“Burnt Sugar” could be just another word for fudge gone wrong. In fudge making there only a short distance between absolutely right and horribly wrong, and in Damnations latest story there seems to be just that short distance between a “living happily ever after” and a dramatic ending. As you might know by now I’m not too keen on having a romantic storyline mixed with drama, but for Damnation I’ll make an exception as I do like her style of writing. She has a way of putting the romantic bits and pieces together to my liking.
In “Burnt Sugar” we get acquainted with Kirsten chef at the restaurant Taters, who has a little something to hide about her past – not that I think the “something” needs hiding - and Frances the daughter of the head chef and owner Russell. Frances has just returned to her father’s house after spending time abroad putting distance between herself, her father and their shared memories of her recently deceased mother. On her return home she finds that Kristen now occupies the “granny house” out back.
In the world of romance the first meeting between potential lovers often draws a lot of sparks and that’s also the case of not only the first but a number of meetings between the egocentric chef and the witty mouthed Frances. This sets the scene for a number of funny episodes and a witty dialogue.
As you might expect all the sparks that fly between the Kirsten and Frances do more than just keep the reader happy, it also set fire to a slow burning flame of attraction that lead to a first kiss and from there to less fighting and more time spend exploring a possible friendship and then a bit more than just friendship…..
Damnation doesn’t use the standard recipe of mixing a fair bit of angst into the romantic storyline but give us a “straight” and believable progression from friends to lovers and I think that this works just fine. If I should complain about something it’s the fact that the originally straight Kirsten doesn’t seem to take much time to process the fact of her sudden attraction to a woman – this is perhaps a little unlikely, but who cares it's a romance.
Most of the storyline is focused on the interaction between Kirsten and Frances including a fair bit of hot s.., but the story also includes a surrounding cast of family and friends that lend substance to the tale. The characters of Kirsten and Frances are well developed, sweet and lovable in contrast to their “opponents” connected to a new restaurant in the neighbourhood, who are rather sketchy and dark characters. I get the feeling that maybe the dramatic bits of the storyline - build around a number of dirty tricks played on the crew at Taters - are a sort of “add on” to the storyline, which was not planed from the start. As I’m really not too hot on mixing romance and drama I could have done with a less spectacular bit of drama, but it didn’t ruin the fun of reading for me - and I did read all of "Burnt Sugar", which is a rather long story, without any fast scrolling involved!
I've been looking in on a number of stories written by Damnation and I think that she has a well developed talent for putting together an entertaining romance. Should you find that you agree with me, you could also look up her story “A Place Called Home”.
If you find yourself interested in the cooking theme you could look up “Cooking on High” by another favourite writer of mine Crème Brulee this story also has a fair mix of romance and drama that I found entertaining.