Title: Oh! What a Pavlova by Isabella May
Genre: Women’s fiction, contemporary fiction
This book requires a warning; your tastebuds will tingle and tins full of baked goods should be sourced before you grab a cup of tea to read. Within a few chapters, I fancied focaccia, coconut macaroons and more. My diet went out of the window while reading this book.
In this debut, Isabella May has incorporated cake, travel, affairs and domestic abuse in this story following Kate Clothier. Like the initial impression of a well made pavlova, her life is perfect. She has a good job, travels to many different cites, has the ability to buy good clothes and foreign holidays as well as a secure relationship but when the dessert is sliced, its many layers are revealed. Some of these are rather messy. In one layer of Kate’s life, she is the confident professional, another she is looking for a boost of self esteem while in the other she is trapped in an abusive relationship.
It is easy to relate to Kate, who is not perfect and approaches her life with humour, flings and cake. She is either eating it or thinking about it. She could easily be your friend, collegue or sister. This connection I felt made me eager to see if she could accept the situation she finds herself in, build strength and break free. Isabella May’s book shows relationships are not simple and abuse does not have to be constant but can ebb and flow over time, adding to the confusion for the abused. This books highlights how domestic abuse can occur without friends and family knowing as well as showing things can change.
The only disappointment I had was the lack of recipes for all the cakes discussed at the back of the book.
Thank you, Isabella May for an ARC in exchange for a fair review. I look forward to your next book next year.