Cover Image: Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake

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Member Reviews

Baking romance has been having such a moment over the last few years, and I'm so glad I finally circled back around to Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake. I've enjoyed everything by Alexis Hall I've read, and this one is one of my new favorites. Of course, the British baking show set at a remote estate is absolute catnip (with, of course, going back to their daily lives during the week- US reality shows could never), with a range of characters from annoying to utterly charming. I appreciate that this also looks at issues of bi-phobia and the misunderstandings Rosaline faces, as well as her perspective as a young, dating single mom. Don't read this one hungry!
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This sounded really fun and I’ve enjoyed Alexis Hall’s books in the past, but this just did not click for me.
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I love watching cooking competition shows: the amazing and unique dishes, the personal stories, the drama… and also, yes, okay, the moment when the cake collapses or someone drops their pan of deliciousness right out of the oven has a healthy dose of schadenfreude. It hadn’t occurred to me I would enjoy READING about a cooking competition as much as watching, and Rosaline Palmer did not disappoint.

Amatuer cook and single (bisexual) mom Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s top baking competition show. She does well in some challenges and not so well in others, interacts with a fabulous and unique cast of characters with their own agendas, and gets involved in a love triangle with a man who’s a substantial and dependable meat pasty and another who is more of a delicate souffle. Her personal growth is as important to the story as the show, and I devoured (pun intended) this sweet, funny, awkward tale which is more fiction with strong romantic elements, but features great conversations around ideals, goals, compromise and consent.

I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #RosalinePalmerTakesTheCake from #NetGalley.
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I don't necessarily think I'm the audience for this one - I love a good rom-com but wasn't connecting with this.
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A baking competition + LGBTQIA+ rep = a recipe for a great book. Alexis Hall started off a great new series on a high note - I loved Rosaline (and her wonderful child) and this story.
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I absolutely love a romance set in a baking show scenario, and Rosaline Palmer did not disappoint. I would have loved a little more from the actual romantic relationship, but I loved Rosaline’s daughter and the witty dialogue a whole lot.
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I will preface this review by saying that I adore Alexis Hall’s books and in my opinion he is one of the greatest romance writers of all time. That being said, I’m very glad I went into this one with adjusted expectations as well as some plot spoilers. Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake is more romance adjacent and focuses mostly on Rosaline finding herself through her time on a televised baking show. If you are a fan of The Great British Bakeoff, this is absolutely a book for you. 

Rosaline’s experiences on the show, the dishes she makes, the other contestants, her time with the judges, host, and producer, and lots of behind the scenes glimpses into how the show is made are all heavily covered in the book and so much fun to read. The host and judges are especially well written and there is a scene during bread week where one of the contestants accidentally makes a phallic shaped bread loaf that is so funny I was in tears by the end of it. I would have read and enjoyed the book just for these parts alone but Alexis Hall never just does one thing. 

Rosaline is a single mother, raising her delightful daughter Amelie with the help of her best friend, and ex, Lauren. I absolutely loved the dynamic between the three of them and Amelie is written as such an intelligent, funny, thoughtful child. I had a hard time with Rosaline’s toxic parents and they were a huge reason why she is such a people pleaser as an adult and struggles to initially find merit with the choices she’s made in her life. Despite knowing they’re a toxic presence, Rosaline feels pressured to stay on good terms with them because they help her out financially and by taking care of Amelie. 

At this point I think most people have either read this one or have read spoilers but I will include some below so if you do not want any then here is your chance to stop reading.  

Rosaline spends most of this book falling for and actively dating a complete and utter bag of dicks and their relationship ends abruptly with sexual assault. There is another character on the show that she befriends and it is clear the story will ultimately lead to the two of them ending up together, but that does not happen until nearly the end of the book which was slightly disappointing. I would have enjoyed more on page time of the two of them and less of the pile of flaming garbage she starts off with. This one is billed as a love triangle, but I’m not really sold on that as Rosaline is actively dating Alain most of the book and really doesn’t think much about Harry until the very end when she’s basically broken up with Alain. So if you’re like me and love triangles really aren’t your jam, I think you’re safe here. 

Ultimately I enjoyed this one and I’m really glad I read it. I’m excited to read the next book in the series, Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble. Thanks so much to forever for sending me this finished copy!
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(Knocked a star off tho bc it’s marketed as a romance and it’s more of like a coming into your own type story)

TW for biphobia and sexual assault 

Also this is witty AF and Alexis hall is so incredibly clever
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3.5 stars

This is not a romcom. This is much more women’s lit.

After reading the description, I went into this thinking it was 2 guys fighting for her, but was very confused when the first 70% is her shagging just one of them and he sucks.

Rosaline needs therapy, a good hug, and a nap. Also as a bisexual character, part of me would’ve loved to have seen her love interests be both genders, not both men.

I love Harry! But also don’t feel any natural romantic vibe between him and Rosaline.

The amount of times my jaw dropped in regard to Alain being the absolute fricking worst, it’s nearly in the triple digits.

Not the best baking challenge book I’ve read.
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This book was entertaining, but nothing special... I felt like it dragged throughout the middle of the story, and wasn't completely convinced by the relationship. Compared to Boyfriend Material, which I really enjoyed, this book didn't hold up.
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I liked Alexis Hall's previous book more, but this was really fun! I loved getting to follow a character on a Great British Bake Off-esque adventure.
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While this book did provide a handful of laughs, overall I felt it was lacking depth and lasting characters/moments. It felt very surface level and at the end of the day I just want more!
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Unfortunately this book did not work for me. It had the potential.  I tried listening to it but it was DNF. Thank you for letting me read and review this book.
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I thought I would love this one. I love baking and baking competitions, but sadly it was hard for me to get into this. I thought this book was way too long, and took way too long to really get into the story. I like romcoms that have a unique meet cute that sucks me into the story within the first few chapters. I also don’t care for love triangles as much. 

Thank you for the opportunity to read this one!
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I had a hard time rating this book, but Alexis Hall’s writing is so dang good, I just can’t give ROSALINE PALMER TAKES THE CAKE anything less than four stars. I am so, so happy I was warned that this book was more general/women’s fiction than romance. I set my expectations accordingly, and it helped me immerse myself in the story without undue frustration.

Rosaline Palmer is a single mother on her last leg – she’s also bisexual – just ask her precocious daughter (lol!!). She needs to prove herself to her parents and herself that she isn’t a complete screw-up by winning a Great British Bake-Off-type show. It’s a comedy of errors when she tries to make it to the first filming, and she ends up stranded with a handsome fellow contestant. And that’s just the beginning!

The dialogue and humor sparkle – there isn’t another word for it! It was delightful. I laughed so many times. The secondary characters, including Rosaline’s daughter, ex-girlfriend, and the other contestants on the show, were equal parts hilarious and endearing. Rosaline is a bit of a mess, but she is so human and relatable it was easy to root for her – even when she was messing up.

If you enjoy the Great British Bake-Off, you’re going to adore this book. The baking show scenes were absolute perfection. Wholesome and British, yet bitingly witty. I was as eager to find out who would get kicked off each week as Rosaline!

Why I ultimately knocked off a star – without spoiling anything, there is a love triangle element to this story that drove. Me. NUTS. I almost put the book down at one point because the romance aspects of this book were not my cup of tea. I was ultimately happy with the ending, but getting there was ROUGH. I also felt like the book was a little preachy with its social messages. I agreed with everything Hall said through his book; it was just too overt and heavy-handed at times.

Overall, if you enjoy Alexis Hall’s books and set your expectations for general fiction, you’re going to enjoy this book! The hero was too sweet and pure for this world; I could really use a sequel where we get more time with Rosaline and her man. I also listened to the audiobook, and the narration was ridiculously excellent. The narrator’s different accents were perfect for the story!

**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**
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Loved, loved, loved (even though not at first).

In the first half of this book, I was ready to chuck it to the back of my bookshelf. I didn't love it, I thought it was kind of preachy, and I could not figure out what Rosaline saw in Alain. Like he was rude straight from the beginning, girl.

BUT, then Harry became Rosaline's friend and we saw more of Amelie and got some more backstory from Rosaline and I fell in love. It helps that the organization of the book and the setting of the baking competition were extremely well done.

Harry was the beautiful sunshiny hero I needed in my life. And he complemented Rosaline so well throughout the book. I laughed out loud so many times during their scenes.

I really liked that the secondary characters were well developed. And I thought that the open conversations of bisexuality throughout the book were really well written.

Previously, I'd only read Boyfriend Material from Alexis Hall, so I didn't know what to expect from this one, but I fell hard and am eagerly awaiting the next in the series.
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Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake was easily one of my top 5 most anticipated books for the year, so I’m having a hard time parsing out expectations versus judging this book solely by what is on the page. I think a lot of that comes down to not just high expectations for Alexis Hall’s writing, but the expectations the publisher set with the cover and by marketing this heavily as a romcom.

At the end of the day, I really don’t think I’d call this a romcom — yes, it has a lot of humor; yes, there’s a romantic arc that ends happily... but there’s also a lot of difficult subject matter including but not limited to: gaslighting and emotional abuse, biphobia, sexual assault, classism, etc. Rosaline, quite frankly, has to go through a lot of garbage experiences before she reaches her happy ending. And the romance is only a tiny part of that journey, in the grand scheme of things.

Throughout the story, Rosaline has to recalibrate a lot of her expectations of what she thinks a successful, happy life looks like for herself and her daughter — and that journey is not always pleasant, nor is it often romantic or comedic. And there lies the crux of the issue, I think: the romcom label comes with promises to the reader about the emotional payout of a story, namely that the romantic arc is central to the plot. I would argue that if I went into this book expecting Women’s Fiction or even a kind of Bildungsroman, I would have expected an emotional payout more in line with what this novel delivers. Instead, by marketing it as a romcom, the publisher rather set the reader up to walk away disappointed, because our genre expectations have not been met. The romantic plot is really more of a subplot, honestly, so classifying this as a genre romance seems a bit odd. (Without any spoilers, what we do get in terms of the (actual) romance is really lovely but still pretty bittersweet because I just wanted *more*. Rosaline's eventual HEA partner is absolutely swoony and I feel a bit robbed that we got so little page time with them together.)

All that being said, I did ultimately love this story and it *was* hilarious, delivering all of the comedy beats. I will continue to eagerly anticipate every new work Alexis Hall publishes and I'm absolutely counting down the days for Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble. I think if readers go into this knowing it's a story more about Rosaline finding herself, with love as a subplot, rather than Rosaline's romantic HEA journey, they'll be more likely to enjoy the book and walk away satisfied. It's a truly lovely book, but calling it a romcom, in my opinion, is a stretch.
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Super cute and quick read. Huge hit for me. East recommend. Glad I got to read this one. I loved the chemistry between the characters
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I have tried to read this book to completion several times in 2021 and at this point I think I need to just concede defeat that this book is not for me. I can't even explain why really because I feel like it should work for me, but didn't. I think you'll like this book if you're in the mood for a romance that leans more toward contemporary fiction and you're okay with a romance heroine spending a lot of time romantically with a man that is not ultimately the hero. But I found that man insufferable and so I just couldn't make it far enough to watch her wisen up and figure out who she really ought to be with. Anyway, I know/hope this book has found it's audience, but that audience unfortunately does not include me.
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I never did finish this book, despite multiple attempts. Nothing wrong with it hot the point I read, it just didn’t compel me to keep reading. Strange, since I’m usually such a fan of this author. I’m putting it down to 2021 reading brain, sorry.
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