Reviewed by Helyce
A few weeks ago, faced with another tedious and mundane task at work, I opened up Audible to search for something that would make the task at hand a bit more bearable. Audible had just emailed me a romance spotlight list and Cake: A Love Story was second on the list. The short blurb about a rockstar with a tragic past was all I needed to know before I clicked on purchase, downloaded to my phone, got my earbuds in and began to listen. I was drawn in and my tedious filing job went very smoothly after that!
In Cake: A Love Story, we meet Jake McKallister and Casey Caldwell. They meet at the wedding of Jake’s half-brother Mitch and Casey’s friend, Kate. After their initial and somewhat awkward meeting, these two get to talking and really hit it off. Jake, a successful musician who is, understandably, extremely guarded and suspicious of new people, finds it easy to be himself around Casey. She makes him laugh, and she brings a sense of calm to him. Though they only have a couple days together before Jake has to return to his tour, it’s clear that they have something. They continue getting to know each other by phone, texting, and Facetiming while Jake is away. It’s not long before Jake can’t stand being apart from Casey, and he invites her to London where he has three back to back concerts. Of course, they don’t want to be apart after that and Casey makes the decision to stay with Jake so they can get to know each other.
You’d think living the life of a rockstar would be the ultimate and in a lot of ways it is. But Jake is still dealing with his past, both emotionally and physically. Life on the road is hard, and even though he enjoys performing, at the end of the day he still has to deal with a lot of pain and the voices in his head. Being with Casey goes a long way in quieting the voices, but Jake will need to let Casey into more than just his heart before they can truly be together.
The heart of this series focuses on the traumatic event of Jake’s kidnapping and how it shaped each and every member of Jake’s family. One of 6 children, Jake is 13 when he’s taken and suffers unimaginable abuse at the hands of a man referred to as Ray. He’s gone for over a month before he’s found. We learn a few details about the kidnapping from Jake’s perspective in this book. While difficult to read, the imagery conjured up by this author’s words are emotional and heartbreaking; but at the same time, we see a true testament to the power of love and family.
One of the things I really liked about Casey’s character was that she never changed anything about herself, her views or her morals, after meeting Jake. That’s not to say she wasn’t very tempted, but she doesn’t have sex with him the weekend they meet and when they part after only two days, she doesn’t know what the future will bring. She’s okay with that and feels strongly that if it’s meant to be, it will. I had mixed feelings about Casey’s decision to completely change her life plan in order to go on the road with Jake. While she says “no” initially, I felt she too easily accepted his offer to help her financially so that she could stay with him through his European tour, instead of working through the summer as she had planned. Then I was like, “Get real, super rich hot rock star vs working? Yeah. I’d pick the rockstar life in a heartbeat.”
I enjoyed getting to know Jake as well. I’m glad the first look we get at Jake is him with his family in the setting of his brother’s wedding.The joy we see when he first arrives jumps off the page and he clearly lets go of his stage persona. His interactions with his mom and dad and brothers, completely at odds with his closed off rockstar personality. I loved that it was Jake who makes a grand gesture and invites Casey to meet him in London where he had 3 concerts scheduled, all expenses paid. I liked that Casey struggled with indecision at accepting such a generous gift after such a short courtship, but her heart wins and she jumps at the chance to join him.
At its base, this story has one of my favorite themes: plain Jane gets the hot stud. Of course, Casey is far from plain-she is attractive, intelligent, confident and has a unique sense of humor. Jake is gorgeous and sexy and a serious musical prodigy, but he has major baggage. Music was his joy prior to his kidnapping, and music brought him back from the darkness along with a lot of love and support from his family, most especially his mother.
This story is told in alternating perspectives with lots of secondary characters who provide the backdrop for a very well rounded story. Both Jake and Casey’s family make appearances and even with limited page time, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. While sometimes dark, there are also a lot of humorous moments sprinkled within. The kidnapping is touched upon as we get Jake’s version of it, but you are left with the feeling that there is so much more than what he reveals in this book. Amazon shows that the print book is 610 pages long but I at no time felt that the story dragged. Yes, I was anxious to get details on the kidnapping and how Jake was able to survive, but I also really enjoyed just hanging out with Casey and Jake, on the road as they got to know each other.
Definitely reading the next one!