Thursday, March 21, 2024

Review - - Cut the Cake

Cut the Cake
by Leigh Duncan
Heart's Landing - Book 1
Publisher: Gardenia Street Publishing
Release Date: March 29, 2024
*Previously published by Hallmark Publishing
as A Simple Wedding (March 10, 2020)
Reviewed by PJ

Will a fake bride miss her chance at real love?

From the time she and her cousin played dress-up and took turns pretending they were brides, Jennifer Longley has dreamed of the day she’d have her very own Heart’s Landing wedding. Now, she finally has her chance to visit the charming seaside village where lovers stroll arm in arm past Bow Tie Pasta, Dress For A Day and Forget Me Knot Flowers. But there’s a catch—as the personal assistant to a famous movie star, Jenny’s only in town to make wedding arrangements for her boss, and to avoid a media circus, she must pretend she’s the one getting married. But once Jenny reserves the venue, orders the bouquet and, best of all, samples the cake for the simple wedding her boss described, the movie star changes all the plans.

While the other store owners grumble about a wishy-washy bride who can’t seem to make up her mind, Nick Bell is intrigued by the bride-to-be who visits his bakery every afternoon for sweet treats and conversation. He can’t help but befriend her. But when sparks fly between the town’s most eligible baker and Jenny, Nick finds it more and more difficult to remember that she’s already spoken for.

As Jenny deals with her boss’s ever-changing demands, she tries to hide her attraction to Nick. But things get more and more complicated … and what will happen once everyone learns the truth about the woman who is only pretending to be a bride?

PJ's Thoughts:

If you're a fan of Hallmark Channel movies there's a good chance you're going to love Leigh Duncan's Cut the Cake. This book brings the small, wedding destination town of Heart's Landing to life with vivid descriptions and fills the wedding-related businesses with likable people readers will want to know better. The story flows smoothly, like a gentle summer's ride down a lazy river, with occasional bumps but a sweet landing at the end. 

Jenny is an engaging character and I easily became invested in her, happily nudging her along the path of friendship with Nick and hoping for more. Nick is such a good guy...and he bakes! I fell for him right along with Jenny. Duncan does a good job of strengthening their friendship, and deepening their emotions, without crossing any relationship boundaries. Remember, Jenny is pretending to be engaged to someone else and planning her own wedding. I also appreciated the decisions made near the end of the story, giving Jenny and Nick the necessary time to strengthen their feelings without secrets between them. Kudos to Duncan for giving them the time to grow and solidify their relationship after all is revealed. 

If you're looking for a sweet, fun, feel-good romance filled with likable main characters, plenty of colorful secondary characters, and one high-maintenance cousin, I recommend giving Cut the Cake a try.  

*Cut the Cake is a retitled reissue of A Simple Wedding which was originally written by Leigh Duncan and published by Hallmark Publishing. Hallmark has closed their publishing arm and the rights to the book have been restored to the author. Duncan is reissuing the three books in her Heart's Landing series with new covers and titles but the same heartwarming stories. Watch for book two, Save the Dance (formerly A Cottage Wedding) on May 31, 2024 and book three, Kiss the Bride (formerly A Waterfront Wedding) on July 30, 2024. 


  1. This sounds like a fun story. Ms Duncan is not an author I have read yet. I have been missing some good stuff.

    1. I also recommend her Sugar Sand Beach series and Emerald Bay series. Both are women's fiction with romantic elements. Read the books in each series in order.

  2. I read this series under the Hallmark imprint and enjoyed all the three stories. The author does a nice mix of romance with women's fiction. I recommended Leigh Duncan's books to a fellow book club member that "wanted to read books that are like Hallmark movies."

  3. This series sound enjoyable. This one sounds like it would have made a good Hallmark movie. She will be an author I will look for. Thank you for the review and information on her books.

  4. Paula D. March 25 This series was published under the Hallmark imprint. I enjoyed the story very much. Jenny arrived at Heart's Landing to plan the secrect wedding for her boss. She meets Nick the baker. Jenny continues to keep up the charade that she is really the bride. It was very well written and l like the fact there were twists and turns throughout the book. Great read...