I have a habit of reading my favorite books of the year come September-December – something I cannot shake. But I’m fine with that, because Cinnamon and Gunpowder was the right novel at the right time. My heart was large after reading it, I cried literal tears – that is a feat for me! And all I want to do is pick it up again, only to linger with the characters a tad longer.
The novel is a mixture of things I love: historical fiction, food, pirates, romance, witty banter and an awesome, kickass woman.
So what is it about again? Ahem, the euphoria is thick, my friends.
Cinnamon and Gunpowder is set in 1819, about a renowned Chef called Owen Wedgwood who has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. To survive, every Sunday he must serve a spectacular meal to her.
There is a lot more I can add, but I feel that it is best to go into the deep end with only that in mind. Yet it is a novel full of complexities, of oddities, of beauty and love and it is wonderful. However I don’t think I would have loved it as much I do if not for the characters. From the grumpy protagonist, with interesting food philosophies, Mabbot and her wit and charm, Mr Apples and his aptitude for knitting to the determined Laroche, and idealist Brass Fox – it’s a myriad of interesting characters. By the end I was so connected to the characters, that I felt I was there with them feeling their pain and joy. And that is the markings of a great novel.
The writing was also slick and charming, and the voice of the protagonist stuck out clearly in my mind. The pacing worked and worked, time again. It never really had a dull moment – and I hungered each and every time for more dinner dates between Owen and Mabbot. They were wonderfully philosophical, charming, intimate moments that I wish I could replay in my mind over and over again. Every scene in the novel felt like character development for at least one of the characters, and I loved it.
And the action worked too, it was heavy and gritty but never deterred from the novel’s tone.
I feel like I could talk about this novel all night and day, but I think that is a sign for me to shush and let you wonder whether to read this novel. Hopefully I’ve done my job right as a new fan to encourage you, force you?
For me this is the best read in months, I give Cinnamon and Gunpowder 5/5*