How To Eat A Cupcake by Meg Donohue
Publication date: March 01, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Funny, free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated, ambitious Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clair’s housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls who know nothing of class differences and scholarships could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.
A decade later, Annie is now a talented, if underpaid, pastry chef who bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death. Julia, a successful businesswoman, is tormented by a painful secret that could jeopardize her engagement to the man she loves. When a chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, they must overcome past hurts and a mysterious saboteur or risk losing their fledgling business and any chance of healing their fractured friendship.
Is it possible for two grown women, from differing socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, to put teenage hurts aside and become friends once again? This appears to be the underlying question in How To Eat A Cupcake by Meg Donohue. Although Annie Quintana and Julia St. Clair were close friends as children, their high school years were fraught with teenage mischief and abuse that led to a severed friendship. As adults, Annie and Julia are still at opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum, but Annie is comfortable in her new life. Julia has left behind her New York success to return to California and prepare for her wedding. Julia is looking forward to her marriage but feels that her life is somewhat lacking without a job to keep her time occupied. Fortunately Julia's mother has kept up with Annie's success as a pastry chef and hired her to provide pastries for an upcoming party.
Annie and Julia's forced reunion doesn't end in tears or chaos. It does end, surprisingly, with Julia taking an interest in Annie's talents that eventually ends with them becoming business partners in a cupcakery. While they work together on their business plans, it quickly becomes apparent that they have unfinished childhood business. It is only after they confront each other with their residual anger and hurt that they are able to move forward and develop a growing respect for one another's skills and forge ahead with their business plans.
Annie has specific ideas about where the cupcakery should be situated and they are hopeful that Annie's baking talents will bring in the wanted business. Before their business even gets off the ground they are faced with vandalism to their new cupcakery. Growing a business, planning a wedding and searching for Annie's mother's lost recipe book, all add drama and tension to a newly minted partnership and growing friendship.
Ms. Donohue has provided an intriguing tale into friendship between two women that are as different from one another as night and day. Annie has been able to make a success of her life despite the betrayal she suffered in high school at the hands of her closest friend, Julia. This was quickly followed by the death of her mother, the only family she really had. Julia experienced teen jealousy that resulted in the destruction of a friendship. She went on to become a successful businesswoman without giving much thought to the destruction she left behind. Both Annie and Julia have regrets and fears to overcome, but they do so tentatively as they work toward a new relationship built on trust in one another's business skills and knowledge. How To Eat a Cupcake isn't fraught with angst and turmoil, but it is filled with drama, a bit of intrigue, and a sense of wonder as two women find their way to becoming friends once again.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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