Friday, April 6, 2018

Book Review: 'Edible Espionage' by Dana Volney and Shaunna Owens


Sarah Zion co-owns her own bakery – Crazy for Cake – with her best friend, Fiona. Sarah’s delighted when the most edible man she’s seen in months comes into the store, and not even the small disappointment of his not being a fan of chocolate can dampen her appetite for him. Gavin is pleased to find his numerous attempts to get Sarah’s attention have finally paid off. His millionaire boss sent him down on assignment to infiltrate Crazy for Cake and find out some of their secrets. Gavin’s boss and wife were chagrined to come second in the national bake off to the small-timers, Sarah and Fiona, and are determined to beat them at any cost this year. But the more Gavin tastes Sarah’s mouth-watering treats, and gets to know the woman herself, the more he finds himself divided over work and his growing emotional attachment. Will he pick the right side of this food fight?
This is a fun, lighthearted story that I mostly enjoyed. The major plotline of Gavin being “undercover” to discover Sarah and Fiona’s cooking secrets was interesting, but I found it quite difficult to push past it and warm up to Gavin. He’s a charming character, full of good humour, self-analysis and a sexy smile, but knowing from the start that he was there (albeit in a friendly, non-threatening manner) to commit industrial espionage and steal Sarah’s cookery secrets really dampened my enthusiasm for him. The deception lasted a short while (approximately a third of the book) and I have to be honest, Sarah’s reaction upon discovering his secret was really well handled to my mind. But at heart, the deception was a wedge I, personally, just couldn’t get past. I couldn’t make myself relax and go with the flow, to trust in the happy ending when I knew Gavin had purposely tracked Sarah down, connected with her and flirted up a storm simply to steal from her.
I want to point out that other readers may feel vastly different to me. Sarah is not a stupid heroine, and Gavin never let the flirtation go too far beyond the line. I don’t feel he had any desire/intention of breaking Sarah’s hard or really toying with her emotions. So possibly this is just a peeve of my own. It’s not common for me, however, to not warm up to the hero, so it was a different experience for me. I really struggled with this, especially as I enjoyed so much of the rest of the story.
I think it’s also important to point out that despite my lack of warmth for Gavin, this is still a fun, addictive read. I absolutely turned the pages of this story eagerly, devouring the scenes and desperately wanting to know what happened next. There were a few times I had to mentally stretch reality (like when she guessed Gavin’s phone password) but overall I found the situations they were presented with fun and understandable. The authors have done an amazing job with a good story, vibrant and interesting characters and a serious, meaty plot that kept my attention. I found there was a high degree of chemistry between Gavin and Sarah, and a number of steamy kisses, enthusiastic embraces and sexual tension strong enough to melt iron. Apart from a few bumps in the road I really enjoyed this story and will happily try others by these authors.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.