Title: The Kitchen Brigade
Author: Laurie Boris
Genre: Dystopian fiction/women’s fiction
Main character description (short). Valerie is petite and pretty, with chestnut curls. But beyond that seemingly innocuous exterior, she’s resourceful and much tougher than she would have believed before her world went to hell.
Synopsis: The Kitchen Brigade is a dystopian novel set in a future America torn apart by civil war and Russian occupation.
Valerie Kipplander is a talented culinary student and daughter of the assassinated secretary of state. When the regime discovers her in a refugee camp jail, she’s forced to cook for the Russian general whose army is occupying New York.
But being part of the head chef’s kitchen brigade is only a different kind of prison. The safety that had been promised her is an illusion. The resistance wants her to join them. And one of the guards wants her dead.
She knows she has to act. To rebel against her Russian captors could prove deadly, but how long can she serve the men destroying her country?
Brief Excerpt 250 words: Valerie might have been in this house before. During her childhood, perhaps, when her father the diplomat and her mother the French heiress attended parties and teas at which Valerie was made to wear uncomfortable dresses and sit still, hands folded like sleeping doves in her lap. But as Chef took her to where she presumed she would sleep, Valerie didn’t dare ask who owned the house, or where the previous owners had gone. Since the war started she’d learned many things she would have preferred not to know.
“The general rises early,” Chef said over her shoulder. “So we rise earlier. You will learn the routine.” She paused in a corridor and rapped on a door. A woman swung it open as if waiting breathlessly for the knock.
“Yes, Ma—Chef.” She looked to be in her early twenties. Her honey-blond hair, scraped into a severe ponytail, accentuated her rounded face and long nose. She was tall, her shoulders slumped slightly forward as if she’d spent many years trying to hide her height, or the fact of her existence, but her frosty blue eyes—incongruous against her olive-toned skin—went to Chef Svetlana as if the sun and moon rose and set by her will. Then her jaw tightened as she caught sight of Valerie.
“This is Two,” Chef said to Valerie. “She’ll show you the way things work.” Then Chef Svetlana paused a moment, as if mentally sliding a few puzzle pieces into place. “You’ll answer to ‘Three’ and nothing else. It’s easier that way, and the sooner you get accustomed to that, the better.”
Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?
It’s a fast-moving, entertaining story about what unites us even as the world divides us. It’s full of cooking—it revolves around a band of female chefs—snappy dialogue and unforgettable, broken characters seeking redemption. If you like adult dystopian stories without the apocalypse, you might enjoy The Kitchen Brigade.