Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Banquet of Lies

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Banquet of Lies (2013) Michelle Diener (Regency London)

Banquet of LiesSet in London in 1812.

After witnessing the murder of her father, Giselle Barrington flees back to London. She cannot give into her grief, for she has to find someone to take the information she holds.

(H)e’d be looking for the document he had killed her father for.

The document her father had given to her minutes after he left the ambassador early this morning, for safekeeping. As he always did.

Unfortunately, she has no idea who to trust, since the murderer was an Englishman, and her the only thing she did for her father was carry the documents.

She’d asked Georges if the man he worked for, the Duke of Wittaker, would do something with it— could take it to the right person. But Georges had told her his employer would most likely toss it in the fire, given his long-standing fight with the Crown over taxes.

Her father collected folktales, which is why the traveled around Europe. Which is one of the things that initially drew me into the story.

She had a strange sense, as they helped her along, that her plight was like that of a girl in one of the folktales her father collected. The heroine loses her home and her family, fears for her life and finds a position as a servant. How many hapless girls had taken this path, in how many fairy tales?

She was the Goose Girl of London Town. All she needed was the happy ending.

But Gigi collects recipes–and cooks them with the French chef who had been her support since her mother died. So she takes a position as a chef, in the hopes she can find someone to pass the documents to.

But what I love most about this book are the side characters, and how their actions show you the kind of people they are.

“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.

There’d been deep, cold anger in Iris’s voice, and she looked across at her. Their eyes met, and Gigi felt a sense of connection bloom, their mutual anger and horror at Mavis’s suffering binding them together.

The people Gigi works with are fully fleshed and complex. And also help Gigi realize how different her life has been from theirs.

“How could he turn on her? He liked her. He took her in.”

“He’s under strain. Mostly of his own making, but he’d like to blame it on me. Maybe some of it is my fault, but he’s responsible for his own behavior.” Gigi tightened her lips. “He reacted without thinking.”

“How can you send someone out to starve without thinking?” Iris asked, her voice soft.

I love this story. It is a comfort I turn to again and again.

Publisher: Gallery Books

Rating: 9.5/10


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