Lucille is unhappily ensconced in the Brittlebone School for Professional Ladies when she takes a leap of faith and talks her way into Lord Fondant’s estate. But the Lord is a Lady, who smirks and acquiesces when Lucille begs her to pretend they are engaged to be married.
Fiona has assumed leadership of the Fondant family, which includes creating confections for their upscale Pebble and Fig sweet shop. Taken by the forceful personality of Lucille when she trespasses, Fiona accepts her as an apprentice but finds herself falling for her beauty and brilliance.
They find themselves spending a lot of time together giggling and baking and sometimes arguing while discovering they need each other more than they could have imagined.
The author begins with a sweet trigger warning at the very beginning of the book, for depictions of anxiety and illness among other things. The book itself is set in a magical world with Regency Era trappings and sensibilities that evoke a strong sense of wonder all the way through.
With whimsy and breezy banter throughout, the story as a whole is a pleasant mashup of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, for an adult audience. Fiona and Lucille are realistic in their fears and expectations, giving it a solid grounding.
Pros And My Favourite Parts
I was happy all the way through with how well the magical setting was maintained. Fiona’s fantastically large estate has gingerbread servants, a pet chocolate tortoise, furniture that wriggles with happiness and a chocolate pool where swimming is encouraged.
Both she and Lucille have issues that the other must deal with for them to fall in love and accept love in return. Fiona is agoraphobic with some physical difficulties that sometimes become too painful to endure. Lucille has horrible parents who have created a painful self-doubt that she struggles with even with Fiona’s care. And both of them do care for each other in meaningful ways that are a joy to see.
The reader spends a long time in this slow burn romance with many misunderstandings and false starts. The era they live in, and the hefty emotional baggage they both carry at the beginning are factors in the slow romance. Along the way there is a lot of meticulous baking of wonderous confections that sees them being in turn playful and short tempered with each other. I had to look up a lot of words because of the baking and period clothing, and I do enjoy learning new words.
There are an unfortunate number of typos and misplaced words.
Lucille and Fiona have a sometimes rocky romance as they bake sweet confections and love in a secluded magical estate full of wonders. Caring for each other is easy; letting the other in is more difficult.
The story begins magically and maintains the wonder and creativity in a Wonka-like manor. Fiona and Lucille are sometimes prickly with each other but slowly come to care deeply for each other sweetly and organically. I was sad to see the end of the book because I enjoyed their world very much.
Excerpt from Sweet Nothings and Other Confections by Sula Sullivan
“What is this?” The plant was fibrous and reminded her vaguely of cactus but there were no spines. Perhaps it was another sort of succulent. The smell of vanilla wafted up to her nose.
“It’s a vanilla extract plant,” Fiona said.
“That’s an oxymoron… you must have a vanilla plant to extract the essence.” Lucille said, peering down at the plant.
“Oh no.” Fiona said, “This is a special plant.”
Fiona bent down and pulled out her swinging knife. She nicked the stem and sap oozed out. “You’ll find the garden is full of wonders like this.”
“I’ll have to explore it more.” Lucille said, eyes still wide.
Fiona nodded. “Pick as much as you’d like. Have you eaten?”
“Oh, no.” Lucille said, dusting herself off.
“Come let us make our way to the dining room.” Fiona said, taking her hand lightly and helping her up.
Lucille stopped in the middle of the hallway as they re-entered the manor and stared down at the floor. “This mosaic, what is it made of?”
“Oh.” Lucille in a mystified tone as they continued walking.
As Fiona and Lucille entered the formal dining area, the dining room tables slid themselves out and stamped their legs excitedly like horses clambering in a carriage line.
“Did they just move?” Lucille said, jumping back.
“Yes.” Fiona said, taking her seat at the head of the table. The seat to her left wiggled playfully.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 979-8-9860244-5-5
Publisher: Indie Author
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