Tuesday 26 September 2023

Love at 350°

Finished September 21 
Love at 350° by Lisa Peers

This lesbian romance revolves around a competitive baking television show. The two central characters are one of the competitors and a judge on the show. The food definitely takes prominence here, with the romance always on the edge. 
Tori Moore is a high school chemistry teacher who has, along with another teacher at her school, taught a class combining chemistry and baking that considers the scientific aspects of baking while teaching the kids kitchen skills too. It actually sounds like a pretty cool course and reminds me of the recent novel Lessons in Chemistry. She is fairly recently divorced from her wife, after he wife left her to "pursue her dreams." She has twins who are in the senior year of high school and who worry about her being on her own after they leave for college. They have entered her in the competition to be on the reality television show Bake-O-Rama without her knowledge. When she finds that she's made it to the level of being asked to tryout for the show, she doesn't hesitate long. 
Kendra Campbell is one of the two hosts on the show, and definitely the more critical one, with her ruthless critiques driving some previous contestants to tears. She owns a chain of upscale cookie outlets, and a high-end restaurant. Her agent (who is also her brother) has encouraged her to soften her approach as a way to make the show's producers more likely to keep her on as a judge. 
When Tori makes it to the final selection of contestants who will appear on the upcoming season's shows, she is both excited and nervous. Her friends and children all are encouraging and supportive. 
Both women notice a spark between them, but their contracts stipulate no fraternization for a year after the show airs, which means that they can't act on those nascent feelings without jeopardize Tori's spot in the competition, or Kendra's job. They do manage to find some ways to let each other know there is interest and hope for a future. While this limited the romantic aspect of the book, I found it realistic. The women are mature, and able to consider the pros and cons of reacting to their feelings on a more immediate basis. 
I learned a lot about different kinds of baking, and there is a recipe included at the end of the book. 
The characters are appealing and vulnerable and I really was captured by the book. Some of the other contestants in the contest were interesting as well and had a little depth that grew through the plot. 
A definite winner. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reading and reviewing - I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
    Lisa Peers