Review: Banquet of Lies by Michelle Diener

In Sweden one fateful night, the life of a young English woman changes forever. Giselle Barrington witnesses the murder of her father, a spy for the British crown. While in Sweden, Giselle’s (Gigi) father procures a dangerous document that if discovered could mean a political nightmare for England, France, Sweden, and Russia!

It’s for this document he is killed for. He gave the document to Gigi to keep safe shortly before he will killed. After witnessing the murder Gigi knows three things–she must take the document safely back to England and second, the person who killed her father was also British which means there is a traitor in her father’s circle, and finally that man who killed her father will surely come for her next.

She needs to get it in into the hands of someone she can trust but she’s been away from the English court for so long and her father basically kept her in the dark as to his dealings.

She makes it back to England safely but now she needs to find somewhere to hide and figure out what she should do next. She contacts her long time friend and chef, Georges who works for prestigious duke in London.

She knows she can’t go to her family home where she will be a sitting duck, so Georges comes up with an alternative–hiding in plain sight. There is a position for a French cook at the home of Lord Aldridge. He is a bachelor with a small household and Georges could write her a letter of recommendation for the position. Lord Aldridge’s home is practically across the street from her family home and no one would look for her in the kitchens.

Luckily for Gigi, she spent many hours in the kitchen with George even though she was a lady, her mother was French and she longed to be around anything French to help feel closer to her mother who had passed. When she arrives at the home of Lord Aldridge so immediately sets to work cooking and organizing the kitchen staff.

Lord Aldridge summon’s her on her first night to his dining room to praise her excellent cooking, when he first lays eyes on her he is stunned–aren’t cooks supposed to be old and frumpy? This woman is elegant and beautiful! But there is something odd about his new cook that he can’t quite figure out. One night he sees her sneaking off in to the dark allies alone. Could she be a French spy sent to spy on him?

Gigi knows the man from Sweden will soon come for her, and her suspicions are confirmed when she spots men staking out her father’s house….she must hand over the document and quickly but can she trust her employer? Lord Aldridge seems like a trustworthy gentleman but then again, she could be wrong….but either way time is running out.

This novel was a very very fast read! It jumped right into the story which was refreshing. I loved that I didn’t have to read a few chapters before things got going, it immediately grabbed my attention and I wanted to know what happened next. The chapters were very direct and to the point….there wasn’t a lot of fluff going on which I also liked. It made things happen fast and the story clip along at a steady pace. I couldn’t believe I read almost the first half in one sitting!

I thought Lord Aldridge was charming and likable. He was a little cliche but I liked him never-the-less. He was a jolly English gentleman through and through. I liked that he wasn’t rake-ish or cocky, he seemed genuine and honest so obviously I enjoyed his character immensely.

Gigi was also fun and spunky. I never felt like she was overly stubborn or too innocent. She seemed like a woman well in charge of herself and her faculties and didn’t really need anyone but at the same time was vulnerable and sweet. I also enjoyed her character throughout the novel.

The only issues I had with the book was some of the prose. For me the linguists seemed a little too modern and out of place. There were times that I found myself a little put off by some of the choice of phrases in the novel….they seemed out of place not only for the period but for the social class as well. I expect the upper class or ‘nobs’ to speak a little more eloquently, polished, and poised than some of what I read in sections of the novel.

I also thought the time span was a little too short. I was hoping that she would hide out in the house for more than a week. I thought a month perhaps would have been a little more fitting. I thought the author tried to cram a little too much in over the course of one week.

The plot was original and I liked all the food references. I am not really a foodie but when I was reading some of the descriptions I found my mouth watering along with Lord Aldridge’s! YUMMY!

Overall  the novel was a fun, cheeky read. I liked the characters and the storyline was original enough to keep me interested in what happened next. I was still guessing at the shadowy man’s identity all the way through till the end. I look forward to reading more from her!

Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Banquet of Lies by Michelle Diener

  • ebook, 352 pages
  • Expected publication: October 22nd 2013 by Gallery Books
  • ISBN 1451684460 (ISBN13: 9781451684469)
  • Review copy provided by: HFVBT as part of the Banquet of Lies virtual book tour in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4 out of 5

Genre: Historic fiction, romance, Regency lit, mystery

Memorable lines/quotes: 

There were rarely absolutely black villains in real life, her father was fond of saying. They were found in fairy tales to illustrate evil clearly, but most villains were colored in shades of gray.

Some secrets should never be told


Monday, October 21
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, October 22
Review at Historical Tapestry and The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, October 23
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Thursday, October 24
Review & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Linus’s Blanket

Friday, October 25
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Libraria
Interview at Historical Tapestry

Monday, October 28
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, October 29
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, October 30
Review at A Bookish Affair
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, October 31
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Friday, November 1
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

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