Thursday, November 7, 2013

(Blog Tour) The Marquess of Cake by Heather Hiestand

Title: The Marquess of Cake
Author: Heather Hiestand
Series: Redcakes, #1
Published: July 4, 2013 (Kensington)
Rating: Lunch Break Read
Format: Digital copy provided by Foreword Literary in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Scotch trifle fit for Queen Victoria, scones with clotted cream…Alys Redcake knows the way to a man’s heart. Yet she is unaware that with each morsel—and flash of ankle—she is seducing the handsome marquess frequenting her father’s tea shop. Unmarried at twenty-six, Alys’s first love is the family business. But thoughts of the gentleman’s touch are driving her to distraction…

With his weakness for sugar, the Marquess of Hatbrook can imagine no more desirable woman than one scented with cake and spice. Mistaking Alys for a mere waitress, he has no doubt she would make a most delicious mistress. And when he finds himself in need of an heir, he plans to make her his convenient bride. Yet as they satisfy their craving for one another, business and pleasure suddenly collide. Will Hatbrook’s passion for sweets—and for Alys—be his heart’s undoing?

There are few things in life I love more than a good historical romance, but baked goods rate right up there alongside those dashing cravat-induced swoons. So it's no surprise that Estelle thought of me when setting up the tour for Marquess of Cake.

I think the most interesting thing about this book might be that the hero, Michael, had hypoglycemia (or something along those lines, at least - I'm no medical professional). And as this was nineteenth century, the treatments were not known. He simply knew ways to self-medicate, including wholesome meals for longer stamina and sweets for a short-time high. But Michael loved sweets, something I could whole-heartedly identify with! Especially as Alys Redcake's sweets sounded divine.

Another thing I enjoyed about Marquess of Cake was that Michael and Alys were not victims of the all-powerful instalove. Although there was an immediate attraction, they first met when Alys waited on Michael's table in her family's bakery. They ran into each other a number of times after that, in various circumstances, some enjoyable, some not. While I would not say they had a slow burn relationship, I got to know the characters well before they truly acted on their attraction. And Alys was a character I truly enjoyed getting to know. She was not interested in marriage, preferring to pursue a career in business and baking. And she was always honest about this, from the very start. This was quite a change!

Surprisingly, there were quite a few more darker themes than I expected, since the title and cover seem to imply a lighter story. And while there was quite a bit of humor, it was balanced with real issues such as medical problems, death, family loyalty, and issues from Alys's past. But not to worry: it's a romance novel, so we still get our HEA!

I did have a few issues with Marquess of Cake. For one, the book seems to have a bit of an identity crisis, both looking and reading like a contemporary. And while this is not exactly bad, it was something that took a little getting used to. The plot did seem a little too contrived at times. The hero also had a couple moments of giant asshattery, which made it difficult for me to root for him.

I will say that I'm excited for the sequel, which comes out in December. It is about a character I was rather intrigued by, though we never really got to know him. I also hope that eventually, there will be a book about Alys's cousin, Lewis, too. He was one of my favorite side characters in Marquess of Cake. As a whole, while Marquess of Cake did have some flaws, it read quickly, and was sweet - in more ways than one, heh - and enjoyable!

Now, don't run off just yet! There is a giveaway! And be sure you check out the next stops on the tour:

November 08: Never Too Fond of Books
November 11: Zemfirka Blogs
November 12: The Reading Addict
November 13: Peace Love Books
November 14: Romantic Historical Lovers

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