I have previously enjoyed the sweet novels from Betsy St Amant and “The Key to Love” has her gorgeous and vivid writing style but felt a little more serious than I anticipated.

I missed in the back cover summary, though it’s revealed early in the novel, that our leading lady, Bri, is grieving the death of both her parents. The impact of this loss taints all her actions and subsequently a large part of the novel. She desperately clings to a sense of home created by the bakery she works at. Our leading man, Gerard, is smarting from a broken heart and an abusive relationship. Again, not light material for a romance. If emotional abuse or loss is a trigger for you, this is one to skip.

There is plenty of small town humour, delicious pastries and warm fuzzy moments in the book but the tone felt deeper. Bri’s exploration of the reality of her parents marriage is so sad, I really felt for her. One way and another, her whole world goes upside down during this novel. Gerard similarly has his world spun. I think I just expected a more cheery read, not such a big topic, deep discussion type book, it was bittersweet rather than sweet! Because of that, my rating is three of five on the enJOYment scale. I can’t fault the writing, it is beautifully and emotively done, just not quite for me this time.

From the back cover:

The only thing Bri Duval loves more than baking petit fours is romance. So much so, she’s created her own version of the famous Parisian lovelock wall at her bakery in Story, Kansas. She never expects it to go viral–or for Trek Magazine to send travel writer Gerard Fortier to feature the bakery. He’s definitely handsome, but Bri has been holding out for a love story like the one her parents had, and that certainly will not include the love-scorned-and-therefore-love-scorning Gerard.

Just when it seems Bri’s bakery is poised for unprecedented success, a series of events threaten not just her business but the pedestal she’s kept her parents on all these years. Maybe Gerard is right about romance. Or maybe Bri’s recipe just needs to be tweaked.

Novelist Betsy St. Amant invites you to experience this sweet story of how love doesn’t always look the way we expect–and maybe that’s a good thing.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Revell through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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