The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark

Title: The Book of Unholy Mischief
Author: Elle Newmark
Published: December 30th 2008 by Atria
isbn: 1416590544    (isbn13: 9781416590545)

Reading Level: Adult
Source: Received from author for review

“It is 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance, and Venice teems with rumors of an ancient book that holds the secret to unimaginable power. It is an a …more “It is 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance, and Venice teems with rumors of an ancient book that holds the secret to unimaginable power. It is an alchemist’s dream, with recipes for gold, immortality, and undying love. Everyone, rich and poor alike, speculates about the long-buried secrets scrawled in its pages and where it could possibly be hidden within the labyrinthine city. But while those who seek the book will stop at nothing to get it, those who know will die to protect it.” “As a storm of intrigue and desire circles the republic that grew from the sea, Luciano, a penniless orphan with a quick wit and an even faster hand, is plucked up by an illustrious chef and hired, for reasons he cannot yet begin to understand, as an apprentice in the palace kitchen. There, in the lavish home of the most powerful man in Venice, he is initiated into the chef’s rich and aromatic world, with all its seductive ingredients and secrets.” Luciano’s loyalty to his street friends and the passion he holds for a convent girl named Francesca remain, but it is not long before he, too, is caught up in the madness. After he witnesses a shocking murder in the Palace dining room, he realizes that nothing is as it seems and that no one, not even those he’s come to rely on most, can be trusted. Armed with a precocious mind and an insatiable curiosity, Luciano embarks on a perilous journey to uncover the truth. What he discovers will swing open the shutters of his mind, inflame his deepest desires, and leave an indelible mark on his soul. 

My Thoughts:

I accepted this book for review because of the time period, the setting and the the subject matter.  That description completely won me over!  So did it deliver?

The beginning of the book was interesting as I loved the descriptions and the writing was superb.  However as I went along I found my thoughts wandering.  It was a little bit harder to follow as it jumped times and even jumped characters a bit.  It’s told only by one character but at one point, still in the first quarter of the book, he was getting information about his maestro from his maestro and it was in the future from when most everything else is taking place.  It threw me a bit and I found myself having a harder time staying involved in the book.  

As I pushed ahead I got involved in the story once again and the jumping around stopped.  The author weaved a few different things into this story that made it really interesting.  Many parts were about cooking and how different foods and ingredients can influence moods.  The cook, the Maestro, was able to influence how the Doge ‘ran’ things.  When the Doge may have planned murder or torture certain foods influenced his decisions on that matter.  It didn’t involve pages and pages of ingredients and how things were made, so it stayed interesting and that aspect was never boring for me.  

This book was about making the right, or wrong, decisions and how they affect your life in your future.  Another big part is about how wishful thinking and dreaming creates some crazy thoughts.  People were desperate for a love potion, for immortality, for a recipe for gold.  So when it is said there is a book that has the ingredients for all these things people go crazy searching for it.  They’ll torture and kill just to get information on the book.  But is the book really what they want?  And how is the cook involved in the book? What does he know?  I found it interesting how the cook thought.  How open minded he was compared to most in those times.  And how smart he was in his thinking and his quest for knowledge.  He truly was an inspiring character.

Although it has a teeny tiny bit of romance it’s of the sort where a teenage boy fancies a girl but the relationship is mostly his wishful thinking.  This certainly not a book for those looking for romance.  

Overall I enjoyed the book.  The time period and the setting were certainly my favorites of this story.  

You can find Elle Newmark on her website.
You can purchase at your favorite bookstore.
I received this book for review from the author for her book tour.  The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced in any way.  I was not paid for my review, however I received the book free of charge.
If you click the amazon affiliates link and purchase the book I will be paid an affiliates fee which will be used to fund contests. 

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  1. Thank you for not making comparisons to The DaVinci Code. That has become my pet peeve.

    They usually make some sort of inconsequential comparison (there’s a secret; it involves the Church) then they go on to say, “But Newmark is a better writer than Dan Brown.

    Thank you? Puleeeese. My 12 yr old granddaughter is a better writer than Dan Brown. And my book is about an enlightened chef and his apprentice. Not a guy who ends up in bed with his assistant. Good lord.

    Elle Newmark

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