Author: Crystal King
Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: February 12, 2019 (Yesterday!)
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves his vast estate—properties, money, and his position—to his nephew and apprentice Giovanni. He also gives Giovanni the keys to two strongboxes and strict instructions to burn their contents. Despite Scappi’s dire warning that the information concealed in those boxes could put Giovanni’s life and others at risk, Giovanni is compelled to learn his uncle’s secrets. He undertakes the arduous task of decoding Scappi’s journals and uncovers a history of deception, betrayal, and murder—all to protect an illicit love affair.
As Giovanni pieces together the details of Scappi’s past, he must contend with two rivals who have joined forces—his brother Cesare and Scappi’s former protégé, Domenico Romoli, who will do anything to get his hands on the late chef’s recipes.
With luscious prose that captures the full scale of the sumptuous feasts for which Scappi was known, The Chef’s Secret serves up power, intrigue, and passion, bringing Renaissance Italy to life in a delectable fashion."
My Two Cents:
In "The Chef's Secret," Crystal King returns with a great historical fiction full of family mysteries, secret romances, and delicious food. I loved her book "Feast of Sorrows" and was so looking forward to this book. I was definitely not disappointed! In this book, she takes us to Rome in the 1500s. Giovanni is the nephew to great chef Bartolomeo Scappi, famed chef to the popes. Giovanni is Scappi's apprentice and dreams of being able to someday create the great feasts that his uncle does with ease. When Scappi dies, Giovanni will be thrown into questioning everything he knows about his own origins.
This book sucked me right in! Between the great historical detail, deliciously described food, and a fantastically wrought mystery, this book was great. I love a good family mystery and I don't want to give anything away here but what I will say is that King does a great job of keeping us guessing as well as providing glimpses into Scappi's earlier life in order to create a mystery that readers will love following.
The detail in this book is great and definitely kept me reading. I loved reading about the Vatican as well as the sort-of palace intrigue that goes on throughout the book. As with "A Feast of Sorrows," this book has some really good descriptions of this food (warning: don't read this book on an empty stomach!!!). This was a good read to drive away the cold of winter!