Review: Sweet Thing by Nicola Marsh

sweet thingTitle: Sweet Thing

Author: Nicola Marsh

Mills & Boon imprint: Dare

Year of publication: 2018

The heroine: Pastry chef Abigail Prendigast

The hero: Entrepreneur Tanner King

The blurb: Abby loves her new life working at Sydney’s finest patisserie. Working alongside brooding new man-in-charge Tanner is an unexpected but delicious challenge, especially as each night their attraction only grows hotter! But Tanner’s past is as dark as the ink on his skin… He’ll let her get closer than close in the bedroom, but dare Abby go deeper?

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: I have mixed feelings about this book for a number of reasons. Abby has spent the past year rebuilding her life. Her parents are wealthy and she grew up in a life of privilege, and did what she was told. She married a man she didn’t love at twenty-one, only to find him verbally and emotionally abusive, so she walked out. Her parents threatened to cut her off financially if she didn’t come crawling back, but she stood firm and found herself a job working for Remy King. Once he found out her situation, he offered her the flat above the patisserie and a job she’s grown to love.

When Remy falls off a ladder and breaks his leg, he calls upon his younger brother, Tanner, to help out at the shop until he’s better. Tanner has owned restaurants in the past and is currently invested in several nightclubs. He shares something with Abby – an emotionally abusive parent, in his father. Their beloved mother died in a car accident when Tanner was ten and Remy was fifteen, and the old man gave Tanner hell for the next five years until he died.

So Tanner doesn’t want to get involved with anyone because he can’t deal with relationships. Abby wants to let loose after mundane sex with the ex. It doesn’t take long for the sparks to fly and they’re hot and heavy with each other.

While I liked them both and wanted to see them get their happily ever after, a few things grated. The use of the word “frigging” for one. It’s a very Aussie slang word and ugh, I find it so juvenile. The Dare range is supposed to be full on in terms of language and descriptions, so why use that word? The cover also states that Nicola Marsh is an Aussie, but I had to wonder if she lived in Sydney, where the book is set, because nothing seemed to stand out as coming from an insider. My suspicions were confirmed when she misspelled the name of an inner city suburb – there is an identically named suburb in Melbourne, but the spellings are different. She used the Melbourne suburb spelling (how did the editors miss this??). When I looked at her website, I found out I was right – she’s from Melbourne. So why not set the book there? It would have felt much more authentic, but that’s probably only because I am a Sydneysider and I live in Sydney, and I know the city really well. I could picture the patisserie in my head in the Strand Arcade, right in the heart of the city.

I also found it strange that Tanner was still so mired in the past. Yes, I understand he was treated horribly by his father and it wasn’t his fault, but half his life later and he’s still so angry. As much as my romantic heart would like to believe it, meeting the right person doesn’t magically make all of that go away. Tanner would need to seek professional help to deal with his issues.

Lastly, tattoos does not a bad boy make. What is with this trope? It seems that any time I read about the hero with tattoos, he’s instantly pegged a bad boy. That’s not always the case.

Did I enjoy this book? I did. Did I love it? No.