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Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Banquet of Lies

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Banquet of Lies (2013) Michelle Diener

Set in London in 1812.

This is my favorite book in this series–and I like the other two books quite well.

Giselle Barrington has seen her father murdered for the secrets her carries. She manages to escape back to London, but does not know who she can turn to, since it was an Englishman who killed her father. She she turns to her friend–a man who was sous-chef for her mother and has always treated her like a daughter–who decides she should hide in the kitchen of a young lord who wants a french cook.

“What do you do with the recipes?” The woman looked genuinely interested now.

“I’m compiling a reference work of dishes from the cultures of Europe. But mainly I follow them.”

“Follow them . . .” Confused, the woman looked around the crowded room, as if the people swirling around them could help her. “How?”

Gigi smiled. “The usual way. In the kitchen.”

“You make the dishes?” The woman tapped Gigi on the arm with her fan. “With the servants?” Her voice was a squeak.

“With the chef who has accompanied us for the last ten years.”

“Ah.”

A chef was different. A giant step up from a cook.

Jonathan, Lord Aldridge has been working for the crown since he was forced to return to England and assume the title after his brother’s unexpected death. Currently, the biggest concern is the murder of a folklorist who carried secrets and messages, and the search for his daughter, who may or may not have the treaty he was carrying.

This story is full of food and cooking and ALSO folklore. And it’s a mystery! It’s like someone wrote a book to check all my boxes.

And it’s got lovely characters.

She was far too thin, and Gigi wondered if she was being starved here. It hardly seemed possible, and she didn’t think Iris was someone who would stand for that, but the evidence couldn’t be dismissed.

“I don’t mind what I eat, Cook. It’s all good to me.” Mavis blushed at being spoken to directly, and fiddled with her straight brown hair. “Never had too much at home. Too many of us, see? Five brothers and two sisters. And me brothers, they took as much as they could grab. Never was much left for us girls.”

“We’ve been fattening Mavis up,” Iris said, and something in the way she said it made Gigi go very still.

If this was evidence of Mavis with more meat on her bones, she must have been a walking skeleton when she’d gotten here.

Although she is only a secondary character, Iris is a delight.

“You look like a beautiful Viking maiden. I can see you with a raven on your shoulder, riding into battle to choose who will fall and who will be spared.”

“Eh?” Iris stared at her, holding her ash-smudged hands away from her white apron.

“The Valkyries. From Norse legend. They rode horses into battle, and chose who was to fall and die.”

“Not sure I’d like to have that sort o’ responsibility.”

The other thing I find fascinating is that the secondary “bad guy” in this story (not the murderer) is awful, but also completely understandable. You can see why he acts the way he does, and how he justifies his actions. It doesn’t make things he does any better, but it’s comprehensible.

I really love these characters and this story.

Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: 9.5/10

Categories: 9/10, British, Historical, Mystery, Re-Read, Romance     Comments (0)    



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