tours for providing me with The Cupcake Witch in exchange for an honest review!