marquessMichael Shield, Marquess of Hatbrook, has a medical condition that causes him to crave sweets and yet, an hour after he eats them, to be confused, disoriented, weak, and shaking. The only quick cure is more cake.

Alys Redcake is the daughter of an industrialist whose hard work has brought him from owning factories (and putting his own children to work in them) to a knighthood. She loves decorating special cakes and overseeing the business at the tea shop her father owns.

The Marquess enjoys the cakes at Redcake’s Tea Shop, and he also enjoys seeing the comely Alys, especially when she has a serving of trifle or a few scones for him.

At this point, everyone is happy, even if the Marquess is troubled by his medical condition and Alys is troubled by the handsome, debonair Marquess. A traumatic early experience has convinced Alys that marriage is not for her, and she’s not quite sure what to do about how tempting she finds the noble cake-fancier.

Alys’s father, however, wants her married and out of the business, along with her younger sisters, who went to finishing school and are as interested in dresses and young men as all the other fashionable young ladies in London.

Can Alys fit in with the limited scope of a wealthy girl’s life when her satisfaction in life has always come from her work? Can the Marquess adjust to seeing a “cakie” at society balls?

There are plenty of fully-developed characters in the story, numerous subplots to keep everything lively from start to finish, and some lavish love scenes. The book also brings up some thought-provoking points in history, economics, psychology, and sociology. If your book club can handle  some graphic sexual content, this book could bring up lively discussions.