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The Last Suppers

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,277 ratings  ·  230 reviews
“A gorgeous novel that finds beauty in the most unlikely of places.” —Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Set in 1950s Louisiana, Mandy Mikulencak’s beautifully written and emotionally moving novel evokes both The Help and Dead Man Walking with the story of an unforgettable woman whose quest to provide meals for death row prisoners leads her into the secrets o
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 26th 2017 by Kensington
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,277 ratings  ·  230 reviews

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Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Last Suppers is a 2017 Mandy Mikulencak Kensington publication.

A thought provoking, complex, and moving story-

Ginny works at Louisiana’s Greenmount State Penitentiary during the 1950’s as a prison cook. She has started a program for the death row inmates where she offers to cook them anything they desire for their ‘last meal.'

Ginny has a very complicated past which, once it is revealed, will explain her deep devotion to her job, which has wrought complications between her mother, Miriam, an
Amalia Gavea
I think that most of us are attracted to controversial themes. After all, what is reading if not an opportunity to take a deeper look into issues that have shaped the world we live in? The issue of death penalty is one of the most discussed and divisive with strong opinions both in favour of and against this practice. I won’t bore you with my views on the matter, nor is it anyone’s business after all. However, this was the main reason The Last Suppers attracted my attention. The setting of New O ...more
Diane S ☔
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 Food for comfort, a particular food that brings back memories, a time when someone cared enough to make something that made us feel better. Food can have many different meanings, and for Ginny it is what she provides as a cook at the penitentiary, what she feels she needs to do by providing last suppers for the men on death row. Raised on the grounds of the prison, her father a guard, a horrifying memory from that time, has haunted Ginny. Now her last suppers will provide a doorway into her ...more
Norma * Traveling Sister
The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak is a complex, interesting, and a tightly written novel with a lot of depth within the pages of this book.

We were lost in the deep-rooted, earthy coulee with two of our Traveling Sisters reading The Last Suppers with us and we all really enjoyed this interesting story that brought some food for thought to our discussion.

Mandy Mikulencak does a good job capturing the emotional memories surrounding the food that left us thinking and discussing our favorites tha
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 stars to The Last Suppers

I read somewhere that The Last Suppers had a foodie fiction angle. Well, not only that, but it was also a special genre hybrid I think fans of women's fiction and historical fiction will also especially enjoy. I was engaged from the start with this well-written story of Ginny, a prison cook, who prepares "last suppers" for inmates on death row at a prison in Louisiana.

My favorite parts of the book were when Ginny interacted with the inmates and their families, taking
Jennifer Blankfein
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Follow my reviews on

The Last Suppers is a captivating novel set in a Louisiana penitentiary where Ginny, young daughter of a murdered prison guard, is now all grown up and cooking for the inmates at the jail. She meets with the prisoners on death row to find out what they want for their last meal and does her best to create the requested dishes. The drama began two decades prior, when her father was killed and his supposed murderer was put to death while sh
Susan Peterson
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was instantly drawn to this book and its story when I first read about it...and this book lived up to all my expectations! Ginny Polk is a prison cook in Louisiana in the 1950’s, a time of racial injustices and a prison system that is less than humane. Ginny takes on a special responsibility all her own...providing “last suppers”for the men on death row, a job she takes personally, a job that is frowned upon by the prison board. Ginny is an amazing character; strong, feisty, and independent, b ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
4.25 stars

How time can turn the tide. The cover up of a lie, a murder, and the guilt of a lifetime are the basis of this book. In addition to how the truth will start the healing process, for everyone involved.

Ginny is the head cook at a Louisianan prison. Roscoe is it's Warden. Ginny and Roscoe go back a lifetime - she was a child, he was her father's best friend. Against the Board of Superintendents, Roscoe lets Ginny prepare a last meal for the men being executed on Death Row. Actually, Rosc
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak has been compared to The Help and Dead Man Walking; I believe that this book can stand on its own. Set in Louisiana in the late 1950s with looks back several decades earlier, Ms Mikulencak’s story of Ginny Polk is one that is likely to stay with me for quite a while.

Ginny, a petite twenty-nine-year-old cook at Greenmount State Penitentiary, is stronger than she looks. She’s sassy, resourceful, and resilient. When she was eight, her daddy Joe Polk, who was a g
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Not my cup of tea but it is well-written and a nice enough story. Just too "flowery" and overly-sentimental for my liking. I kept reading the book even though I dislike this writing style, because I was intrigued by the book blurb. However, there wasn't so much about the protagonist's interactions with the men on death row. Rather, it was about Ginny's personal life and romantic relationship. By the time I knew for sure the book wasn't what I thought it would be, I was half way through it and fi ...more
Judy Collins
A beautifully written story, both absorbing and haunting, Mandy Mikulencak delivers a breakout book, THE LAST SUPPERS —a heartbreaking tale of secrets, racism, inequality, the death penalty, and prisoner rights.

A courageous young woman becomes obsessed with the preparation of the last meals for death row inmates, and a lover haunted by his related past.

However, there is a mystery to be unraveled about her own father’s murder and secrets of the past. A strong need for justice.

Part Southern,
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Netgalley #36

Many thanks go to the author, Kensington Books, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

A young woman named Ginny is hired at the prison where her father worked before he was killed to cook in the kitchen. She is in a relationship with the warden and does not at all get along with her mother. But she has a soft heart. She likes to contact the families of the men on death row and cook their favorite meals as their last meals, which is against
Gina *loves sunshine*
The first half of this book was amazing! It takes place in the 1950's, in a prison in Louisiana. Ginny grew up around the prison, since her Daddy was a guard there. Now as an adult, she loves feeding the death row inmates and makes sure she cooks each of their last suppers - with love and care. One particular inmate is extra special and she goes the extra mile to track down what his favorite meal might be! The story of how she cared for so many people with her food was so endearing to me!!!! I w ...more
Edith Maxwell
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
The Last Suppers is a stunning debut novel. It won't be shelved as a mystery, but mystery abounds. Why does prison warden Roscoe love a woman half his age? Why does Ginny Polk stay as head cook in the kitchen? is the story Ginny always heard about her father's death true? I love the details of southern cooking and prison life Mikulencak brings to the story. Even more I love following the ever-revealed depths of Ginny's thoughts and soul, her family past, her current friendship and her lover. Do ...more
May 22, 2018 marked it as didn-t-finish
This is... just not capturing me as much as I would like it to. Back to the library you go!
4.5 stars. Ginny Polk has compassion for the prisoners on death row at the Greenmount State Penitentiary where her father worked before he was murdered. She works in the prison kitchen along with her friend, Dot. Together they prepare meals for the last supper before the electric chair. Ginny is in a relationship with the prison’s warden, Roscoe, who was her father’s best friend.
I felt as though I was in that time period of the 1950s and I enjoyed the comfort food Ginny made.
Secrets that have
Melissa McGuire
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. At first I thought I wouldn't like it and the once I picked it up I couldn't put it down. I devoured this book
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A slice of life book taking place in Louisiana around the time of the civil rights movement, with flashbacks to earlier years. Main character is a young prison cook, Ginny, who prepares meals for men who are about to get the electric chair. Includes some recipes at the end of the book. It's a very specific story, certain place, certain time but parts of it are timeless. The author said she created the story from various prisons and figures so it's not based on any one particular incident.
Heidi Lane
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set in the 1950's, The Last Suppers tells a story of a prison cook who prepares final meals for death row inmates prior to execution. This is when doing this was frowned upon. Ginny Polk has a tender side of her that wants to give the inmates something to cherish before their final days regardless of their crimes. Growing up in prison she saw first hand how the prison work affected her daddy turning him to drink. As her love story blossoms with the new prison warden and her daddy's best friend s ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book that was difficult to put down, The Last Suppers delivers a great big helping of Southern-fried historical fiction. The combination of comfort food (recipes included!), racial unrest and the Louisiana correctional system is unique to this reader. The character of Ginny is one with whom the reader easily sympathizes, and although the end didn’t turn out the way that I had hoped, it ended exactly as it should. Now, off to make some cornbread!
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
“The Last Suppers” is a story set in a Louisiana between the 1930’s and 1950’s. The KKK was dominant and prison reform was an aspirant idea. Main character Ginny Polk is the prison cook for the fictitious Greenmount State Penitentiary. Ginny grew up around the prison; her father was a prison guard until his untimely death. Although she was young when her father died, some of the same staff remains when she is a young adult looking for work as a cook.

As the cook, Ginny wanted to provide those pri
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting story that is the brain child of The Help and The Shawshank Redemption. It's a love story, history piece, and somewhat coming of age fictional book. I enjoyed the relationships Ginny had with her mother, Dot, and her "boyfriend" Roscoe. I also enjoyed the recipes at the end of the book!

Heartwarming and heartbreaking this book gives a look into life in 1950s Louisiana with some flashbacks into 1938. I highly recommend it.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm more of a non-fiction reader myself, but I was intrigued with the review in a recent Sunday Denver Post. The surprise ending, and also the appendix with the featured recipes (I'm really tempted to try cooking the pork neck stew!) made reading this very worthwhile.
Elizabeth (Literary Hoarders)
3.5 stars. I liked this novel very much, with its attention to Ginny’s cooking, and her love for the prison’s warden. Her heart was always in the right place, which made it impossible not to like her. Not sure what I liked more about Ginny - her insistence on perfecting last meals, or her hatred of racism. She is an admirable character.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought The Last Suppers was pretty good. I give four stars.
Stacey A.  Prose and Palate
I was extremely intrigued by this book's premise as The Help is one of my favorite books. However, I was disappointed that the book only discussed two prisoners that Ginny prepared last meals for before the plot went down the rabbit hole of her own hidden family secrets. I think perhaps my misguided expectations are why I did not enjoy this one as much as I thought I would. Thank you so much to Kensington Books for sending this my way. The Last Suppers hits shelves today.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This author has the unique talent to make the reader feel the heat of Louisiana in the 1930s through 1950s; the heat of the weather and the heat of racism. Its about the lies we live with and the lies we don't yet know. The plot was well developed and the characters clearly fit. I truly enjoyed this book.
Cathy Geha
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak

Dark, twisted, emotionally challenging this is a story of people caught up in life…and death.

The setting of this story is Greenmount Penitentiary in Louisiana – a fictitious place brought to life through the excellent writing of the author.

The period of time ranges from the late 1920’s through the early 1960’s.

The issues/topics included are many and each one seems to impact another much as dominoes falling one after another. Family, abuse, lies, KKK, race,
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it

Review website here

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I rarely feel ambivalent about a book, but that’s where I find myself after reading The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak. It is not that the novel about a cook at a Louisiana prison in the early 50s isn’t interesting. It is almost that there was too much going on.

As I read the book, I could not figure out where the author wanted me to focus. On Ginny’s relationship with Roscoe? On her relationship
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Mandy Mikulencak has been a writer her entire working life. First, as a journalist, then as an editor and PR specialist for two national nonprofits and a United Nations agency. Today she lives in the mountains of Southwest Colorado with her husband. Her historical novel, THE LAST SUPPERS, was released by Kensington Publishing in late 2017. Her next book, FORGIVENESS ROAD, comes out in March 2019.