Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86427-0
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Wait, is this the same Candace Shaw whose last two books contained a writing style best described as “decrepit”? Are we sure this is not another author with the same name? If it’s the same author, it would be great if the author could bottle whatever inspiration, insight, or epiphany that she experienced and sell it or something, because The Sweetest Kiss is a revelation.
Tiffani Chase’s last husband was a truly horrible creature, and she is not sorry at all that he died on her and her son. She has since his death pulled her life together. She opens a bakery near her home and her son’s school. so she gets to enjoy having a career while at the same time being able to be a full-time mother to her now eight-year old boy. When the story opens, she and her cupcakes attract the attention of rich real estate developer Broderick Hollingsworth, a self-made man who grows to respect the fact that Tiffani, like him, got over adversity and made something great for herself and her son. Alas, as their relationship deepens, Broderick has no clue until too late that his business partner is making arrangements to buy over Tiffani’s shop (she rents it) as well as everything in the neighborhood. Will these two be able to reconcile after the truth comes out?
As I read this book, I find myself wondering what happened. Where were all the exposition dumping, unnecessarily repetitive writing style, slow “my dairy, day by day” pacing, stilted conversations, and annoying shoving of sequel baits down my throat? The Sweetest Kiss turns out to be a well-paced read, the characters talk and behave in ways that feel natural and believable, and I find myself really having fun. Broderick is a very nice guy, no forced “I’m a playboy!” nonsense, and no weird trust issues. Tiffani is a more familiar burned-by-love type with trust issues up the wazoo, but the author treats the heroine’s mistrust and tired old issues in a manner that gets Tiffani to come off as a smart lady whose unhappy past sometimes causes her to get all dramatic. Yes, she can be a bit silly, but I can understand why she behaves like that in a certain situation.
These two spend quite a lot of time building up a relationship, but the pacing never sags and I find myself charmed most of the time. Really, I’d have expected such a story to come from someone like Deborah Fletcher Mello, Janice Sims, or such. This Candace Shaw is a vastly different author from the one that wrote the previous two books under this name. I don’t know what happened, but if the author keeps going down this route when it comes to her career trajectory, I’m going to get myself a first class front row seat.