Review of Battle Royal by Lucy Parker


Title: Battle Royal (Palace Insiders #1)
Author: Lucy Parker
Genre / Themes: Contemporary romance / reality TV / Baking* Enemies-to-lovers 

Release date: 17 Aug 2021

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 4 Stars



Four years ago, Sylvie Fairchild charmed the world as a contestant on the hit baking show, Operation Cake. Her ingenious, colorful creations captivated viewers and intrigued all but one of the judges, Dominic De Vere, the hottest pastry chef in London. When her glittery unicorn cake went spectacularly sideways, Dominic was quick to vote her off the show. Since then, Sylvie has managed to use her fame to help fulfill her dream of opening a bakery, Sugar Fair. The toast of Instagram, Sugar Fair has captured the attention of the Operation Cake producers…and a princess.


Dominic is His Majesty the King’s favorite baker, the go-to for sweet-toothed A-List celebrities, and a veritable British institution. He’s brilliant, talented, hard-working. And an icy, starchy grouch. Learning that the irksome Sylvie will be joining him on the Operation Cake judging panel is enough to make the famously dour baker even more grim. Her fantastical baking is only slightly more troublesome than the fact that he can’t stop thinking about her pink-streaked hair and irrepressible dimple.


When Dominic and Sylvie learn they will be fighting for the once in a lifetime opportunity to bake a cake for the upcoming wedding of Princess Rose, the flour begins to fly as they’re both determined to come out on top.

The bride adores Sylvie’s quirky style. The palace wants Dominic’s classic perfection.

In this royal battle, can there be room for two?


I have read all of Lucy Parker's previous books and they have all worked brilliantly for me. This one was no different. Grumpy - sunshine is favourite trope of mine in romance, adding bakers and reality TV shows and it's almost too good to be true.

I went in expecting light-hearted and fun romance, with lots of rival bakers shenanigans. This was not the case, but it was still amazing.

This was a touching, slow burn romance with two MCs who are opposites on the surface but deep down both are fiercely loyal to the people they love, both have suffered serious trauma in their past which they have taken a different approach to dealing with. He is distant, straight-lacd, keeping his emotions in check, following the rules and avoiding making human connections. She is the opposite - flamboyant, rule breaker, wearing her heart on her sleeve. In fact they both crave a deep connection, but are scared to give in to their feelings.

This story is not s romcom despite cover suggesting otherwise. Grief and loss and neglect take up a central place in it. It's heaertbreaking, very vivid and moving. The focus for me on how people who have been hurt in the past learn and dare to let people in again. There is a lot of happening here, both involving the MCs and the secondary characters. It's overwhelming at times but still the romance, the journey of the MCs towards each other shines through for me.

I felt the presentation of the hero's struggle with touch and spontaneity was well done, it felt real and relatable. The consent was brilliant, and just with respect to sex, but to touch in general. The romance was dreamy with great sexual tension. I loved how they worked as a couple, there was a strong sense of partnership despite the professional competition. I loved how their rivalry progressed with no dirty tricks and backstabbing between them.

There is plenty of dirty tricks on the reality show the MCs judge though. It showed the backstage rather than the glamour and success of reality TV cooking shows. It came close to Masterchef than GBBO in my opinion but it was still entertaining to see.

I am still not a fan of romances based of real life royal families. There were made up elements that made it feel distant though I still prefer

Don't like real royals, fake titles are used but still it was too close to reality.

Overall, this is an engaging romance, with some fun elements but mostly dealing with serious/heavy topics. I had some issues here and there but in end I really enjoyed it and can't wait for the next book in the series already.

CW: grief, parental neglect, loss of a parent/guardian, stabbing attack, stalking

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