Content Warnings: Death of a parent, cancer, and abandonment.
I loved the overall idea of this book, a small-town baker and a paleontologist meet and fall in love, but I feel like the execution fell flat.
Alisha dreams of opening her own cookie shop in Chicago but in order to do so, she needs to gather the courage to tell her family. Having her grandfather constantly call her baking a hobby like it couldn’t lead to anything, and fear of disappointing her grandparents has prevented Alisha from being open and honest about what will make her happy.
Quentin’s family has never taken his career as a paleontologist seriously. His father is constantly judging him for not following a career path that he, Quentin’s father, deems successful and worthwhile.
I loved that aside from baking Alisha also has a passion for powerlifting and I would have loved to see move information, or instances, where that was discussed. What exactly got her into powerlifting and is it just for fun or it is something she could see herself competing with as well? It’s mentioned that she only does it in the privacy of her garage because she’s faced criticism and judgment by men. I really would have liked the powerlifting to have more depth rather than just feeling like filler, as Alisha only does it two times in the book and only briefly mentions it.
One thing that irked me, in regards to Quentin’s storyline, is that there are a few instances where he tears up and he just feels shame and mentions it as a “family curse” like a man feeling, or showing, emotion is distasteful and I really hated it. I’m used to romance novels combating toxic masculinity and I just felt this story fell short by showing Quentin’s expression of sadness as a weakness rather than a strength.
Reading through this book it felt like 90% of it was just a back and forth between Alisha and Quentin knowing they were attracted to each other but having a bunch of reasons why they shouldn’t pursue a relationship. This drove me up a wall. With the constant back and forth I felt like I didn’t really see a level of connection or chemistry between them that made me believe they genuinely belonged together, by the end.