Book Review: The Feast by Margaret Kennedy

The Feast by Margaret Kennedy
Date published: January 1, 1949
Date finished: April 24, 2023
Grade: B+

Sometimes it is best not to know too much going into a book. I knew next to nothing about this book other than it was marketed as an Agatha Christie-like mystery. This is nothing like anything Agatha Christie wrote and is not a mystery. I can see an argument for it being a thriller, but there is nothing mysterious here.

Once I realized that what I was reading was not going to be what I had been told, I was able to start to sink into this one. It’s really a picture of English society at a very specific time. I enjoyed the colorful characters and appreciated that Kennedy included a good cross-section of society. Some really interesting dynamics at play keep the plot going, even though we know from the beginning exactly where the story will lead us. If you enjoy British TV shows, I feel like this would be up your alley.

There are also some interesting comments on British politics of the immediate post-war era, which could be fascinating if you follow that sort of thing, but confusing if you don’t. There are a few passages where I felt that Kennedy was making a not-so-subtle political comment. Again, this could go either way, depending on the reader.

My main criticism of this book is that there were so many characters that it took quite a bit of time to nail down who was who. If any book needs a cast of characters at the beginning of the book, it is this one. And there isn’t one. While I didn’t take character notes from the beginning, I wish I had, and I would suggest that future readers take this step.

This wasn’t what I expected, but I enjoyed what I found here. While I do feel keeping character notes (and not falling for misleading marketing) would have improved my experience, I would still recommend giving this one a try.

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