Farah Heron’s Accidentally Engaged is mouthwatering romantic comedy that layers on tropes like a buttery, flaky dough.
Reena Manji is a dedicated baker who’s ready to kick her passion for bread and baking into high gear. When she hears of a couple’s cooking contest with the grand prize being a scholarship to a culinary institute, Reena desperately wants to enter. There’s just one glaring problem: She doesn’t have a partner, or even a boyfriend. But the solution might lie in the shape of hunky Nadim Remtulla. Her British neighbor works for her father, and Reena’s parents already tried to set the pair up. But now Reena needs his help and he’s all too happy to help make her dream a reality.
This book is for anyone who’s discovered the joy of bread-making, especially bakers who hover over their sourdough starters, waiting for them to grow and bloom and get ready to be turned into warm, delicious loaves. Food—cooking it, sharing it, eating it—is an extension of love and care in Accidentally Engaged. Much of this wonderful slow-burn romance plays out in the kitchen, and readers will be deliciously tortured by how long it takes Reena and Nadim to realize how well they complement each other. Heron also deepens both characters by exploring their different experiences and backgrounds. While both Reena and Nadia are Muslim and of Indian descent, Reena’s experiences as a Canadian Indian and Nadim’s as a British Indian are different. Heron weaves those divergences into their developing relationship in both subtle moments and more overt discussions, perfectly depicting how a couple organically learns more about one another.
As Reena takes charge of making her dreams happen and Nadim plays the role of supportive and enthusiastic cheerleader amidst complicated family dynamics, Heron hits every romantic beat with a confidence of an author who knows exactly what she’s doing. There are meddling family members, close-quarters cooking, a fake relationship and the dreamy boy next door with his beefy muscles and swoony accent. This book is undoubtedly what Heron would pull out during the Showstopper Challenge on a literary version of “The Great British Bake Off.”