How To Eat a Cupcake is a story of friendship, family and forgiveness. Annie Quintana and Julia St.Clair were once as close as sisters, raised in the St Clair home by Annie's mother, the family's nanny. But it has been a decade since Annie has stepped foot in the family home, devastated by the Julia's teenage betrayal and Lucia's sudden death. The reunion between the women is marred by bitterness and resentment but nevertheless Julia offers Annie the chance to open her own cupcakery and Annie can't resist the opportunity. Working together isn't easy but the pair discover their differences are an asset in the new business and begin to develop a new appreciation for each other.
Told through alternate chapters from Annie and Julia's perspective the story of How To Eat A Cupcake reveals the history of the girls and the issues they are facing in the present. I like the structure because Annie and Julia each interpret and approach things differently, and we are able to understand both sides of the relationship.
Initially I sympathised with Annie on the assumption that she and her mother were treated badly by the St Clair family but it becomes evident that in fact Annie was given many of the same advantages as Julia and Julia's parents, were very generous employers. While I can sympathise with Annie's distress at her mother's sudden passing and the situation that arose due to Julia's careless remarks, Annie's attitude towards Julia's parents seems just plainly ungrateful. Neither does it say much about her character that despite so strongly disliking Julia, Annie was willing to take advantage of her wealth out of a twisted sense of entitlement. I actually ended up liking Julia slightly more than Annie, whose bitterness is rarely relieved.
The author deliberately predisposes us to dislike Julie who is rich, smart and effortlessly stylish, with a privileged, blinkered attitude that marks her as spoilt and entitled. As the story progresses, Donahue humanises Julia though, her behaviour is shown to be rarely deliberate but simply unthinking. She does possess the arrogance of wealth but Julia is willing to apologise, to make amends and persists, even though Annie rather churlishly continues to throw it back in her face.
Both Annie and Julia also have their own issues, Annie wants to find her mothers missing journal/recipe book and is embarking on an ill advised relationship with an old school friend while Julia is hiding a secret from her fiance. There is also romance, of sorts, for both the girls.
While the complicated relationship between the girls is a feature of the novel, there is also the mystery of the continued vandalism at 'Treat', the cupcake store they own together. The identity of the faceless man hanging around the shop is easily guessed but the identity of the vandal, and his motives, turned out to be quite a surprise.
Despite not being enamored with How To Eat A Cupcake, it is a quick and pleasant read, and if nothing else I was left craving a delicious cupcake.show more
by Christine Staniforth