May 15, 2014

Book Review: Heartbreak Cake by Cindy Arora

At First Sight: Life should be sweet for pastry chef Indira Aguilar: she and her best friend Pedro own and run Cake Pan Shoppe - a small but trendy cake story that is quickly becoming a staple of the Laguna Beach community - and they are becoming a hit with the less traditional brides.

They even got in on the biggest wedding of the year, which is quite the coup even if the bride keeps changing her mind on the theme for the wedding.

But there is another side to Indira's life that isn't going so well: everything that has to do with Josh Oliver, her former boss at the Crystal Cover Resort, where Indira used to work.

With the return of Josh absentee wife Valentina a few months prior, and the end of Indira's affair with him, rumors start running wild in the community, threatening to take Indira's shop and pull it under, unless she can keep it together.

In the midst of all of it, she meets Noah, the hot new chef at Crystal Cove, who might be interested on being more than just friends.

Second Glance: I really loved Heartbreak Cake mostly because I really loved Indira. She's in her mid-thirties and striking out on her own professionally, confident in her skills set yet always trying to improve, she's smart and driven and has lots of talent. But she has also made lots of bad choices in her personal life. Her relationship with Josh was complicated as they come; and things weren't black and white at all. Plus, she recognizes she made a big mistake and ends things and deals with the fall out.

I respected her for it, in a way I rarely respect or even put-up with characters that indulge in wildly misguided love or romantic naiveté. Indira was one tough cookie and a decent one at that; and for me this book was really all about her and how she healed her own broken heart with the support of her family and her true friends, and the thing she loves doing the most: baking.

Yes, there is a very strong romantic element to the story - and Noah was a very nice and swoony love interest, I really liked him, even in his imperfections (like his stubbornness and bit of hot-headedness) - but Heartbreak Cake was about more than that, and definitely more chick lit than a straight romance.

Also, I loved how they book showed the curative power of baking, of creating, or just doing something that you really, really love. 

Bottom Line: Thumbs up for Heartbreak Cake. It's a charming debut novel with a very strong central character, a delightful cast of secondary characters - I particularly loved Simon and Pedro - and lots of baked goods (warning, though, this book will make you super hungry). And, in conclusion: croissants!

Favorite Quote: "One always needs hope after a break up, I think, as I remove the foil from the milk chocolate bar and begin to chop it. A beacon to remind you that you will survive and eventually, thrive" 
starstarstarstarPersonal Favorite  (Kissy Bear Likes Baked Goods!)
Love, Alex

This review is part of the Heartbreak Cake Blog Tour hosted by Fictionella. Click here for past and future tour stops. 

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