Monday, February 18, 2019

The Chef's Secret by Crystal King (Review and Giveaway!)

Crystal King has creatively written a novel loosely based on the mysterious life of historical figure Bartolomeo Scappi, one of the most famous chef of the Italian Renaissance. Check out my review and enter the giveaway to win a copy!

Book Details:

Book Title: The Chef's Secret by Crystal King
Category: Adult fiction, 352 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Atria/Simon & Schuster
Release date: Feb 12, 2019
Tour dates: Feb 11 to 28, 2019
Content Rating: R (for a couple of explicit, but loving, sex scenes (no abuse or rape) and minor curse words)

Book Description:

A captivating novel of Renaissance Italy detailing the mysterious life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time, and the nephew who sets out to discover his late uncle’s secrets—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.

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 Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Crystal King has creatively written a novel loosely based on the mysterious life of historical figure Bartolomeo Scappi, one of the most famous chef of the Italian Renaissance. Not only was this an interesting story with twists and turns that kept me captivated, but the sumptuous decadent feasts and food descriptions made my mouth water.

Giovanni inherits his late Uncle Bartolomeo's recipes and private journals which he was instructed to burn because of their content. He decides to read them instead, and this changes his life in more ways that he ever imagined. The story is told in alternate timelines, that of Bartolomeo's in the past (1528 when he is a young man) and Giovanni's (1577) as he falls in love and discovers shocking secrets in his Uncle Bartolomeo's life. The two stories eventually converge. 

King deftly brings Renaissance Italy to life and it is clear that she has researched well medieval Italy and Bartolomeo Scappi's life, creatively imagining his life as Master chef for cardinals and Popes. The tale is filled with intrigue, mystery, murder and a passionate love affair that spans decades, with characters that stand out from the beautiful princess Stella to the more humble Giovanni. The plot builds steadily and the story flowed well until its satisfying conclusion.

Fans of historical fiction, Renaissance Italy and foodies alike will enjoy this tale that brings to life a legendary Master Cook whose recipes are still around today from the cookbook he himself wrote in 1570 and can be purchased today. It's called The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi: L'arte et prudenza d'un maestro cuoco (The Art and Craft of a Master Cook)

To follow the tour, please visit Crystal King's page on Italy Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Crystal King is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University, as well as at GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US.

A Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in critical and creative thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston but considers Italy her next great love after her husband, Joe, and their two cats, Nero and Merlin. She is the author of Feast of Sorrow.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends March 7, 2019

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. I love the cover! Sounds like an interesting read!

  2. This looks Amazing and I am Italian, and am all about food! I am very excited!:)


Thank you for commenting! I appreciate your feedback.

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