- Release Date
- March 2016
- Book 7 of Redcakes
The sweetest treat is a kiss…
Greggory Redcake's plate is full. Widowed young and left with two small children, the manager of the Kensington location of the illustrious tea shop is besieged on all sides between the bakery and family matters. If only his remarkably efficient shop assistant, Betsy Popham, could manage his home life, too! But Greggory can't linger on thoughts of Betsy's fetching smile when a dead body is discovered in the bakery…
Betsy has no time for romance, not even with the delectable Mr. Redcake, whose kisses are all too unforgettable. Haunted by a specter from her family's past, Betsy is terrified that the man blackmailing her has turned to deadly violence. Yet the only way to save her position--and possibly her life--is to accept Greggory's help as their delicious attraction sweetens into the tantalizing promise of true love…
Apr 20, 2016 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
75 people found the following review helpful
TRIFLING FAVORS by Heather Hiestand is a tumultuous Victorian drama that feels ready for BBC television production. While I felt the ending was too abrupt, the rest of the novel was a good read. I give it 3 stars.
In the novel, Betsy Popham is the daughter of a convicted and executed murderess. She carries a lot of emotional baggage from Bristol to London where she works for the Redcake family at their bakery and tea shops. After being blackmailed by a flagship employee, she breaks off her relationship with the man she loves and ultimately is promoted to assistant manager at the Kensington tea shop, which is owned by Greggory Redcake. She works hard, and as long as she keeps paying the blackmailers, she feels she can move on with her life. Unfortunately, the negative forces in her life have other plans.
Greggory Redcake, widower with challenging twin infants, has trouble keeping a nursemaid, nurse or nanny for his children because of the children's sleep difficulties. Those challenges have dominoed into Redcake's professional realm, but Redcake is fortunate to have hard-working and efficient Betsy Popham to pick up the slack. That is, until he begins to have more romantic interests in her. When a known jewel thief is killed in the tea shop one evening, so begins another drama-filled chain reaction in their lives. With the murder unsolved and continued vandalism at the tea shop, business dwindles, and Betsy is left wondering: if she doesn't have the tea shop, what does she have? While Redcake tries to convince her that she has him, her past causes her to doubt every relationship in her life.
Overall, I enjoyed this story, though it was a difficult read. Even with a female monarch, respect for women's intelligence and a role outside the home is still lacking in society in general. And so with that prejudice, and a soft-hearted father, Betsy has virtually no protection from lying schemers and cheats. Sometimes I was angry with Betsy, wondering why she acted like a doormat, but then I remembered the times and put myself in her shoes and became angry about the injustice. Regardless of what has happened *to* Betsy, she still makes her own choices, including giving in to emotions of guilt and insecurities.
The characters in the novel are difficult and complex. Just when you think you have an understanding of one of them, they surprise you. In this sense, the novel paints a realistic picture of life and people's relationships.
The romance is believable to a certain degree. There were a couple times where I would have liked a sentence or two explaining why a character has changed their mind or is acting on impulse, when such actions were seemingly out of character. The romance is graphic, making this novel appropriate for adults only. Given the harsh realism of most of the novel, teenagers probably wouldn't be interested in this novel anyway. While the romance plot line was realistic, the resolution at the end was just a bit too quick and neat for me. Betsy had a complete about face with no real insight into her thoughts or reasons behind the turnabout.
While the romance is a primary plot line of this novel, the murder mystery is a very close second, and the big reveal will completely surprise you. Often I can pick out the guilty party early on, but not here. My theories were all wrong. I enjoy being surprised like that.
On the technical side, there were a few typographical and editing errors, some inconsistencies in the facts, and some word choice issues that hindered the flow of my reading. The story unravels at a slow but steady pace, which is another reason why the ending was so seemingly abrupt, but each scene does its job of moving the plot forward – no fluff scenes here.
I can definitely recommend this novel to any lover of Victorian-period drama.
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