A cruel (and untrue) remark by Julia St. Clair, made to impress a boy in high school, set off a series of events in Anna Quintana's life that ultimately resulted in her suspension from school and delayed her acceptance into college. A short time later Anna's mother, Lucia, died of an aneurysm, leaving 18-year-old Anna alone in the world. Lucia had fled Ecuador as a pregnant 16-year-old years before and found work as a nanny and housekeeper for the St. Clair family. As a result, Anna and Julia were raised as sisters and best friends in the St. Clair mansion until the differences in their social status and Julia's lie tore their relationship apart. Now, 10 years later, Anna has been hired to cater the dessert for a charity luncheon at Lolly and Tad St. Clair's mansion, where she encounters Julia for the first time in years.
Stories about foundlings or servant's children raised together with the children of wealthy can often end badly (remember all of the problems between Darcy and that bounder Wickham in Pride & Prejudice, or Heathcliff's nasty behavior towards Catherine in Wuthering Heights?). Sometimes, however, the children in question can end up owning a business together! The question then is how much the bitterness, lies, and recriminations from the past will get in the way of a happy ending. Both Julia and Anna are nice people and Donohue throws a little mystery and some hidden agendas into the mix that add a bit of adrenalin rush to the story. The best part of this novel, though, is the cupcakes! I would love to taste some of the flavors that Anna comes up with. Yum!