Book Reviews

The Cooking Mage & the Parchment Prankster (Part One) by Eric Alan Westfall

Genre Gay / Historical / Alternate Reality / 19th Century / Magic / Royalty/Nobility / Romance / Action/Adventure / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Kristin F. on 10-January-2023

Book Blurb

If the “foreseen four”—prince, mouse, saint, dancing—happen together it might wreck a twenty-year plot worth billions, and the future is so fogged-up the Seers can’t See a date and place. Just 1890.

But the conspirators have identified the young prince. So their 1874 to-do list: (1) Kill the prince; (2) find the mouse, and figure out (3) which saint and (4) what dancing.

Only it’s now 1890.

Were they wrong about Georg, the scarred, six-nine (rounded up) Crown Prince of Prussia and Saxony being the one? He ought to be a Viking warrior, but he’s only a cooking mage in the Great Palace. Did they waste all that money on the assassination attempts?

And how could “Lord Mouse,” the nickname of the short, insignificant third son of a British Duke, with dusky skin inherited from “the Jamaican Duchess,” possibly be part of the four? He’s just a parchment prankster whose latest one drew the ire of the Inquisition, resulting in him being sent on an out-of-sight-out-of-mind visit to Berlin to attend Georg’s birthday ball.

Still... A prince, a “mouse,” and definite dancing at the ball. Maybe the saint won’t matter if they can stop one of the other three. Or all.

Come visit a world of magick and technology, where the Gunpowder Treaty of 1750 prevents guns from being used in war. You’ll find anarchist plots, international intrigue, a midair mishap on Her Majesty’s Airship
The Hindenburg, a Mouse who loves climbing a Mountain because of the fun things which happen when he does, a sovereign coming out, the addictiveness of Black Mountain coffee, and the seductiveness of anything black raspberry. And yes, of course there’s sex on the Spanish Steps.

There’s a HEA, of course, and although it doesn’t fully happen until Part Three, there’s lots of fun along the way.


Book Review

This was delightful! It’s loosely set in the Victorian Era, it has a feel of historical fiction, there is a strong mystery component via political intrigue, there’s a dash of Steampunk via magical elements, and a bit of romance. So not a book I can fully say lands in any one particular genre but encompasses several very well. It’s magical, it’s mystical, it’s a bit mysterious. Also noteworthy - Part One is not a romance, but it has very explicit male/male components. The book blurb notes there is a happy ever after, so I’m going to extrapolate and say that the romantic part is yet to come.


Genre being somewhat established, it took me a couple of chapters to settle into the plot. Once I was engaged, however, I was reluctant to put it down. I needed to see how the separate threads were going to come together. I needed to see how the Prince and the Mouse would cross paths. I had to know where all these plotting and mysterious machinations were going! Even knowing there are three parts to this, it ended way too soon!


My only quibble with the book (and this is me getting antsy) was the “historical interludes” or backstories inserted to explain, for example, the Gunpowder Treaty. For myself, I found these were a tich too long for my tastes. There is also a fair bit of jumping around from past to present which may bug some linear readers. 


Overall, what I think clinched my enjoyment of this book was the realism of the era combined with the magical. Too often in the historical fiction romances I have read, the authors plop the characters in a historical time, but forget to write the societal customs. This did not. It was a wonderful melding of court expectations, of gutter grit, of upper societal frustrations, assassination attempts, political infighting and intrigue. I loved it! I need to get my hands on book two. 




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book was provided by the author for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 390 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 07-September-2022
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link