When Richard sees a disreputable man attacking a shopkeeper he charges in to the rescue. Unfortunately, there is no rescue needed and all Richard succeeds in doing is making a big mess and busting up the bakery. The bakery owner, Jane, makes him leave but later feels bad for the way things played out. She travels to his home to make a peace-offering with some biscuits and an apology. The apology goes awry when Jane and Richard are back at each other again.
Still feeling guilty for his part, Richard seeks out the bakery and Jane again. He instantly feels a bit bad for his part in the damage and wants to find a way to make it up to Jane. When Jane refuses to take his money he comes up with a plan to take cooking lessons. He and his younger will come by once a week and learn to bake something. They will pay Jane the money to teach them thus making up for the damage she cannot afford to pay for on her own. Jane is determined to show that baking isn’t fool’s play and agrees to teach them in exchange for the money.
But both Jane and Richard do not expect the growing feelings they have for each other. How will two people from totally different worlds overcome the barriers?
Richard Moore, Earl or Raleigh, is pretty much perfect. He looks good, is charming, great family man, likes small children and animals…and so on. I liked him but I didn’t find there to be much depth to him. There are two times in this book where he changes the course of fate for Jane and he seemed to take the events rather lightly. He tried to make amends for breaking her mother’s china by paying for the cooking lessons. That should have come off as a type of redemption but it more came off as a game for him. He was using it to get closer to Jane in a way that smacked of aristocrat playing below his class level. The second event he caused, being caught with Jane alone, I was able to overlook more even though the consequences were more severe. He caused Jane to lose her livelihood but his father was sick. At that point he was carrying the weight of his family. Not checking up on Jane right away was excusable, in my opinion.
Jane was a really engaging character. She has had a lot thrown at her in her life but she managed to come off as sweet, competent and not even a bit whiny. Each time something happened she dealt with it and moved on. At the end of the book she says that after dealing with the death of her parents she can take on anything. I found that to be such a fresh perspective.
There is only mild heat in the book, some kissing and tension. Surprisingly I don’t think it took anything away from the story. The characters are quite engaging and captured my attention to where I didn’t even notice, until the end, that we never got a payoff scene. It was very refreshing to read a whole story and enjoy it even without the sex. I think that really speaks to the strength of the writing.
What really made the book were the letters from Jane’s mother and the ones that Jane wrote back. Jane was supposed to space out the letters but we saw that she read them faster than she should have. The letters written by her mother where a poignant look into what Jane was missing with her mother being gone. It was sad yet wonderful to read the advice a mother would give a daughter in Jane’s situation. Jane would then write a letter back to her mother as if they were having a conversation and she was still around. I loved this part of the book. It was so very sweet and heartening.
Overall, this was a super sweet and cute book. I can’t find anything to complain about. The characters are likable and well written, the plot is delightful and keeps your attention and the ending declaration of love is sigh worthy. If you are looking for a lovely historical you will want to pick this one up. Final grade- B
True love is a rare and precious thing- don’t let anything stand in its way.