Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Dish Taken Cold, by Anne Perry

(hb; 2000: novella)

From the inside flap:

"It is 1792 in the terror-ridden Paris. . . In the three years since the storming of the Bastille, the economy has failed and the power of the monarchy has withered into utter ineffectuality. Chaos reigns in the steamy summer streets. The city is hungry -- for justice, for vengeance, for bread. So is Celie.

"Employed in the household of the celebrated Madame de Staël, the young, unwed Celie daily leaves her baby in the care of a friend, Amandine. One day, grievously, Celie's infant suffers an accidental, inexplicable death, which apparently occurred, so Celie learns later, while Amandine lay in the arms of her lover, Georges. Her woe flaring into rage, Celie plots a sure but horrific revenge among revolutionaries ready to put to death any woman or man named traitor."


Well-written, straightforward work whose characters and prose vividly convey the terror, fervor and chaos of a revolution-torn country, in this case France, specifically Paris. The character-based end-twist is obvious early on, but it's a decent read from an excellent writer.

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