Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Balsamic Butter

Welcome to another TLC Book Tour.

TLC Book Tours are promotional tools for authors to connect with readers via blogs and Instagram.    I have been honored to read a number of great books through TLC and have discovered a few new favorite authors (like Beth Castrodale).    Please note that I did receive a free copy of the book for an unbiased review.  All opinions, comments and rants are my own.

About Maggie’s Ruse:

Paperback: 272 Pages

Publisher: Unsolicited Press (October 1, 2019)

Maggie and Marta Dugan, twenty-seven-year-old identical twins, live the good life in New York City on their stepfather’s money. Each has a glamorous calling. Maggie paints; Marta appears onstage. Success, though, eludes them. Marta’s roles are few and far between. Maggie’s endorsements are infrequent at best. When gallery after gallery passes on her work, she begins to doubt her talent. Home alone one afternoon, fueled by frustration, she is seized by a sudden, wild impulse to masquerade as Marta when a friend of hers drops by. The ruse is quickly discovered when Marta returns from another shopping spree, a rift between the sisters ensues, and they go their separate ways. But living apart proves harder than either thought at first. Each carries the other firmly within her, making any true independence nearly impossible. As the weeks pass, the weight of absence sometimes becomes difficult to bear. Both find a surprising degree of success in their respective efforts, due perhaps to their newfound freedom, yet the bond between them remains firm. Can they come back together, and under what circumstances would a reunion be viable? Has the time come for an open discussion of their issues with each other? Unable to fully answer these questions, each knows only that she needs the other to feel whole.

“Skillfully-written and absorbing, Maggie’s Ruse well displays Anne Leigh Parrish’s ample literary talents.”–KARL WENCLAS, Editor, New Pop Lit

Maggie’s Ruse is a highly readable romp of a novel exploring identity, sisterly bonds, and the decisions that both divide and unite us.”–PAM MCGAFFIN, author of The Leaving Year

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Anne Leigh Parrish:

Parrish is the author of five previously published books of fiction: Women Within, a novel (Black Rose Writing, 2017); By The Wayside, stories (Unsolicited Press, 2017); What Is Found, What Is Lost, a novel (She Writes Press, 2014); Our Love Could Light The World, stories (She Writes Press, 2013); and All The Roads That Lead From Home, stories, (Press 53, 2011). She is the author of over forty-five published short stories, and numerous essays on the art and craft of writing. Learn more by visiting her website at

Connect with Anne

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

What I thought…

Two identical twins, identical in looks but definitely not identical in personality (or morals).   Maggie, the artist, starts the “ruse” from the title.  She kisses someone who thinks she is her sister.   That starts the tale where the sisters separate to make their own lives.

This is a novel about twenty-somethings but sometimes I got the feeling that Maggie was an old soul.  I enjoyed watching her artistic focus change and mature.   I started out not connecting or even liking Maggie, but as the novel progresses, my dislike lodged on Marta.

Marta is the actress and feels more than slighted by here sister’s ruse.   Marta, however, quickly darts down a deceptive path of some almost reckless actions.    I started out with sympathy for Marta but then I surely began thinking, “Which twin is worse?”

“Is lying well what makes you a good actor?” (168).  Marta, the actress would say yes.   Maggie, the twin that starts the novel in motion, might not.  “Maggie had committed the ruse, but she was the more honest of the two” (174).

I do have to admit that I got a bit annoyed with how many times “ruse” was used in the novel.   Although Maggie’s deception was the catalyst for the events in the tale, it was not the only problem with the sisters’ relationship.  There were more deep-seated issues.

I also thought the cover was extremely creepy and I think some of Maggie’s original art would have been better.

The food:

As always, I focus on the food in the novel as well as the characters and plot.   Maggie’s Ruse is  not a foodie novel but it is about life and one must eat, right?  Here’s what I found:  “gross vegetables like artichokes or eggplant” as opposed to cauliflower with cheese; roast chicken with rosemary; fried chicken (in a couple of different places); delivery pizza; spaghetti and meatballs; stuffed meatballs; cinnamon rolls; grilled cheese and tomato soup; Italian hoagie; and lots of wine and beer.

I’ve mentioned a few times that it is now soup weather here and I have posted a couple recently.   I wanted to experience that grilled cheese from the novel that was made with goat cheese.  Sounded delicious.  I wanted to step it up another notch by using balsamic butter, something that I have been wanting to make for a while now.  

Balsamic Butter

Use for steaks, vegetables, French bread or for grilled cheese.


  • 1  T.  balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 t. honey
  • 1/2 t. fresh rosemary
  • 4 T. butter, softened
  • season with salt and fresh ground pepper


  1.  Mix all ingredients.  Let set at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Stir before using.

Yield:  Enough butter for four sandwiches.

I even swirled a bit of this butter in my packaged tomato soup.   I was feeling a bit lazy and didn’t make homemade soup.   The swirl of balsamic butter helped.  🙂

Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Yield:  Two sandwiches


  • Balsamic butter (from above recipe)
  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1 small shallot, chopped fine


  1. Slather one side of each slice of bread with the balsamic butter.
  2. Heat a skillet to medium-high.  Place two bread slices, buttered side down, in the hot pan.
  3. Divide the goat cheese between the two slices.
  4. Divide the chopped shallots evenly and sprinkle them on the goat cheese topped slices.
  5. Sprinkle 1/4 c. of the mozzarella on each sandwich.  Top with the the other bread slice.
  6. Grill for about 4-5 minutes or until bread is toasted and cheese has started to melt.  Carefully turn and toast the other side.

Serve with tomato soup.

Please check out the other reviews on the Maggie’s Ruse tour:

Monday, November 4th: Openly Bookish

Tuesday, November 5th: Living My Best Book Life and @livingmybestbooklife

Wednesday, November 6th: @nurse_bookie

Thursday, November 7th: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind

Friday, November 8th: Sincerely, Karen Jo – excerpt

Monday, November 11th: PhDiva Blog and @thephdivabooks

Tuesday, November 12th: Treestand Book Reviews

Tuesday, November 12th: Books and Cats and Coffee

Wednesday, November 13th: @compulsivereadersblog

Thursday, November 14th: Kahakai Kitchen

Friday, November 15th: Eliot’s Eats

Monday, November 18th: @one_more_paige

Tuesday, November 19th: @libraryinprogress

Wednesday, November 20th: Audio Killed the Bookmark and @beritaudiokilledthebookmark

Thursday, November 21st: Literary Quicksand

Friday, November 22nd: Not in Jersey

Monday, November 25th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Tuesday, November 26th: Booked J


 I’m linking up with both  and Foodies Read and Souper Sundays.

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