About Marquess of Cake:
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?
Excerpt from the ARC (pp. 14-16):
(to give you a 'taste' of Alys and her sisters)
“It was about time Mother hired us a dressmaker,” Rose
Redcake opined loudly from her pose in front of a floor-length mirror as Alys dashed into the shared dressing room.
Their other sister, Matilda, nodded from her perch on a rich red velvet sofa.
Rose continued, twisting her thick locks into a knot at the top of her head. “Father must allow us to dress for our new position in society.”
Their father had been spending a great deal of money lately, and not just on their mother. He had bought this Georgian house on St. James’s Square just two years ago from an earl. Last week, he’d purchased a country estate in Sussex, a parcel of property the Duke of Devonshire had been discarding. Alys found this purchase worrisome. She couldn’t understand why her father would buy a home so far away from his industrial base in Bristol, the mills and baking factories that had made him wealthy. The Tea Shop and Emporium she adored was merely the diamond in his crown.
“The shops are lovely here,” Matilda argued. “I’ve found the most beautiful dresses at Liberty and Co.”
“Ready-made,” Rose sniffed. “Machine lace.”
“Eighteen and already a snob,” Alys sighed, dropping onto a padded ottoman next to her youngest sister.
“Please change out of that uniform before you leave Redcake’s,” Rose said. “You look like a maid.”
Alys looked down at her sensible dress with affection. One of the best perks of holding a position was wearing comfortable clothing much of the time. “At least I don’t have to lace my corset so tightly that I risk swooning, unlike some young ladies I know.”
“One must suffer for fashion,” Rose wheezed.
The discussion was cut short by their mother’s entrance, along with a short, stout dressmaker and her two frightened-looking assistants.
“The girls need reception gowns for an affair at Buckingham Palace.” Ellen Redcake floated her left hand next to her cheek, as graceful as any dancer.
“Sensible,” Alys said. “Something we can wear again, in our regular lives.”
“Silk,” Matilda insisted.
“Fit for the Palace.” Rose made a grand gesture with her pinky pointed.
“Everyone at this investiture is on the rise,” their mother said.
“Who knows who you might meet there?”
“I know what I would like,” Matilda said.
“No pink, Matilda,” their mother said. “It clashes with your hair.”
“But I love pink,” Matilda cried.
“No man will find you attractive in pink. You’re twenty-one now, dear, it’s time to be careful.” She raised a hand. “Alys, twenty-six isn’t too old to wed.”
“I don’t want a husband,” Alys muttered. Her mother could even dangle that handsome marquess from Redcake’s in front of her and she’d still say no.
“All women want husbands. You simply require a very special man.” She tilted her head into a dreamy pose.
Alys focused on the dressmaker, hoping she could be measured first. She had a new idea for a wedding cake decoration she was dying to experiment with before a wedding consultation the next day.
Unfortunately, the dress discussion went on for hours, as Matilda wanted romance, Rose wanted something fit for a duke’s daughter, and Alys wanted something severely tailored.
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The Marquess of Cake by Heather Hiestand is a fun historical romance that reflects the exciting changes that occurred during the Industrial Revolution as it follows the adventures of a couple of families which become entwined as Michael Shield, Marquess of Hatbrook, pursues his love of sweets and becomes acquainted with the Redcake family. Alys Redcake has trouble becoming reconciled to the change in her family’s status when her father is knighted, especially when it means that she will be barred from creating more of her wondrous cake creations which have helped make her family’s progressive Tea Shop and Emporium so popular. She and Michael enter into an arrangement under somewhat strained circumstances but discover that they will have to re-evaluate their goals if they are ever going to be as successful in love as they have been in business.
This intriguing historical romance offers a different perspective of life in England as the addition of mechanized inventions changes the Victorian world. The rigid class lines are altered and the upheaval that this causes is touched upon as one family rapidly changes in status but I was a bit disappointed in the shallow natures depicted for Alys’ sisters and the unwitting damage that is caused by their father’s embracing his family’s rise in society. I found the allusions to diabetes and gall bladder issues to be an interesting addition to the story and look forward to reading more about the clever inventions being developed by Alys’ cousin. There are multiple dangling threads which hopefully will tie in to the next book in the series and I look forward to discovering new ways the world is improved even as I fear for the revelation of even more dark secrets which seem to be part of these tales. I thought that this was a refreshing look at a rapidly changing society and look forward to reading more tales by this author.
(submitted to Night Owl Reviews
a copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review)
And, the sequel is due out December 5: One Taste of Scandal
One Taste of Scandal (Amazon link)
An eBook copy of Marquess of Cake open to U.S. residents only. Please leave a comment with a valid e-mail address and tell us what your favorite type of cake (or other dessert) is. Winner will be chosen by Random.org after November 23, 2013.
Other tour stops:
November 08: Never Too Fond of Books
November 11: Zemfirka Blogs
November 13: Peace Love Books
November 14: Romantic Historical Lovers