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The Last Suppers

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,609 ratings  ·  266 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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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  1,609 ratings  ·  266 reviews

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Julie ( On semi-hiatus until September)
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
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Judy D 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,
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Apr 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Adult readers
I was drawn to this book because of the main character’s unusual job; creating last meals for prison inmates before their executions. Ginny has a big heart; she feels that doing this for the men means something to them. She hopes that maybe her meals “ are the light the prisoners need make it through the final hours before death claims them.”
This was a historical fiction story, alternating between the 30’s and the 50’s, set in Louisiana. Because of the time and setting, there are ideas expressed
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
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Ginny Polk, a cook at the Greenmount Penitentiary in Louisiana in the 1950s. She becomes known for cooking last supper requests for the inmates on Death Row. He father had been a prison guard there until is murder when she was just a young girl. Her mother, Miriam, forced her to witness her father’s killer’s execution. This scarred her in many ways.

After she started working at the prison, she became involved with the prison warden, Roscoe Simms, who had been her father’s be
Gina *loves sunshine*
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, audiobook
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!
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Historical Fiction
Recommended to Dawn by: The cover caught my interest in the bookstore
If you had to choose what your last supper would be, what would you ask for? This is a thought provoking and moving story. The thought process and care that Ginny put into planning and making the last suppers for Death Row inmates before their execution, became an obsession for her that effected her life and those around her. I felt for Ginny's conflicted feelings with her job and for the people in her life. There were some touching moments and some sadness which made this a book that held my in ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Ginny Polk is in charge of the kitchen at a Louisiana penitentiary where her father once worked as a prison guard. Her father was murdered when she was a small child. Her mother insisted that Ginny be present at the execution of the man accused of his murder. Ginny has never quite gotten over her sorrow for her father and the shock of the execution.

Against the wishes of the Superintendent of Corrections and the prison board, she has made it her mission to prepare a last meal for inmates on death
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
Catherine Ritter Guendel
3.5 rating. While I found this book to be a bit depressing and dark, it was well written. A young girl who is forced to watch the execution of her fathers murderer and grows up to become a cook in the same Louisiana state penitentiary insisting on cooking a final meal for the inmates before their execution. As the years progress she learns about her fathers dark history and the truth leading up to his death.
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!
Good Book Fairy
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
3.5 stars For more like this visit

The premise of The Last Suppers put this at the top of my TBR list. The idea of a woman giving a bit of comfort and humanity to death row inmates was indeed unique, especially because it wasn’t allowed. The protagonist, Ginny, was determined to give these men some sense of peace before they were sent to the electric chair.

Various inmates, Dot, Roscoe, Miriam and Ginny’s departed father made up the strong cast of characters. Food was also re
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.
Angela Hursh
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was so good. I've had an advanced reader copy sitting on my desk for two years and I'm mad that it took me this long to get to it. This would make a great book club choice! The story centers on segregation, the criminal justice system, family, and community. But it is the characters that I will remember most. I love the evolution each character goes through. I love the open and honest way Ginny works through the life-changing events she is forced to endure. I love the push-pull dynamic ...more
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.
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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.

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