Review of Best Made Plans by Jessica Hart

This was one of the books that escaped my Kindle Klean-Up Challenge. I’m glad I kept it as the cute tale was quite cheering.

Chef Flora Deare; royal wedding caterer! When Flora’s childhood friend Hope asks her to design the menu for her upcoming royal wedding, Flora is quick to say yes. Hasebury Hall, the wedding venue may be dilapidated but it has all the kitchen space she needs, and she’ll happily make do even though the Hall’s owner and brooding brother-of-the-bride, Max Kennard is constantly underfoot. She’s known Max for years. Had a crush on him in her teens. Might have the teeniest wee soft spot for him still…

When his sister Hope announces that she’s going to marry a prince, Max is taken aback to discover that the royal wedding will not take place in the majestic principality of San Michele, but at their run-down Wiltshire family home, Hasebury Hall. Now Max has to fix up the manor, let royals and security officials have the run of the place… and find a suitable woman to accompany him to the wedding and all the other ridiculous events that surround it.

Max is single, Flora’s single. They could pair up and go together. What harm can a little pretence do if all it involves is a glamorous trip to San Michele and smiling together at the wedding itself? Apparently, a lot… Soon, it’s hard to remember what’s real and what’s not.

*Previously titled The Baronet’s Wedding Engagment

Available on Amazon.

Definitely one of the sweetest, cutest reads I’ve had for a while. Maybe a little too cute, but 100% escapist.

Flora’s best friend is marrying a prince – an honest to goodness prince who lives in a palace in exotic San Michele. She’s thrilled for her friend and excited to be charged with catering the affair. To make matters more convenient, she’s moved into the kitchen at Hasebury Hall. She spends her days cooking delectable dishes and pastries while planning the wedding menu. One thing she doesn’t plan on is falling in love.

Flora is such a cute heroine. She’s a gifted chef and has big dreams of running a successful restaurant in London. But maybe her heart’s desire is actually a little tamer than that. Flora doesn’t just fall in love with Max, she rediscovers what makes her truly tick. I love how she has to finally confront the death of her grandparents and think about what she wants out of life.

Flora’s past mirrors Max’s in some ways. They’ve both been longing for a place or a person to call home, having never been embraced by loving parents. Max has to examine his relationship with Hasebury Hall and find a way to accept that the future of the estate is not what defines him. His love for his sister is heartwarming and he will do everything within his power to give her what she needs and even some of what she wants.

How Max and Flora learn to cut out the distractions and focus on their own needs is truly charming. Admittedly, the story could do with a little more angst and a few more layers of complexity to fully flesh out the characters. However, I enjoyed the light note of the tale.

Add to that the delightful settings- both the little English village of Combe St. Philip and the Mediterranean San Michele- and you’ve got a wonderful escapist read. Oh, and the dogs! Max’s dogs (and Flora’s aged cat) are just as much part of the story as they help Flora and Max find their way ‘home’.

I give Best Made Plans 3.5/5 sweet espresso shots.

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