Just an ordinary morning for Sarah Sweeting—watching her favorite baking show, Cupcake Rivalry, getting ready for work at her Granny’s small-town bakery. All that changes when Sarah spots a contestant who looks like her, sounds like her, moves like her.
Was this her twin sister? The twin her mother ran away with twenty years ago? Were hers and Granny’s prayers finally being answered?
When Granny confirms Sarah’s shocking discovery, Granny suffers a heart attack.
Raven Souwer’s morning began at a frenzied pace—incessantly ringing phones and a Beverly Hills’ bakery full of customers. All because everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the Cupcake Rivalry contestants—Raven and her best friend, Will Durning.
But a phone call from an excited woman who claims to be Raven’s long-lost sister—a sister Raven has no memory of—informs Raven that a grandmother she never knew was in the hospital.
The call changes the course of Raven’s life and brings up the pain she thought she’d overcome.
Will Sarah and Raven finally be united, or will other rivalries separate them again?
My thoughts: I love baking, though I can't say that I come up with really creative recipes like Dr. Pepper cup cakes with Frito frosting. lol. I enjoy books about bakeries and bake offs, so I thought that this story was fun. Especially with the added mystery surrounding what happened to separate the twins so many years before. I thought that the author did a good job exploring some different themes with the story, as well as the heartbreak of the twins being raised in different environments. It does deal with some difficult subjects, but the author handles them well. Overall, this was a delightful read.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.
Click here to get your copy! This post contains affiliate links.
About the Author
Award-winning author and beloved speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture women’s souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father.
Life is a journey. Terri lived in fear most of her life. Stories helped her see life through the lens of adventure and God’s abiding love. Those stories were the seeds that changed her perspective. They empowered her to be brave. She hopes her stories will do the same for you.
She is the author of critically-acclaimed women’s devotional Making Eye Contact with God, the award-winning novel She Does Good Hair, CUT IT OUT!, Really Bad Hair Day, and award-winning novel, Sweet Rivalry.
More from Terri
Where do stories come from? Oh, so many places. Sweet Rivalry began over ten years ago with an idea called the “cupcake sisters.” Two sisters who worked in a small hometown bakery trying to be true to family recipes and not get overrun by the food chains. Not much more than that. Boring, right?
The other day, I ran across my notes written years ago with other ideas for the sisters. No plots could carry an interesting enough story to get the creative juices going.
A dear friend—and amazing author—gave me a life-sized cupcake candle. The vibrant colors and glittery icing were meant to inspire me to develop the idea and write the book. It sat on my inspiration shelf for years. At first every time I looked at it, I would smile.
But, as the years went by the sun faded the candle, as did my hope of finding the right story for the cupcake sisters.
Then, during COVID I got hooked on those reality shows about long-lost families being reunited after decades of separation. Some of the families had no idea the other family member existed.
Each episode meant a fist of soppy tissues. Yet, even with the dramatic music, professional editing, and big build-up, some families’ smiles didn’t quite reach their eyes.
I wondered, what happens to these people after the camera crews leave? After the emotional reunions, the excitement subsides and reality settles into their respective homes? How do these people from very different histories become a family? Do they even try? Do they want to face the secrets that separated them?
Some of the “long-lost” family members were children from affairs. Most were children given up through adoption. Others abandoned. One man found his birth mother, only to learn he was the result of a rape. How do they navigate the choppy and complex psychological waters?
These interesting stories became delicious ingredients for the Sweet Rivalry novel. Twin sisters separated as toddlers by a troubled mother. One sister, Sarah was raised by her loving, Christian grandmother who owned the local Sweet’s Bakery.
The other sister, Raven was raised by her addicted mother, in crack houses. Still, Raven manages to become a celebrated pastry chef.
How do twins with completely different childhoods become a family? How does the sister raised in a loving, stable, Christian environment form a relationship with the sister who has seen the worst of society and had to pull herself from a terrible background all on her own? Who now blames God for the horrific things that happened to her?
And a grandmother that hides a terrible secret?
Now, throw into the mix three handsome men vying for the twins’ affections, then bake with the emotional investments into the lives of these women, and you’ve got quite a recipe for a delectable story.
With humor and passion and delicious recipes, Sweet Rivalry will satisfy the hungry reader looking for a unique story of hope.
You know, Sweet Rivalry’s journey proved to me once again, that creativity can’t be forced, and GOD’s timing is always the best—even if it is a ten-year wait.
How about a recipe?
Raven’s Dr. Pepper Chocolate Cupcakes with Fritos Frosting
The Recipe That Almost Won the Cupcake Rivalry competition for Raven and Will.
Raven’s cupcake recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar packed
2 eggs room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Dr Pepper
½ cup buttermilk
Will’s Fritos Cream Cheese Frosting
4 cup powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter softened
6 oz cream cheese softened
4 T Dr Pepper to taste
Original, Regular flavor Fritos (up to 1 cup)—Don’t use the scoop type
Raven’s Chocolate Dr Pepper Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350o F. Prepare 2-12 count muffin tins with cupcake cup liners (22-24 total).
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer (or a hand mixer and large bowl), add in butter, granulated and brown sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Beat on low until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Keeping mixer speed on low, add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix in the Dr Pepper.
- Add the other half of the dry ingredients as well as the buttermilk. Mix until just combined—do not overmix. Batter should be thick and fluffy.
- Pour cupcake batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups 2/3 full. Tap the tin on the counter a few times to level the batter.
- Bake cupcakes one batch at a time for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Place muffin tin on a wire cooling rack to cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove cupcakes and allow to finish cooling on wire rack.
- Wait until cupcakes are completely cooled before applying the frosting.
Will’s Fritos Cream Cheese Frosting
- Use a clean stand mixer (or a hand-mixer & large bowl) on high speed beat the softened butter until smooth and creamy, roughly 2 minutes.
- Drop speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. May be clumpy at this stage—don’t worry.
- Keeping speed on low, slowly beat in softened cream cheese. Will recommends cutting the cream cheese into 4-5 pieces and mixing in one piece at a time.
- Finally, add in the Dr. Pepper. Now if you want more Dr. Pepper flavor, you can add more, and you can add up to a cup more of powdered sugar, but after that, you lose the great cream cheese flavor.
- Finely ground ½ cup of Fritos. Almost as fine as coffee grounds. Fold in by hand into frosting.
- Frost the cupcakes.
- Remaining Fritos you can either roughly ground and sprinkled on top, or Will likes to leave one Frito curl nestled on top, right before serving.
- Eat immediately—I mean, who would wait?
More recipes can be found at: https://authorterrigillespie.com/terri-gillespie-recipes/
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Miriam Jacob, April 6
Genesis 5020, April 7
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 8
Splashes of Joy, April 8
For Him and My Family, April 9
Texas Book-aholic, April 10
deb’s Book Review, April 11
Inklings and notions, April 12
Aryn The Libraryan, April 13
Mary Hake, April 13
Locks, Hooks and Books, April 15
Vicky Sluiter, April 15
She Lives To Read, April 16
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 17
Pause for Tales, April 17
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 18
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 19
Spoken from the Heart, April 19
To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon Gift Card, signed copy of Sweet Rivalry, Sweet Rivalry Coffee Mug, Sweet Rivalry bookmark, and a Hand-poured Cupcake Candle!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.