Saturday, August 11, 2012

2012 book 213

Lawrence Norfolk's John Saturnall's Feast
A historical novel set in the days of Cromwell about a boy whose mother dies after being accused of witchcraft, and then he and his gifted palate go on to work in the kitchen of the manor nearby--well, it should have been right up my alley. But the novel's description is very misleading: "Orphaned when his mother dies of starvation, having been cast out of her village as a witch, John is taken in at the kitchens at Buckland Manor, where he quickly rises from kitchen-boy to Cook, and is known for his uniquely keen palate and natural cooking ability. However, he quickly gets on the wrong side of Lady Lucretia, the aristocratic daughter of the Lord of the Manor. In order to inherit the estate, Lucretia must wed, but her fiancé is an arrogant buffoon. When Lucretia takes on a vow of hunger until her father calls off her engagement to her insipid husband-to-be, it falls to John to try to cook her delicious foods that might tempt her to break her fast." That encompasses maybe one chapter of the book and it happens more than halfway through. Really, this book is a mish-mash of stuff--GREAT chapters on life in the kitchen, not-so-great chapters set in battle/dealing with Cromwell's goons, and kind of annoying chapters involving a completely unbelievable romance. I read the whole thing but didn't enjoy it that much. B-.

An e-galley was provided by the publisher. This book will be released on September 4th.

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