ROSALINE PALMER TAKES THE CAKE by Alexis Hall

Winner Bakes All, Book 1

From the publisher:

Fans of Casey McQuiston, Christina Lauren, and Abby Jimenez will love this scrumptious and sweet romantic comedy from the “dizzyingly talented writer” of Boyfriend Material (Entertainment Weekly)

Publishers Weekly Summer Reads Top 10 Staff Picks
Oprah Daily Most Anticipated Romance Novels of 2021
Buzzfeed Must-Read Spring Romance Novels
Goodreads Sexy Spring Romances
LGBTQ Reads: Most Anticipated Adult LGBTQAP Fiction 2021
We Are Bookish: Spring Releases to Have on Your Radar

Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.

Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory.  Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.

Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.


I really hate when books don’t live up to their hype and this one just didn’t do it for me. I loved the premise of the book; it’s set at a British Bakeoff clone TV show but the baking was so secondary to the plot, it could have been anywhere.

Spoiler alert: there may be some spoilers in this review.

The characters were mostly unlikeable, although The main character, Rosaline, was okay and I loved her precocious daughter Amelie. But even Rosaline wasn’t fully brought to life for me. I didn’t hate her but I also didn’t love her. I was sort of ambivalent, I guess?

I knew Alain was a dick from the get go, and I sort of understood why she was attracted to him but it took way too long for that to fizzle. So I didn’t love the plot, either. I did like Harry, probably more than any of the other characters, but didn’t really know much about him other than he was an electrician from a big family, was sweet to his nieces & nephews, was very good looking but used poor grammar. Not much to go on there.

The rest of the characters just never came to life for me, or were annoying, or just so one dimensional it didn’t even matter. I wanted the baking to be more integral to the story, and it just wasn’t. The book was divided into days (Tuesday, Friday, etc.) rather than chapters – not sure why that matters but there was something in the author’s note at the end about it. Overall, this was a very disappointing read. I love the Great British Bakeoff AKA The British Baking Show here in America, but this book did not do it justice. If you haven’t watched, it is one of the most binge-worthy shows on Netflix and you don’t have to be a baker to enjoy it. As the author of this book points out, Americans just love seeing how noncompetitive a British competition is, and it’s true.

I also learned that the author isn’t much of a baker, which may be why there is so little emphasis on that. This is the first book of a series, and I’m not entirely sure if I will read the next. I want some charm and humor in my British romcoms, and both were severely lacking here. All that said, the reviews are pretty good so if you do read it, I’d love to hear from you!

5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

ROSALINE PALMER TAKES THE CAKE by Alexis Hall. Forever (May 18, 2021). ISBN: 978-1538703328. 448 pages.

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