cover image Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake

Alexis Hall. Forever, $15.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-5387-0332-8

Hall (Boyfriend Material) does it again with this scrumptious, quietly subversive rom-com set against a Great British Bake Off–style reality TV show. Bisexual 27-year-old Rosaline Palmer, single mother to a precocious eight-year-old, goes on Bake Expectations in a desperate attempt to turn her life around. On the way to the first filming, she winds up stranded with fellow contestant Alain Pope, an archly charming architect. Alain is everything Rosaline thinks she should want, and to impress him she tells him a heap of lies about her life. It’s a classic rom-com setup, but Hall upends expectations: the deception is swiftly and realistically revealed, and even as Rosaline enters a relationship with Alain, she finds herself bonding with contestant Harry Dobson. Harry, a gentle giant electrician whom Rosaline initially writes off as a “cockney fuckboy,” soon proves his quiet decency and subtle sense of humor. Hall balances the adorable love story and witty narration with incisive critiques of classism and the fetishization of bisexual women. As Rosaline learns to trust her instincts and stand up for herself, the tension of the competition keeps the plot flying, and the vibrant cast—including vivacious baker Anvita and Rosaline’s ex-girlfriend, Lauren—couches her journey toward self-actualization in encouraging community. Hilarious, heartwarming, and grounded, Rosaline’s story proves that happy endings look different from person to person. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary. (May)