Review: The Ultimate Pi Day Party – Jackie Lau
by Jackie Lau
Series: Baldwin Village #1
Also in this series: Ice Cream Lover
Publisher: Jackie Lau Books
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
I received an advance review copy of this book from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
If there’s one thing that might get my dad, a retired math teacher, to visit Toronto and have a real conversation with me for the first time in seventeen years, it’s a big nerdy Pi Day party. And hopefully this party—and seeing the tech company I built from nothing—will finally be enough to impress him and make him forgive me for everything I did when I was a teenager.
But it’s got to be a really great party.
That’s where Sarah Winters comes in. She owns Happy As Pie, a sweet and savory pie shop, and wants to get into catering. She makes an amazing lamb-rosemary pie, cherry pie, lemon-lime tart…you get the idea. She’ll provide the food and help me plan the party, nothing more. No matter how much time we spend together, I’m not going to fall in love with her.
At least, that’s what I tell myself…
I’m a pretty big fan of Jackie Lau’s contemporary rom-coms, so I jumped on this! It’s the official start of the new Baldwin Village series (though there was a prequel Christmas novella). Like the pies Sarah sells, this book is both sweet and savory, and oh so yummy. One quick warning – this book will make you SO hungry!
Josh, CEO of a tech company and one of Toronto’s hottest eligible bachelors, decides to throw a Pi Day party to entice his retired mathematician father to visit Toronto. His father hasn’t talked to him since a teenage mishap and he’s hoping that going all out will start to rebuild their relationship. So rather than just buying grocery store apple pies, Josh decides to order a veritable buffet of sweet and savory pies from a local business, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the proprietor, Sarah, is a very attractive woman. Through the course of planning the party, a romance ensures, naturally, and it all culminates in the big party. Will Sarah’s catering be successful? Will the party impress Josh’s dad? Or will it lead to a very un-sweet end to their relationship?
“If you have to bring a pie to Christmas dinner but don’t bake. Or if you want to propose to your girlfriend using pumpkin pie or butter tarts.”
“Seriously? Those both happened?”
“On Valentine’s Day. The butter tart guy wanted fifteen butter tarts, one letter on top of each tart to spell ‘Will you marry me?’ Then he contacted me the day of, wondering if he should have six more butter tarts to add ‘please’ to the question.”
“So polite and Canadian,” Chloe says.”
Sarah was adorably awkward. She moved to Toronto from a small town for the opportunities, and now that she finally has her own pie shop, she’s determined to make a success. She works long hours, and besides her employees, she doesn’t make the time to meet people or do much after work other than watch Netflix. Watching her make friends with her new neighbors (of which one is the MC for the next book) was sweet, and I totally felt her anxiety about screwing up with them. What was also cute was how awkward Josh got around her! As mentioned, Josh has some serious dad issues. As a teen, Josh’s mom got sick, and he rebelled, and not just in the typical Asian “get B’s on the math test” way. It caused a schism with his father, and while his mom got better and the rest of the family talks to him, no one seems willing to address the grudge his dad is still holding. Even as a successful CEO, with a giant house in a swanky Toronto neighborhood, he still feels like he’s not enough. He has this in common with Sarah, as well – her mom told her that her business was doomed to fail – so, instead, they prop each other up. I liked how Josh loved Sarah’s passion for her business, and how confident he was that, despite never having done catering before, she’d be able to cater his party. They had some pretty great chemistry together, and it was fun watching them figure out how a relationship works.
There are a few things I’d consider hallmarks of Ms. Lau’s book – the comedic elements (Josh’s family members one-upping each other to pay at the dim sum restaurant had me howling), the food (YUM!), and the family warmth. While that last part isn’t initially evident, Josh’s friends provide a good substitute, especially when they decide to regale Sarah with embarrassing stories about him. As for the rest, I thought the conflict was believable, and I liked the way the resolution wrapped up all the threads nicely.
Overall, I’m excited by the direction of this new series and impatiently awaiting the next one. Plus, personally, I’m hoping for a novella with Amrita, one of Josh’s coworkers, and her fianceé Holly!