Callie and the Pumpkin Seed

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Callie and the Pumpkin Seed: A Cinderella Retelling by Sarah Beran (Autumn Fairy Tales book 7)

Save the bakery. Pay off her father’s debts. Marry the prince.

Only two of those things are actually on Callie’s to-do list. Marrying the prince isn’t even on her radar. She’s too busy baking, harvesting, cleaning, cooking, and taking care of her step family. And if — IF — she ever had thoughts of marriage, the green eyes of a certain new regular came with those thoughts.

Ever has spent a lifetime knowing he has to make a wise choice on who he weds, and his father has decided he’s had enough time to choose. After traveling the country and meeting heaps of well-intentioned young women, he finds himself drawn to a pumpkin-themed bakery and the delightful red-haired baker. But the secret he’s keeping from her could ruin everything.

“There was magic in the way simple ingredients could turn into something mouth-watering.”

Callie is of course referring to baked goods here, but I think we can also apply it to the story. A young woman desperate to look after her family; a prince in disguise; a dressing-making neighbor; and an impossible choice: All ingredients that can make a story. But just like a master pastry chef can elevate flour, eggs, and water to something magical, Beran has taken the simple ingredients of a Cinderella story and woven them into a rich and delightful tale.

This story was so much fun! All the characters came to life on the page, and Creampuff was the cutest little pup (I’m totally picturing him as a Samoyed — a literal cloud of white fur.) If it hadn’t been the middle of the night when I read this, I might have attempted to recreate some of Callie’s recipes because they all sounded so delicious! I love that this story was about more than just romantic relationships; we see healthy, supportive friendships of women lifting each other up.

There’s no magic in this world, yet the story unfolded as a true fairytale retelling without it. I loved the Princess and the Pea elements that were woven in, and the little nod to Les Miserables. And Beran’s use of puns more than makes up for the lack of magic.

5 Roses – Loved it and will definitely be reading it again.
A couple of sweet kisses at the end
No mention of blood
No swearing

(Thank you to the author for the ARC of this book. This is my honest review.)