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Review and Blog Tour: The Book of Unholy Mischief

August 27, 2009

The Book of Unholy Mischief 2

As a teenager, Luciano was plucked off the streets of Venice to work in the doge‘s kitchen under Chef Ferrerro.  He learns quickly that things aren’t always as they appear and it’s best to keep one’s eyes open and one’s mouth shut.  Luciano witnesses murder, kidnapping and more that are all done in the quest to recover a magical book that everyone desires – even the Pope.

Luciano struggles with his loyalties to his old friends and the chef who’s rescued him, all the while wanting to impress a young woman he is in love with.  He also yearns to know why the chef has chosen him to be his apprentice, but only time will tell.

It’s hard to summarize The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark without giving too much of the story away.  And, what a wonderful story it is!  The story is full of mystery, intrigue and wonderful descriptions of food.  This passage toward the beginning of the book lured me in:

I remember that pomegranate well – the leathery red skin, the fleshy weight of it in my hand promising wine-sweet clusters of ruby fruit.  As I lifted it off the pile, I imagined the satisfying crunch, the release of tangy perfume, the juices glazing my lips and running down my chin.  Ah, that biblical fruit with its poignant umbilical tip, choice of the gods and food of the dead.

I was fascinated by Luciano and Venice at the beginning of the Renaissance.  The mystery of the book that everyone was after kept me interested throughout and I enjoyed watching Luciano mature and his relationship with Chef Ferrerro develop.

I’ve never listed historical fiction as one of my favorite genres, but I’ve read a few historical fiction books lately (including this one) that have made me rethink that.  It was wonderful to be transported to Italy of the late 1400s – early 1500s.  When it was mentioned that a woman’s only options were marriage, prostitution or the convent, I was very glad I didn’t live at that time!

Both the writing and the dust jacket of The Book of Unholy Mischief are beautiful.  Even the endpapers are gorgeous.  This book would make a lovely addition to anyone’s library.

Review copy provided by author for blog tour.


41 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2009 6:43 am

    You make this one sound appealing! I have had the same experience with hisorical fiction – never thought of it as “my thing” until recently when I have truly enjoyed some HF books. Perhaps it’s because we’re aging!

  2. August 27, 2009 7:14 am

    Great review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as well. I think you should start giving historical fiction more of a try!

  3. August 27, 2009 7:22 am

    I’ve been undecided about this one, your review is the first I’ve read, I’m thinking this might be one for the wish list after all! Great review!

  4. August 27, 2009 7:26 am

    Although I don’t read historical fiction often, I do enjoy reading the genre from time to time. Your review has me thinking about giving this book a try!

  5. August 27, 2009 7:48 am

    I have heard great things about this. I’m glad you liked it!

  6. August 27, 2009 7:49 am

    I can’t say I’ve ever read any historical fiction that takes place in Italy but I like the sound of this one. The quote you shared is food writing at it’s best.

  7. August 27, 2009 8:39 am

    Fantastic review. I love historical fiction, it usually sparks my interest to learn more about that time period (or person if it’s based on a real person).

    When you have a moment, head on over to my site – there is an award there for you!

  8. August 27, 2009 8:42 am

    I have seen this book around and really enjoyed your review of it. I love the paragraph you put in the post and if the rest of the book is like that – wow.

    I am new to historical fiction but what I have read I really have enjoyed and I do have it listed in my fav genres for that reason.

  9. August 27, 2009 8:59 am

    I’ve been wanting to read this for a while. I loved that extract! And HF is a genre I really like.

  10. August 27, 2009 9:04 am

    I’m so glad you liked this one too Kathy! I agree that the book is gorgeous. I was glad that the contents matched the beautiful dust jacket and end papers.

  11. August 27, 2009 9:24 am

    This book sounds great! I’m supposed to go book shopping tonight so I’ll see if the store has it in stock…if they do, I’m getting it for sure!

  12. August 27, 2009 10:19 am

    I love that poignant, umbilical tip. And boy, is the dust jacket gorgeous.

  13. August 27, 2009 10:41 am

    Great review Kathy. I loved this book as well. The quote with the pomegranate was my favorite-just so vivid!

  14. August 27, 2009 12:00 pm

    I loved the description in this book, too- it always made me hungry while reading it!

  15. August 27, 2009 12:36 pm

    This is the first review I’ve read on it – sounds really good!

  16. August 27, 2009 2:08 pm

    Hi Kathy, I’m actually stopping by to comment on what you are currently reading, “Burnt Shadows” – I read an interesting post about how the cover image was designed, wanted to share that – here.

  17. justicejenniferreads permalink
    August 27, 2009 2:40 pm

    This book SOUNDS lovely – I especially enjoyed the quoted description of the pomegranate. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, I think it’s something I would love. I’ve found I really enjoy some historical fiction and I love any work that includes food in it! Adding this to my TBR pile!

  18. August 27, 2009 2:51 pm

    i had zero interest in this when I read the jacket but keep reading in depth reviews of it and am sort of falling in…or list. Can’t wait to read it, now.

  19. August 27, 2009 3:01 pm

    I have this book in my TBR stack and I love the cover too. I am not much into HF either.

    Great review. I will have to work that book farther up the pile now.

  20. August 27, 2009 3:42 pm

    I loved this book. I usually enjoy female lead characters, but I didn’t mind the male lead in this at all. The descriptions were spectacular.

  21. August 27, 2009 4:22 pm

    Your review makes me want to scoop this book up! I love the cover as well.

  22. August 27, 2009 4:28 pm

    I am really excited about this book, and have been reading rave reviews of it all over the place. I love historical fiction, and the fact that this one has to do with food as well makes it a must read for me. Glad you liked it, I am expecting to as well.

  23. August 27, 2009 4:33 pm

    Italy, food, and a mysterious book…you gotta love it! now that’s a story. Sounds like a good and thanks for not giving too much away.

  24. August 27, 2009 5:13 pm

    I love historical fiction, so this is right up my alley 🙂 Also, I love the cover and the title.

  25. August 27, 2009 5:17 pm

    I like historical fiction and foodie type books so this one fits the bill perfectly for my interests. I have to get a copy to read now!

  26. August 27, 2009 5:58 pm

    Aah, sounds like I should’ve put my hand up for this one, eh? I’ll just add it to my wish list. Thanks for the review!

  27. August 27, 2009 8:08 pm

    I’ve always love pomegrantes and now I know why – “fruit of the gods”. *Big Smile*

    I think the cover is wonderful. I’m adding it to my list upon your recommendation.

  28. jennsbookshelves permalink
    August 27, 2009 9:06 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed this book! It really was a beautiful book. It exceeded my expectations!

  29. August 27, 2009 9:33 pm

    I do not often read historical fiction, either, but I love books with lots of food in them!

  30. August 27, 2009 11:07 pm

    Guess I shouldn’t read this on an empty stomach…

  31. August 28, 2009 12:48 am

    Glad to see you enjoyed this one as I did, Kathy 🙂 It was a good read…I’d love to read more from this author.

  32. August 28, 2009 12:56 am

    You definitely make this sound like a must read! I love the part you highlighted. Made me want to grab a pomegranate and dig in! No crunching though. 🙂

  33. Veens permalink
    August 28, 2009 4:16 am

    I Love Historical Fiction! And this sounds like a wonderful book! I have never read anything set in Italy in this time period- I wil put this in my wishlist!
    Awesome review!
    And I have read about the pomegranate on Dar’s blog ( i think)

  34. August 28, 2009 9:29 am

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I loved it.

  35. August 28, 2009 9:52 am

    I love historical fiction, but I must say I usually like it a little more recent than this one! I may have to give it a look. I’m in World War II at the moment, but it’s a fascinating memoir, not fiction. I recommend it, though — “Abandoned and Forgotten,” about a girl’s experiences during the war and the Hitler years, who’s orphaned. Many people are probably unaware (I sure was) that the German civilians were forced from their home. This really shows what the Germans went through during the war and from that point of view it’s an important addition to the WW II history “library.”

  36. stacybuckeye permalink
    August 28, 2009 3:39 pm

    This blog tour is making me want to chuck the book I’m reading and the next two I’ve promised to read and pick this one up! Jason & I were just looking through our Venice pictures last night to choose a favorite for our wall. Reading this book would probably be cheaper than going back to Italy!

  37. August 28, 2009 7:42 pm

    I’m so glad you thought highly of this one. I got a copy given to my by Marcia at The Printed Page and I really look forward it. And the book is really nice to look at too. Thanks for reviewing it-and not telling us too much.

  38. August 28, 2009 9:41 pm

    I’m so glad to read that you enjoyed this book, I have a copy that I haven’t gotten to yet. It’s good to know I can look forward to reading it.

  39. Luanne permalink
    August 29, 2009 3:10 pm

    I really enjoyed this one as well. The flyleaves and the language describing the food were beautiful.

  40. August 31, 2009 2:00 pm

    I’ve heard good things about this book, and I like the quote you included in your review. I’ll have to keep this one in mind.


  41. September 13, 2009 9:53 pm

    This sounds really good! (Just what I need, something else on the TBR list…) Thanks for the great review!

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