Hannah Robinson is just about to open the doors to her new shop Cupcakes on the Corner when out of the blue her boyfriend Patrick announces that he's leaving her for another woman.
Faced with starting a business on her own, Hannah begins to wonder if her life-long dream has just turned into a nightmare. So her best friend Adam sets his birthday as a deadline - seven months to make her shop a success, or walk away from it all. And as Hannah immerses herself in her new business, she soon discovers that she's too busy to think about Patrick and his now pregnant girlfriend ...or to notice an increasingly regular customer who has recently developed a sweet tooth for all things cupcake.
But while Hannah is slowly piecing her life back together, family friend Alice's is falling apart. Her husband Tom's drinking is getting out of control and things are about to get a whole lot worse. As the seven-month milestone approaches, Hannah must decide her future. And while she's figuring out what's really important, it becomes clear to everyone that happiness in life, and in love, is all in the making.
On the surface this book looks like the story of Hannah and her dealing with the opening of her cupcake shop along with her coping with the desertion of her boyfriend...with maybe a few other issues thrown into the mix. But what this book really is about is the life and times of an entire town and the few months we get a peak into it. Yes, all of the stories intersect in some way and the main characters really are Hannah and her best friend, Adam, but the story couldn’t have been written without all of the secondary characters.
You see Hannah’s boyfriend leaves her on a night when she should be celebrating the eminent opening of her cupcake shop. But Patrick, who we eventually find out is a right bastard and thinks only of himself and his own pleasures, breaks the news to her while she is getting ready for her party. Hannah is devastated as she didn’t have a clue that there were any issues in the relationship at all. She manages to get herself together and not only make it through dinner but also bucks up and gets her cupcake shop open and off the ground.
And here’s where we move into the other characters in the book:
Patrick moves in with Leah who he’s been having an affair with and who is now pregnant with his child. Leah’s mother, Fiona, isn’t happy about the arrangement at all and is quite vocal about her displeasure.
Then there is Geraldine and Stephen, Hannah’s parents, who just want the best for their daughter.
Geraldine works at the Glass Slipper with her friend and boss, Alice, who is married to Tom who has taken up drinking as a pastime. Alice and Tom’s life starts to unravel after a horrible tragedy that is heart wrenching in its sadness.
Nora is Adam’s sister that returns to Clongarvin after her second marriage ends. She’s snobby and thinks herself too good for the small town. She’s out for some fun and she doesn’t care who she hurts to get it.
John is a carpenter who is in town to try and start his carpentry business after a break up with his wife in Scotland.
Wally and Vivienne are siblings who play in a band at the new wine bar. Wally’s got a crush on Hannah, and Hannah’s best friend, Adam, has a crush on Vivienne.
It sounds so complicated but as you get into the story everything falls into place as to who’s who.
The writing in the book is quite captivating and I found myself interested in what would happen next. The characters were very engaging – whether I liked them or not – and some were quite witty and had me laughing.
My overall thoughts - Definitely a good book but one that’s touted as a romance, and while there is some romance involved, to me it read more like a women’s fiction novel. That’s not a bad thing, it just wasn’t what I was expecting when I picked up the book.
Rating: 3.25 out of 5
I have received 2 copies of Semi-Sweet for giveaway – lucky you! :) To enter the giveaway go ahead and leave a comment on this post no later than 7:00pm (pacific) on 4/29/11. (Intl. entrants ok)