Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Banquet of Lies

Friday, August 18, 2017

Banquet of Lies (2013) Michelle Diener

Set in England in 1812.

Giselle Barrington has spent her life following her father around Europe, collecting folklore and working secretly for the Crown. She’s developed her own strange passion: food, recipes, and cooking.

“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.”


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

I especially like how this love of food and cooking is entirely natural, given her past. Yes, it is strange, but it’s not illogical.

Lord Aldridge was called home from the army after his brother’s unexpected death and his rising to become heir. His service in the military has allowed him to serve the Crown in a different manner now–in the intelligence service.

I especially love how it’s clear and reasonable that Gigi would have no idea who to turn to after her father’s murder.

“Unless her father told her, and I doubt he would have, knowing how sensitive this was. She wouldn’t know who to contact.”

Thus her need to hide is reasonable and not manufactured.

I also like that–since she has had an unusual childhood, she sees things others would miss.

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.

Another thing I especially like is that there are two separate bad guys in this story. One, the usual–a turncoat working for money, but the other, and common man who has worked his way up from nothing, and does bad things not because he is a bad person, but because he is afraid of losing his position. It makes the things he does all the more heart breaking, because you know why he does then, and you can see that he realizes when he has done wrong.

That man is far more interesting than the turncoat.

Plus, I LOVE who takes out the bad guy, in the end.
Rating: 9.5/10

Published by Gallery Books

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