In brief: Clover is a hard worker. She’s struggling to get by privately, and the opening of a chain store bakery across from her new café isn’t going to help. Nor is falling in love with Liam, son of the chain’s owner!
The good: It’s sweet and laden with lusciously described food.
The not-so-good: The medical parts need a little work (very minor).
Why I chose it: Offered to me by the author – thanks Charmaine!
Pages: 157 (eARC)
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Setting: Victoria, Australia
My rating: 7.5 out of 10
Sometimes (but particularly when I’m really stressed or busy) my heart turns towards a sweet romance. I love to be swept away by the story rather than re-reading every sentence wondering, ‘but what does it all mean?’ (Don’t get me wrong, I love literary fiction too, but my book tastes are like food tastes – wide ranging and ever changing). Four-Leaf Clover appealed to me not only because of the sweet romance, but because its heroine, Clover, runs a café and there’s lots of mentions of yummy food. (I love to bake – as I type, I’m waiting for a batch of parmesan and rosemary biscuits to come out of the oven). Thank you Charmaine for bringing this book to my attention!
The story is told from the points of view of both Clover and the hero (Liam), but mainly Clover. As the story begins, Clover is just about to open her café in the small town she lives in. She’s interrupted by Liam – and what an introduction. For it turns out that Liam is the son of the Upper Crust chain of bakeries and as an employee, will be overseeing a new bakery – right across the road from Clover. She’s really not happy about this – Clover is a battler with multiple problems (including family and financial), more than an over-privileged guy like Liam would ever know. But there’s some spark between her and Liam and against her better judgment, Clover lets Liam into her life. Meanwhile, other parts of Upper Crust are planning to destroy Clover’s business. Can she fight for her livelihood while she’s falling in love with the enemy?
Ross has portrayed Liam really well. Even though he stands for everything Clover is against – big business, uncaring corporations, deprivation and lack of charity against those less fortunate, his softer side is explored with care and attention. As the novel goes on, we see why Liam acts the way he does, but this didn’t seem weak to me. If anything, my heart softened further. Clover is a young, feisty heroine who has a lot more going on than at first glance. Her family problems were also dealt with sensitively and once again, showed a softer side to the woman fighting for her business. The romance is sweet with some more steamy parts, but not to be overlooked is the friendship and generosity that Liam and Clover both display. Ross has created some characters that are truly good people.
My only criticism is minor – that a couple of the medical issues need a bit of tweaking. As I read an eARC, these may have been changed in the final edit. But please, if you have a blood clot, you need medication, not bed rest! Don’t let this dissuade you, as it’s only a few lines. If you’re looking for a sweet romance with a good-guy hero as well as baking inspiration, please check out Four-Leaf Clover.