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Review: Four-Leaf Clover – Charmaine Ross

on May 2, 2014

Four Leaf CloverFour-Leaf Clover
Charmaine Ross
Harlequin Escape
2014, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Clover Loveday has known struggle in her life. Now she has saved and borrowed and placed all her eggs in one financial basket and opened her cafe, Four-Leaf Clover. It’s her ticket out of hardship, hopefully it will be successful enough for her to pay her debts and afford the care her mother so desperately needs. Clover is a brilliant cook with imaginative recipes and she knows that the locals in her small town will flock to her cafe for its intimate feel and friendly atmosphere. Clover cares about her customers and although profits are important, so are community spirit and helping those that desperately need it. Clover is passionate about both.

Then Clover quite literally falls into the arms of Liam Sinclair who happens to be part of the Sinclair & Son group who own a huge chain of bakeries called Upper Crust. And they’re building one right across the road from Clover’s new cafe. For Liam, it’s about the profits and becoming successful, although he has questioned taking Upper Crust right out into the smaller towns. But he never thinks of the competition, or more importantly, the people behind them. It’s about being successful and proving why his chain is the best and also about pleasing his father, who has built the business to the successful force it is today.

But Liam finds that he cannot get Clover out of his mind. He can’t get involved because he’ll be overseeing the development of the Upper Crust store and then he’ll be on to the next one, building the brand. And he is wary of women – in his experience they only want his money. However no matter how hard he tries, he can’t keep his distance from Clover. She’s one of the most genuine people he’s ever met and she only relies on herself, not anyone else to get things done. He finds himself wanting to help her, even though she doesn’t want to accept it. But will Liam’s suspicion of a woman’s motives and Clover’s seeing of Liam as the enemy along with some unscrupulous business dealings ruin both of their chances at happiness together?

I’m not really a fancy foodie although I do love food – the eating of it and the watching of other people cook it, not the cooking of it myself! Any book that includes a food-type component  is generally something I’ll be interested in giving a go. I get lots of ideas for food to eat, things to try etc from TV shows and books….and if it’s not baking, I pass it straight along to the chef in the family, my husband. However he doesn’t bake so any biscuits, cakes, muffins, etc are all made by me. Or they are when our oven is working, which it is currently not. It’s a sore point. So when I read that this book was about a cafe vs a big bakery in a way, I immediately had to read it because I figured there’d be plenty of food and there was, mostly what Clover was making for her customers. Her muffins sounded pretty darn amazing and her breakfasts would be successful in any cafe in any town I would imagine.

I have to admit, I found the romance a little difficult to get into here, it all happens incredibly quickly, I feel like in some ways they don’t even get to properly know each other. Clover is fiercely independent, which I like. She’s doing things on her own and she’s finding a way to make things work and get what she needs done, even if it’s not easy. She also hasn’t lost her compassion, or forgotten what it’s like to go without and even though she needs every dollar of profits that she can, she still wants to focus on the community and helping those who need it. Liam works for a business where profits are the bottom line, the be all and end all, even if he doesn’t share some of those personal views. However for someone who was suspicious of being out for his money, going behind people’s backs and paying for things when you’ve known them mere days, is a bit weird. I would feel very uncomfortable if someone I just met had paid to have my whole house re-plumbed. It’s the sort of behaviour that puts you in debt to someone, or to feeling like you owe them big time and that can be very difficult to get around, mentally. I think I understand that in bringing the two characters together, Clover was showing Liam there’s more to money and he was showing her it’s okay to let other shoulder some of the responsibility but it all happens so quickly and with so much petty drama in between that it feels very rushed and like it’s just jumping from one argument between Clover and Liam to another. I also don’t think what they did to Clover is made okay simply by shoving a cheque at her. It all felt very wrong.

Also this is kind of petty but it made me laugh – Liam doesn’t know how to make a salad. Who can’t make a salad? If you’ve ever eaten one, or even seen one you can make a salad! It’s putting stuff in a bowl. If they wanted to highlight Clover’s amazing cooking versus Liam’s less domestic upbringing and lifestyle, it could’ve been something more difficult than a salad that she picked out for him to do. No one can say they can’t make a basic salad and not look like a bit of a dill.

I liked the food detail and the big business vs small and the financial and moral dilemmas that can come with pitting them against each other, both for the owners and the customers as well. I mean, most people enjoy supporting local business for the most part and delicious, homemade treats – but sometimes, the larger chains are cheaper and it can come down to that financial situation, where you go and what you buy. And I liked Clover and at times I liked Liam – but I didn’t always like their interactions together. Despite my lack of engagement with the characters this will probably appeal to people who are after a very light read that’s both sweet and a little bit sexy, especially if they enjoy a bit of food detail too.

6/10

Book #96 of 2014

AWWW2014

Four-Leaf Clover is the 37th book read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014

 

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One response to “Review: Four-Leaf Clover – Charmaine Ross

  1. Marg says:

    I don’t know… my mother can’t make a decent tasting or looking salad and in theory she has been cooking for nearly 50 years! lol

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