BOOK TITLE: Once Upon a Pastry
AUTHOR: Ashley Uzzell
SUBGENRE: LGBT Fairytale
Fearing that her grandmother’s bakery will soon go out of business, Gertrude makes a pact with a witch named Mona to cast a spell on her that will make her the greatest baker in
The only thing Mona asks for in exchange is Gertrude’s first born child. As the
bakery business draws in a comfortable amount of money, Mona gets testy about
Gertrude living up to her end of the bargain. The more time the two women spend
having cupcakes and donuts together, the more they realize that this deal is
bigger than money or babies. They start to form an awkward attraction for each
other. It’s a slow process in which past heartbreak and a war between humans
and centaurs become obstacles, but one way or another, Gertrude and Mona will
realize that they’re meant for each other. Linford City
Seeing as how this story revolves around a bakery and my 300 lb. body loves a good treat every now and then, I enjoyed the descriptions of the various baked goods Gertrude made. As customers, workers, and witches alike munched on cupcakes with orgasmic energy, I actually wanted to reach inside the story and take one of those frosting-covered death wishes. I could eat a hundred of them. Or a thousand. Or a million. I really should eat more vegetables and less sweets, but damn it, these colorful descriptions make me hungry! If Mona’s magic can do this much for a bakery, imagine what other restaurants can benefit from her spells. What if Mona’s magic turned a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese into a monstrous mountain of meat that oozed with grease, cheese, and tender beef that melts in your mouth (not in your hands). Mmm-mmm-mmm! My Homer Simpson glands are going nuts just thinking about it!
Another thing I loved about this book is the romantic build between Gertrude and Mona. It’s the way romance should be presented in every work of fiction: slow, steady, awkward at times, and an exciting crescendo. Seeing as how this is a piece of LGBT fiction, there’s always that chance that one or the other might not be a lesbian. If that was the case and one made a pass onto the other, it would be extremely awkward and that might have spelled the end of the deal. The slow build up to the romantic crescendo is believable in every way. People should tiptoe around each other more often since romance is a savory treat, not unlike the cupcakes Gertrude bakes on a daily basis. There are other romances in this story that worked the same way, one example being the marriage between a government soldier named Kevin and a bakery clerk named Jasper. When you read an Ashley Uzzell book, you realize that she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to matters of the heart.
One thing I was worried about was whether or not this story would tie up its loose ends by the conclusion of the story. There were times when I completely forgot that a deal was made between Gertrude and Mona where a first born baby was to be exchanged. There were times when I forgot that the centaur-human war was a central theme to the story. And then there’s that moron Trip who keeps threatening to shut down Mona’s magic shop with his own brand of wizardry. I’m happy to say that most of these loose ends are tied up, but not all of them. I would have loved to see Trip get his comeuppance in some way, shape, or form, but it seems like he was just an inconvenient monkey wrench in this bigger plot. But hey, this flaw is so minor that it’s not really worth worrying about. Just enjoy the infinite cuteness of this romantic fairytale.
If you’re looking for light reading with characters you can cheer for every step of the way, you need to grab a copy of this book. Everybody loves a feel-good story and this one will make you feel warm and toasty on the inside, just like a freshly baked donut with cinnamon glaze and pink frosting. Oh my god, there I go again, making myself hungry over a book that I read! That just goes to show you how dedicated Mrs. Uzzell is to her craft. Not one detail goes unnoticed and you have a front row seat to this beautiful story. A passing grade for an A+ author!