Here is my review of historical fiction Belle Nash and the Bath Souffle by William Keeling- an intriguing and humorous slice of social fiction in 1830s Bath.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Gay street Chronicles
Source: Received with thanks from the publisher
When Gaia Champion’s souffle fails to rise in 1830s Bath, it sets off a chain of events that overthrows the settled order. Centred on the personality of local councillor and bachelor extraordinaire Bellerophon ‘Belle’ Nash, this first volume of The Gay Street Chronicles engages with social issues that were emerging in the early days of Queen Victoria’s reign and still require our close attention today. A recurring cast of whimsical characters brings a gentle humour to the writing and to the strong feminist activism of Bath’s first Lady Magistrate.
I received a copy of this book for an honest, free and unbiased opinion.
This is a book about a souffle, that failed to rise. But this particular souffle that didn’t make it to the dinner Gaia Champion’s dinner party leads to ravelling of corruption from the lowest to the highest level of the judiciary, the fight for women’s rights and highlights the injustices faced by the Bachelors of Bath in the 1830s
This historical fiction is full of unforgettable and delightfully quirky characters from the confirmed bachelor Belle Nash to the Mrs Mulligatawny the cook, which makes this book stand out. Belle Nash and Gaia make a great pair of crusading heroes battling each injustice.
Despite the humour, this book tackles social issues that have relevance today including corruption, attitudes to women and people who don’t fit the heterosexual norm. I found myself worrying about the fate of some of the characters when they were arrested and thrown into jail for the most trivial of reasons without an expectation of a fair trial.
I was expecting a cosy murder or mystery, but I enjoyed reading about a period of history not usually written about in historical fiction. I particularly enjoyed the sometimes laugh out of loud humour as well learning about society in 1830s Bath.
I look forward to reading more of Belle Nash and Gaia Champion’s crusades in the future.
Perfect for Fans of
I haven’t read anything like this but it would appeal to anyone who enjoys historical fiction that isn’t about Royalty or angsty romance.