The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant

Book Blurb:

The only thing Bri Duval loves more than baking petit fours is romance. So much so, she’s created her own version of the famous Parisian lovelock wall at her bakery in Story, Kansas. She never expects it to go viral–or for Trek Magazine to send travel writer Gerard Fortier to feature the bakery. He’s definitely handsome, but Bri has been holding out for a love story like the one her parents had, and that certainly will not include the love-scorned-and-therefore-love-scorning Gerard.

Just when it seems Bri’s bakery is poised for unprecedented success, a series of events threaten not just her business but the pedestal she’s kept her parents on all these years. Maybe Gerard is right about romance. Or maybe Bri’s recipe just needs to be tweaked.

Novelist Betsy St. Amant invites you to experience this sweet story of how love doesn’t always look the way we expect–and maybe that’s a good thing.

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

Rayleigh’s Review:

“It’s easy to love when everything looks its best, but it’s a lot harder when everything is covered in tomato sauce and pull-ups.” The Key to Love

It’s been some time since I’ve revisited Betsy St. Amant’s books, but I remembered liking the last one I read (All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes) so, to break up the genre dumping of fantasy and pirates I’ve been reading, I decided to give The Key To Love a read. And while it is charming and romantic, I did not enjoy this one as much as All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes. Particularly, because I loved the background characters more than the main characters and I just wanted to read about them, instead of Bri and Gerard.

The quote at the beginning of my review is from one of the background characters, Casey, and I would have SO enjoyed this book more if it had been focused on hers and Nathan’s romance instead of Bri and Gerard’s. The only blanket reason being that Casey and Nathan had a more functional, realistic relationship (that proposal= OMG), while Bri and Gerard were 100% a cheesy, frustrating Hallmark couple. Gerard wasn’t quite as frustrating as Bri was with her unrealistic, fantasy expectations of love, but I found his attraction to Bri to feel scripted. Like, if the author hadn’t chosen to make them fall in love, I highly doubt his character and personality would have ever fallen for her naturally; his attraction felt so, so forced (especially with so many people conspiring against the poor man to put him in her path–his boss, Mabel, Agnes, Bri herself, the Pastor, town busy-bodies, omg… let the man go ride his bike and go cliff-diving, don’t drown him in romance and force-feed him sweets!). Bri and Gerard’s banter and witty arguing was flawless though. If it hadn’t been as entertaining to listen to them goad each other mercilessly, I doubt I’d have finished the book at all. I just think the author picked the wrong two main characters, this story would have been perfect if we focused on Casey and Nathan instead.

So overall, The Key to Love might be perfect for Hallmark fans (which, I am not–I enjoy romance, but I like some realistic romance, please) and I did like that it’s clean. But personally, I give it 2 stars because I seriously doubt I would ever recommend this book to anyone (though All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes was MUCH better! Go read that one!).

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