‘The Last Suppers’ by Mandy Mikulencak Weaves a Complicated Story about Food and Sacrifice

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Set in a 1950s Louisiana penitentiary, The Last Suppers is a captivating novel. Ginny, the young daughter of a murdered prison guard, is now all grown up and cooking for the inmates at the jail.  She meets with the prisoners on death row to find out what they want for their last meal and does her best to create the requested dishes.

The drama began two decades prior, when Ginny’s father was killed and his supposed murderer was put to death while she and her mother were present.  Her dad’s best friend, Roscoe, promised to take care of Ginny and her mother; now Ginny and Roscoe, currently the jail warden, work together and are a couple, intimately involved.  Despite the age difference, their comfortable routine has been beneficial to both of them over the years. But things begin to change when Ginny learns more about the man who paid the price for her father’s murder.

Author Mandy Mikulencak had me hooked from the beginning. Ginny is kind and compassionate, if a little naïve, yet she is strong and willful as she searches for the truth about her father and Roscoe. Passionate and fair when she connects with the prisoners, she puts aside her feelings on their crimes to learn what they want to eat for their last meal.

This story brings to light the importance of food – the emotional connection, and how last supper requests are often tied to a prisoner’s comforting memories, and not about hunger and eating. We see Ginny’s love and respect through her cooking and full recipes of some of the meals are included at the end. With rich characters and a gripping story, The Last Suppers highlights inequality and racism, the rights and treatment of inmates, love, loss, sacrifice and acceptance. This is a work of fiction I enjoyed reading, and I highly recommend it.

For more information on the author, please visit her website at mandymikulencak.com

Image courtesy of mandymikulencak.com

Mandy Mikulencak has been a writer her entire working life. First, as a journalist then as an editor and PR specialist for two national nonprofits and a United Nations agency. Today she lives in the mountains of Southwest Colorado with her husband, Andy. She writes YA and adult fiction. Her first book, Burn Girl, has been honored with a 2016 Westchester Fiction Award.

 

 

 

 

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Jennifer Gans Blankfein is a freelance marketing consultant and book reviewer. She graduated from Lehigh University with a Psychology degree and has a background in advertising. Her experience includes event coordination and fundraising along with editing a weekly, local, small business newsletter. Jennifer loves to talk about books, is an avid reader, and currently writes a book blog, Book Nation by Jen. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two sons and black lab.

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