Title: Belle Nash an the Bath Soufflé (The Gay Street Chronicles #1)
Author: William Keeling
Cover desing: Stephan Games
Publisher: BroadsheetBooks
Genre: Historical fiction, Humour
Book format: Paperback
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Description:  When clever Mrs Gaia Champion hosts her first supper after the untimely death of her husband, the meal does not go quite to plan – divel take it!
Enter Bellerophon ‘Belle’ Nash (swoon!) – city councillor, bachelor extraordinaire and grandson of Bath’s famed Master of Ceremonies, Beau Nash.
Exploring the culinary mishap with an amusante group of lady friends, Belle exposes a foul stench at the heart of Regency Bath’s judicial network.
Meanwhile, he struggles to retain the love of his German ‘cousin’, and young Princess Victoria urges Gaia to defy male dominance.  Forsooth!
Welcome to the Gay Street Chronicles.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is such a brilliant story, I just didn’t want it to end!  Bellerophron ‘Belle’ Nash is a bachelor, living with his ‘cousin’ Gerhardt on Gay Street in Bath.  When the two of them visit his good friend Gaia Champion for dinner, something terrible happens, the soufflé fails to rise.   It becomes clear that the failure of the soufflé lies with one of the ingredients and Belle, along with Gerhardt, Gaia and their other friends Lady Passmore, Mrs Pomeroy and Miss Prim decide to investigate the source of the failed ingredient, to save their soufflé.

This is a brilliant story that is so funny and deeper than you first think.  Belle and his friends decide to investigate the failed soufflé in different ways and I love how silly this first is.  Lady Passmore of Tewksbury Manor (yes that’s how you have to address her every time) and Mrs Pomeroy decide to investigate from Lady Passmore’s carriage, while others like Miss Prim and Gerhardt take different approaches.  I love how funny some of the characters can be and the silly things they get up to.  I love a good comedy and this book is filled with so many funny moments, with the humour being so good and silly at the same time.  The investigation into the soufflé is more serious than first appears and as the story moves on we find out more about the corruption of certain government officials and the lengths they will go to, to stop Belle and his friends.

There is a foreword at the start of the book which is interesting as you find out more about how the Gay Street Chronicles was created and a little on the characters of Belle and Gaia who are based on real people who lived in Bath in the past.  There are also notes at the end of many of the chapters adding some interesting information to the story as well as detailing what was happening in the real world at the time which I found very interesting and insightful.

Belle is openly a bachelor, which in this story means he is gay (in case you didn’t know), and the story does move on into the prejudice of the time for such people.  The story also focuses on women’s progression in society too and I love the appearance of the future Queen Victoria in the story helping to move along Gaia’s story.  Even though some of the story, especially towards the end, becomes more serious with certain characters facing dire moments, the whole plot of peppered with so much good humour and so many brilliant moments, that it helps to lighten the darker ones.  I especially love the solution the ladies come up with when they don’t want Miss Prim to hear something in court.

The story has a good ending although it didn’t go quite how I expected it to.  It’s not a bad ending though, it is good, just unexpected and I can’t wait to read more of this series in the future. 🙂  I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good Regency romp, a great amount of silly Britishness and humour, and a deeper story about the way society at the time treated anyone who wasn’t a heterosexual male.  The story is good and I love how there are so many supportive characters despite the harshness of society at the time and how this story has plenty of silly things happening to a bunch of great characters.  A brilliant read that I would recommend to everyone, and just look at the cover to the book too, looking just like a broad sheet newspaper, brilliant! 😀

What do you think of this book?  Do you like historical fiction set in the Regency period?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂