Baldwin Village, Book 1
Heat Factor: This pie is piping hot
Character Chemistry: Lau nails that giddy/awkward feeling right when you meet someone new
Plot: He hires her to cater a nerd party
Overall: Breezy and low angst – and I never thought I’d say this, but maybe there should be more angst than there is?
I 100% scooped this book up because it’s a pi day romance.
I like pie a lot, and the pie making / pie eating components of this book were on point. (Pear ginger crumble sounds yum, and I may try to make one some time.)
Also on point? The dynamic of being so excited about a new person and being giddy and thinking about them all the time but also doing awkward and embarrassing things. Lau absolutely nails it – and her characters are like, “I am a successful person! I started a business, for pete’s sake! Why am I being such a weirdo?!?!”
With these two elements firmly in place, I breezed through the first half of the book. Lau has the gift of making writing look effortless – no poetic flights of fancy, but the days of romance being defined by purple prose are (for now) behind us (sadly). I enjoyed watching Josh and Sarah get to know each other as they bonded over pie and teased each other about awkward emails and errants forks. I admit that I sometimes felt that Josh was too respectful; honestly, I can’t believe I just typed those words. In real life, I definitely think that more men should explicitly tell their partners that it’s ok to decline sex after a fancy dinner, so why didn’t I love seeing that in a romance novel? I feel like this probably warrants some analysis of my psyche and how I really feel about alpha heroes, but that is a project for another time.
But then we get to the inevitable conflict, where Josh breaks up with Sarah for stupid reasons, and it felt very abrupt to me. Especially since he had been 100% on board, if not the instigator of the relationship, up until that point. Looking back, logically, at the groundwork Lau had laid about Josh’s history – specifically, the fact that his father didn’t speak to him for 17 years (!!!) – I know that the pieces were all there for Josh to freak out and decide that he can’t do love, but emotionally, it didn’t sit right. And that’s where the lack of angst comes into play; the emotional build up might have worked better if Josh had been a little more overtly angsty about his father’s (terrible) treatment of him.
Even with Josh’s abrupt about face about his relationship, I would still recommend this book because the rest of the build up is so satisfying, and the resolution absolutely works.
Bonus points to the side plot of Sarah trying to make friends as an adult (that shit is awkward and challenging). And to her employees for giving her a stack of CEO-themed romance novels for “research” when she and Josh start dating. Sadly, The CEO’s Quintuplet Surprise is not a real book.
Double bonus points for the nerdy math jokes.
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