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Banquet of Lies (Regency London #2)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  276 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Gallery Books (first published October 20th 2013)
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Lady Vigilante (Feifei)

Alright. I probably just screwed up my chances of getting approved from NetGalley but whatever, here goes.

So. I didn't finish this. Stopped at 34%. Why? Here's a couple of reasons.

1. The heroine aka Giselle aka Gigi aka Madame Leveel aka The Cook <-- what a mouthful.

I got why she needed her vengeance, what drove her to move forward, but honestly? Her character was so spiteful I just couldn't find myself to like her. She has that whole I'm-better-than-you-and-I-know-it attitude going on.


My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

After Giselle witnesses the death of her father, she’s forced to go into hiding in order to find out more about the document for which he was killed for. The document that her father entrusted to her right before he died. She takes a position as a French cook in the house of Lord Aldridge yet she struggles in this position, not
Tara Chevrestt
This has to be my favorite Diener book and it's the third one I've read. I still have more to go...and I sincerely hope there is a sequel to this, perhaps a series. I sense Duke Wittaker may have a story. What an intriguing man.

But...let's talk about this one. I love the heroine. She doesn't crumble to pieces after witnessing her father's murder. No... Instead, she takes top-secret correspondence and attempts to find the man she needs to deliver it to, all the while posing as a chef, fighting wi
Apr 07, 2013 Kara-karina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh gods, I can't tell you how much I love this author! Every book is like pure gooey chocolaty indulgence!

Banquet of Lies is all about delicious food and strong women. In fact, you can always bet that Michelle Diener will write about a score of strong, admirable, brave women in her historical fiction. This is just how she rolls, ladies and gents.

Add to it Napoleonic era and a big spying intrigue, and you'll be as hooked as I am. Banquet of Lies is a continuation of The Emperor's Conspiracy in so
Nov 05, 2013 Darkphoenix rated it really liked it
I have no idea how Michelle Diener does it! She writes one book after another with an awesome plot, great characters and where the women are genuinely strong and not closet doormats. I am a huge fan. In terms of sheer quality Banquet of Lies was no different from her other works.

Banquet of Lies is about Giselle Barrington, who escapes Sweden after she sees her father murdered for an important diplomatic document. What the murderer did not know was that her father had entrusted the letter to Gig
Feb 07, 2014 Maria rated it liked it
Favorite quote: "Her gaze followed his to the library. "Never trust a woman-hater, Lord Aldridge. There is something wrong with a person who hates half the human race.""

This book is number two in what appears to be turning into a series (yay!!!). Unfortunately, I read this one first, realized it was a series, and was lucky enough to have already checked out the previous novel during a library visit. Get on that, Goodreads. You failed me this time.

Things I am learning about Michelle Diener:

Olga Godim
Dec 16, 2013 Olga Godim rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
I loved this novel – the characters, the tightly woven plot, the tension thrumming in the air, and the fast pacing. A historical thriller, set in 1812, the book also includes a romantic element.
In the beginning of the story, twenty-one-year-old Gigi, the only daughter of a famous British folklorist, is at a society ball in Stockholm. She witnesses her father’s murder by a traitor and knows the killer would be after her next, hunting for an important political document. Fleeing for her life, she
WTF Are You Reading?
Nov 12, 2013 WTF Are You Reading? rated it really liked it
Banquet of Lies is a delightful read, but not for all the obvious reasons. The things that make this such an enjoyable foray into fiction, are not the obvious intrigue and cloak and dagger spy play. While those aspects are important as plot drivers and an overall "raison d'etre", it is the interpersonal relationships between characters that makes this story delectable.

Madame Leveel
Though this character begins life as a ruse for Giselle, her crisp demeanor, eye for detail, and love of cooking soo
Oct 25, 2013 Deborah rated it really liked it

Michele Diener's new novel "Banquet of Lies" takes us away to the proverbial Upstairs-Downstairs scenario, but this time it's fraught with a mystery and suspense that is adult and unexpected. I found nothing at all juvenile about this story, which was a pleasant relief from some of the historical fiction I'd read in the past. Ms Diener has a quick wit that leaves us wanting more.

Her main protagonists are real and accessible with problems that are strong enough to keep
The Lit Bitch
Oct 07, 2013 The Lit Bitch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!

Gigi was also fun a
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Oct 29, 2013 Meg - A Bookish Affair rated it really liked it
"Banquet of Lies" is Michelle Diener's latest release. This historical fiction book follows Giselle, a brave young woman, who is trying to hide from the person who killed her father all while protecting an incredibly important document.

I've read a couple of Ms. Diener's books by now and one thing that I really have enjoyed about her book (and I've liked a lot of things about her books) is the great characters. I really, really liked Gigi. She is one brave lady. She also has a quick wit, which I
Jenny Schwartz
Aug 25, 2013 Jenny Schwartz rated it it was amazing
I think I said it when I was talking about Michelle Diener's The Emperor's Conspiracy. She is a modern Georgette Heyer. "Banquet of Lies" just confirms it. Yes, there is more social consciousness than Heyer overtly showed, but that just makes things more interesting. And "Banquet of Lies" is plenty interesting. Enthralling.

The plot is tight, fast and yet the characters and setting are fully developed. The dialogue rings true. The food -- oh yum. Don't read this book if you're hungry. I had to st
Aparajita Mukherjee
Nov 02, 2013 Aparajita Mukherjee rated it it was ok
The plot is interesting, spanning over countries. A man has been killed in Sweden over a politically sensitive document concerning the fates of England, France and Russia. But the murder has been witnessed by the man's daughter, Giselle, who has the document and now the murderer is looking for her. She escapes her pursuer, returns to England and takes shelter at the house of an apparently insignificant Lord Alridge as a French cook. And thus begins the wild goose chase. Well, this book could hav ...more
Jul 27, 2013 Becca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WHY DID THIS BOOK HAVE TO END? I vote this becomes a series if that isn't already part of the plan. Like now. Can I have the second book please?

Part spy drama, part victorian mystery, part historical romance - Gigi aka Miss Barrington aka Madame Lavéel sees her father murdered during a ball in Stockholm by a traitor searching for the confidential document - that she holds in secret. She's catapulted into hiding, pretending to be a cook in London and trying to find a person she can trust to pass
Nicole Laverdure
Aug 10, 2013 Nicole Laverdure rated it it was amazing
If you are a lover of historical fiction with suspense, then this book will be perfect for you! I really enjoyed BANQUET OF LIES written by one of my favorites authors Michelle Diener. I loved this story filled with intrigues! I loved her heroine Giselle who was posing as a French cook Lord Aldridge’s home. The storyline was very well written and kept my interest until the end. A beautiful book to add to your TBR list!
Apr 25, 2014 GlobalStorm rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diana Green
Mar 08, 2017 Diana Green rated it really liked it
I surprised myself by reading this in one sitting, staying up WAY too late in the process. This novel was well paced and well plotted, driving me on to find out what was going to happen next. Ms. Diener is a highly capable writer, and she brings the historical period vividly to life. What might otherwise be a frothy romantic read gains added depth by her look at the plight of poor women and women in service during this time period. My one complaint would be that the hero's actions towards the he ...more
Angie Lippard
Nov 03, 2013 Angie Lippard rated it really liked it
Originally, I thought this book was a romance story with a little bit of detective work mixed into it. Turns out, it's a detective story with a little bit of romance mixed into it. Even though my presumptions were wrong, it's still a good book with a very different heroine. Gigi is a lady of the upper crust who has traveled far and wide with her father. She's a little unusual because she is well educated, well traveled, hangs out with cooks and the below stairs staff, collects recipes and is a s ...more
Feb 24, 2017 Hovelites rated it it was amazing
Riveting plot, intelligent dialogue, highly relevant and entertaining side characters are just the side dishes. The cream of this offering is the gourmet references which add depth to a level of historical detail usually only seen in Georgette Heyer.

I've read some reviews which challenge historical details and some aspects of the main relationships but I think Michelle Diener has captured to a nicety the plot device where her spy master father would have set her escape to England in train, and
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Michelle Diener is among my favorite historical novelists. I've read four of her five published novels and just adored them all -- and this one is no exception.

The novel opens in Stockholm, Sweden in February 1812. Giselle 'Gigi' Barrington is at a dinner party, explaining that while her father travels Europe documenting fairy tales and myths, she collects local recipes and, to the horror of the guest she's speaking with, makes them at home. ('With the servants?', gasps the woman.) After confirm
Oct 25, 2013 Darlene rated it it was amazing
Oh let me count the ways in which I enjoy the writing of Michelle Diener. Her newest novel Banquet of Lies was fantastic! I expected no less though after reading The Emperor’s Conspiracy this past year and loving it as well. Michelle has a way of weaving a tale that takes place during a historic time with characters and a thriller type storyline that enthralls the reader.

The year is 1812 and Giselle Barrington up to this point has had a unique and interesting life traveling all over with her fat
I'm not sure how I feel about this one. Maybe I was a little underwhelmed with it. But I couldn't exactly connect with the characters.

I liked the concept of a highborn lady going underground and pretending to be a cook in a lord's home to escape her enemies. I thought that sounds pretty awesome. And I liked that she really learned and enjoyed how to cook under the tutelage of two great French chefs. I thought she was a strong character as she had to survive and manage the trip from Sweden to Lo
Stephanie (Bookfever. ❤)
Banquet of Lies is a fascinating, amazing book that I ended up devouring with every page. I couldn't stop reading and was so engrossed by it that I have to say this is definitely one of Michelle Diener's best books so far. Is it the best book? I can't pick a favorite with her books so it's impossible to say but it's definitely just as good as The Emperor's Conspiracy and everyone who knows me can tell how much in love I am with that book so Banquet of Lies has also definitely dazzled me.

In Banqu
French cooking, espionage, and romance: oh my! Banquet of Lies is a highly entertaining adventure through Regency-era London, featuring a young woman in disguise who manages to wreak havoc wherever she goes. With so much happening in this book, there was never a dull moment or boring chapter, and the end result was a fast-moving production of a novel.

Diener’s novel opens in Stockholm, as Gigi inadvertently witnesses her father’s murder. Reeling from shock and grief, she flees to London and goes
Oct 08, 2013 Nailah rated it really liked it
From the blog post on Literary Assassins

First off, I’ve gotta send a huuuge shout out to the author Michelle Diener and her publishing company S&S for approving me for my very first Advanced Readers Copy! I was so excited I completely wanted to blow off work and school, but the amount of schoolwork and work training I’ve had in the last week and a half have completely thrown me off balance and I wasn’t able to read the book as fast as I would have liked! I really wanted to have my review up
Sep 05, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, arc-copy
In 1812 London Giselle Barrington finds herself going to ground as a chef after the murder of her travelling academic/aristocrat/spy father. Her unusual upbringing means that although she's a society lady, she's also well prepared for a life undercover as she tries to uncover her fathers killer and deliver the important documents left to her by her father into safe hands. The novel is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars; the war doesn't play a substantial role in the story itself bu ...more
Oct 22, 2013 Kyra rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
I had a hard time setting this book down. I literally read each night until my eyes burned. Diener has a great writing style, and this little gem is an easy to follow mystery full of vibrant visual images. She shows masterful skill at just sketching the details of the shadow man allowing your mind to fill in every dark and deceitful detail. Heroine Gigi (Giselle) is often caught in compromising situations that have her questioning her own decisions at every turn. The story is perfectly balanced ...more
Lynsey   • The Demon Librarian
Aug 03, 2013 Lynsey • The Demon Librarian rated it really liked it
Truth and pies

What a fun, fun book! Fantastic premise, great execution and full of vivid, lively characters! You know, if she'd just thrown in a bit more romance—a sex scene or just a bit more mushy stuff towards the end—this would have been 5 stars for me. Easily.

BANQUET OF LIES is a character-driven novel built upon a thrilling, suspense-filled storyline. It kicks off straight away with the murder of Giselle's father over the whereabouts of a political document. The only way she knows how to
Amy R
When you decide to read Banquet of Lies by Michelle Diener, make sure you have cleared your calendar because it will consume you. Michelle Diener is one of the best story tellers. She could easily write in any genre and I would be captivated by her stories. Banquet of Lies is a historical fiction/romance but it I was so engrossed in the story I sometimes forgot that they couldn’t pick up the phone and call someone rather than go looking for them. I have not yet read The Emperor’s Conspiracy, but ...more
Sep 30, 2013 Jaclyn rated it it was amazing
4.5 STARS..
This was an exceptionally well written Hisotrical Fiction Novel with a great blending of mystery, romance and friendhsip. The charecters are well flushed out and the dual POV is a favorite of mine. The only thing that really disapointed me was that it abruptly ended.

Gigi witnesses her father's murder in Stolkholm and flees for England when she relaizes that she is being hunted by his murderer for a secret document her father gave her for safe keeping. She makes it to England and with
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 20, 2015 11:07AM  
  • A Year of Ravens: A Novel of Boudica's Rebellion
  • The Secret Diary of Lady Catherine Bexley
  • A Royal Likeness
  • Mistress of the Court (Georgian Queens #2)
  • India Black and the Rajah's Ruby (Madam of Espionage, #0.5)
  • A Gentleman's Guide to Scandal (Birch Hall Romance, #2)
  • By Royal Command
  • Night of a Thousand Stars
  • A Scandalous Proposal (Little Season, #2)
  • The Queen's Rivals
  • The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte
  • The Strong One (Cutter's Creek #2)
  • Gather the Bones
  • A Dissection of Murder (Dr Dody McCleland, #1)
  • The Forgotten Queen (Tudor Court #4)
  • The Gilded Lily
  • Godiva
  • The Passionate Brood
Michelle Diener writes historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy. Having worked in publishing and IT, she's now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she's not writing, or driving her kids
More about Michelle Diener...

Other Books in the Series

Regency London (3 books)
  • The Emperor's Conspiracy (Regency London, #1)
  • A Dangerous Madness (Regency London, #3)

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