Battle Royal- Review
By Lucy Parker
Series: Palace Insiders #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Avon Romance
Publication Date: August 17, 2021
Source: Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4.5 Stars
“Lucy Parker writes deliciously fun enemies-to-lovers perfection!” — Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author
Beloved author Lucy Parker pens a delicious new romantic comedy that is a battle of whisks and wits.
Four years ago, Sylvie Fairchild charmed the world as a contestant on the hit baking show, Operation Cake. Her ingenious, creations captivated viewers and intrigued all but one of the judges, Dominic De Vere. When Sylvie’s unicorn cake went spectacularly sideways, Dominic was quick to vote her off the show. Since then, Sylvie has used her fame to fulfill her dream of opening a bakery. The toast of Instagram, Sugar Fair has captured the attention of the Operation Cake producers…and a princess.
Dominic is His Majesty the King’s favorite baker and a veritable British institution. He’s brilliant, talented, hard-working. And an icy, starchy grouch. Learning that Sylvie will be joining him on the Operation Cake judging panel is enough to make the famously dour baker even more grim. Her fantastical baking is only slightly more troublesome than the fact that he can’t stop thinking about her pink-streaked hair and irrepressible dimple.
When Dominic and Sylvie learn they will be fighting for the once in a lifetime opportunity to bake a cake for the upcoming wedding of Princess Rose, the flour begins to fly as they fight to come out on top.
The bride adores Sylvie’s quirky style. The palace wants Dominic’s classic perfection.
In this royal battle, can there be room for two?
The best way for me to gush about how much I love a book by a new-to-me author is if I read their entire backlist after one book. That’s what happened when I finished Battle Royal. I’ve spent the last week reading Lucy Parker’s backlist. And loving every minute of it!
Battle Royal was exactly the right book to introduce me to Lucy Parker. It combines two of my favorite things, baking and monarchies! Add in a love story, and a sad past love story and I’m 100% sold. I’m also a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off and the baking competition that ties together Sylvie and Dominic mirrors that. They first meet 4 years prior, when Sylvie is a contestant on the show and Dominic is one of the judges. Needless to say, they have two very different styles and hijinks ensue. At the start of the book, they each own bakeries across the street from each other. Sylvie’s is glitter and magical while Dominic’s is classical elegance. They’re already set on a collusion course because Sylvie is going to join Dominic as a judge. In addition to that, the princess is getting married and both are competing to design her wedding cake.
Sylvie and Dominic are thrown together a lot in this book, mostly working on the royal wedding cake. The bride wants something special for her decreased uncle incorporated and the groom wants a cake layer made from a difficult drink. While Sylvie and Dominic delve into these challenges, they end up spending a lot of time together and their attraction is obvious and steamy! I was so glad that their relationship kicked off at this point and not when Sylvie was on the show as a contestant. An unequal power balance is tough to pull off, and Lucy Parker has successfully tackled it Pretty Face but I was glad it didn’t really play a role here.
I’m not a fan of illustrated covers even though I do like this one. This might seem a bit off topic but I swear I have a point. My problem is that I think people will pick up this book, thinking it’s a rom-com, and then be hit in the gut. Battle Royal made me cry at multiple points. Grief is a big theme in this book. Lucy has lost her whole family and really only has a found family living. There are scenes around this that are really deep and powerful. Dominic has similar sad moments and part of his story is regaining a relationship with his sister. In addition to all of this, the story they learn about the princess’s uncle is heartbreaking. There are witty moments and funny moments in this book but the role of grief in this story is very important and I don’t think the cover and the illustrated = rom-com trend does that justice.
As I said earlier, a book is great if I go back and read the author’s backlist and Battle Royal is definitely that. The love story between Sylvie and Dominic was beautiful and so were the other stories told in this book. I highly recommend reading it, with a baked good near by because you will end up craving sweets!