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.
When Annie Quintana was a senior in high school her mother Lucia died. In a cruel twist of fate, that same year Annie’s best friend, Julia St. Clair turned on her, got her kicked out of her fancy prep school and nearly cost Annie her a chance to go to college. Ten years later Annie has built a good life for herself and has no desire to revisit her painful past. She is a master baker who has channeled her mother in the interceding years through her cooking. Though she never found her mother’s original cookbook, Annie has been able to cobble together what she remembers of her mother’s recipes to create the most scrumptious cupcakes. But as we all know, fate often has plans for us that we don’t anticipate or desire.
Here’s what I liked:
*Annie: she is just a delightful character who (like me!) has a tendency to resort to sarcasm and humor when she is nervous. I like that Annie, in a roundabout way, makes the decision (kind of) to confront her past and her ex-best friend, Julia St. Clair. Annie is never going to live the life she has earned without exorcising the demons that still haunt her.
*Julia: I really didn’t want to like Julia but as the plot begins to unfold liking her is pretty much inevitable. She may be rich, beautiful and successful but Julia has demons of her own that she is trying desperately to ignore. Reconnecting with Annie not only helps the two women heal their shared past wounds but also allows Julia to deal with her current demons and move on to the life she deserves.
*The Mystery: Saying too much here would be spoilery and tacky so I will just say this: you kind of don’t see this element coming at the beginning of the read and that is what makes it so intriguing.
*The Cupcakes and the Cupcakery: The recipes and descriptions of how the cupcakes look, smell, and taste is one of the highlights of this read for me. The descriptions and the cupcakes are so rich and vivid that you can all but taste what Annie is baking. Thank God you can’t gain weight from imagining yourself eating a cupcake J By the same taken, the cupcakery that Annie and Julia create together is magnificent. Again, the descriptions are spot on and are so well-worded that I could absolutely envision what Treat looks like. Plus, it’s a place that smells like and sells nothing but goodness, how can this not be on the “What I Liked” list?
The Bottom Line: I can’t honestly say I jumped for joy over the awesomeness of this read but I did truly enjoy it. It is a solid and well-written novel with endearing characters, a tiny bit of mystery, a tiny bit of romance, and a whole lot of feel-good moments. Also, it is a stand-alone so you won’t have to worry about what came before and/or what comes next; everything is tied up neatly at the end. Enjoy!