By Dave Jeffery
Twelve-year-old Beatrice Beecham loves cookery. While her friends are blinded by bling and boys Beatrice scans her ever increasing volumes of Belchette’s Encyclopaedia Gastronomica for a recipe to challenge her awesome culinary talents. But Beatrice’s world is about to change. Fate will steer her family to the remote coastal town of Dorsal Finn. Yet like the ocean that washes into the bay, darkness lurks beneath the surface of this sleepy town. It is a place of secrets. Secrets that some want found, but most prefer to keep hidden. When Aunt Maud gives her an old cook book as a welcome gift Beatrice finds something surprising within its pages: a cry of help from the past. And a terrible portent for the present.
Okay, this is a little bizarre. I was offered one book to review and ran down the rabbit hole looking for the previous books because I needed to know how this group of friends all started. I think I have them in some semblance of an order. Fearsome Feast is definitely the first and where Beatrice meets everyone. I’m reminded of the Famous Five and Trixie Beldon books. I also have to remind myself that the timing of these stories are not in the past, but today with cell phones. Their location and voice simply have a timeless period feel.
I’m connecting with Beatrice because I’ve never knew the social rules either. Plus I also talked with imaginary people or, truthfully, I had imaginary conversations with real people…dang, can’t believe I’m sharing this. I just never had the cooking skills of our Beatrice and probably still don’t.
As I mentioned, I am reminded of two of my favourite childhood, tween year, reads and I’m reminded of the different groups of friends I had and the “adventures” we concocted around the neighbourhood. No, nothing as serious and real as Beatrice and friends.
I’ve already started book 2 in the series and again it starts with a tidbit of hmmm, a glimpse of what’s to come. The writing is easy but full. There’s no way you can jump and not miss something, but that doesn’t mean it’s packed. It’s a steady comfortable read for, really, any age. As a woman in her fifties I’m enjoying it, maybe due to the trip down memory lane of books I loved at the characters’ ages. I would have read it to my daughter throughout her childhood and now as a nineteen year-old, yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried them.
Oh and Aunt Maud…now there’s a character I can’t wait to see more of…and the whole townspeople, some interesting quirks.
I started my search for the books so that I could get a full picture before reading the one I accepted to review and, frankly, I couldn’t be happier.