Friday 26 August 2016

Book Review: The Sugar Pavilion by Rosalind Laker

Title: The Sugar Pavilion
Author: Rosalind Laker
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication Date: 2016 (1993)
Pages: 358
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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1793. Revolutionary France.

Sophie Delcourt, the enchanting talented daughter of a Parisian confectioner, is forced to flee the country in the midst of revolution and bloodshed with a four-year-old aristocrat and elderly Marquis in her charge.

Bereft and abandoned in the Sussex countryside, she is saved from highwaymen by the intriguing Tom Foxhill, art collector to the Prince of Wales.

Soon, Sophie finds herself forming a passionate bond with him, a bond which even her love for another cannot sever…

After settling in Regency Brighton, at first she does not realise that threats of vengeance have followed her from France.

But soon her worries are settled by a new home, local work and friends for her young charge Antoine.

Sophie strives to build her own confectionery business and eventually finds her path leading to the glorious Sugar Pavilion of the Prince Regent himself.

Her life becomes more exciting and challenging than she had ever expected, but danger also creeps near in the form of smugglers and the distressing threat of French revolutionaries…
(Goodreads Synopsis)

I really wanted to like The Sugar Pavilion more, not least because its protagonist was a woman of lower social status than usually seen in these kinds of novels. However, the opening chapter ruined my enjoyment overall due to the unbelievable moment when, mid-flight and risking death, Sophie stops to stare in a mirror and tell all about her hair. That was the worst example, but other convenient and/or histrionic events did take place. The story is written in 3rd person omniscient, with which I have no issue when it's done well. Mostly the transitions were clear and fluid, but a couple of times it took me a line or two to realise we were now in another character's head, especially when it was a character not even in that scene. Despite the issues, the story and characters do still have merit and it should appeal to those looking for a little fairytale coincidence in their historical romance.

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