by Michelle Diener
Series: Regency London #2
Genres: Historical Romance, Mystery
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
A Secret Treaty and a Secret Life. LONDON, 1812: Giselle Barrington is living a double life, juggling the duties of chef with those of spy catcher. She must identify her father’s savage killer before the shadowy man finds her and uncovers the explosive political document her father entrusted to her safekeeping. Posing as a French cook in the home of Lord Aldridge, Giselle is surrounded by unlikely allies and vicious enemies. In the streets where she once walked freely among polite society, she now hides in plain sight, learning the hard lessons of class distinction and negotiating the delicate balance between servant and master. Lord Aldridge’s insatiable curiosity about his mysterious new chef blurs the line between civic duty and outright desire. Carefully watching Giselle’s every move, he undertakes a mission to figure out who she really is—and, in the process, plunges her straight into the heart of danger when her only hope for survival is to remain invisible.
Michelle Diener is one of my favorite authors for historical suspense with a dash of romance. I adored the Emperor’s Conspiracy and her newest book Banquet of Lies was absolutely incredible. The tale is filled with the colorful characters and a suspenseful plot that kept me reading all day. Mini review: suspenseful, engaging and flows effortlessly.
We meet Giselle Barrington while she is attending a party with her father in France. When he steps outside for a meeting and, doesn’t return she steps into the garden to search for him and unwittingly is witness to his brutal murder. In her pocket is a document meant for the crown and the reason for her father’s death. Giselle is forced into hiding until she finds someone she can trust to turn over the document to the intended party. The tale that unfolds is charming, suspenseful and filled with mystery. Diener weaves in a side dish of romance that will make you swoon and laugh.
Giselle is absolutely delightful and is quite clever thanks to her unusual upbringing. I love strong heroines who are feisty, a little snarky, and book smart. She is not afraid to handle the task at hand. Giselle was brave, even when she wanted to hide and I enjoyed watching her escapades. Lord Aldridge is kind to his servants and happily assists the government. He is quite fetching and clever. I loved watching Giselle completely unravel him. The two had a lovely chemistry in this slow building romance that took back stage to the suspenseful plot. Other characters included characters we meet in previous books added to the tale and kept me flipping the pages.
Banquet of Lies delivers a suspenseful mystery that kept me engaged. Diener effortlessly spun this tale and literally swept me up with the colorful characters, and engaging plot. I could smell the bread rising, see the sneer on the head servants face, and taste the danger as Giselle fled through the streets. While the romance was a welcome thread and added both humor and excitement to the tale. The characters felt genuine from the servants to the villains and I appreciated how even secondary characters were memorable. Diener is brilliant at clean, romantic suspense especially in this era. I am hoping she continues to deliver more of these tales. She skillfully weaved historical details into the tale making it feel authentic all while keeping it light and engaging.
Fans of the Emperor’s Conspiracy and historical mysteries will find Banquet of Lies a pure delight. Michelle Diener is on my auto buy list, and I happily stalk her.
Four and half cups of coffee out of five
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