An Appetite for Violets

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If you love history, romance and intrigue snap this up when it goes on sale in January!

An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey is a lusty, greed-driven historical mystery with a delicious foodie theme.

Biddy Leigh, also called Obedience, is an ambitious woman. As young village urchin she saved herself from a life in the coal mines by learning to read and cook. Now as an undercook for the local Lord she has her life planned. Biddy saves her wages until she can marry her sweetheart and start an inn. But Biddy’s plans are swept aside when the new mistress, Lady Carinna, arrives at Mawton Hall. Lady Carinna is a strange young woman and she takes an unusual interest in Biddy.

Suddenly, Biddy is forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy. At the request of her mentor, the old cook at Mawton Hall, Biddy takes with her a household manual called the The Cook’s Jewel. The cook asks her to record her impressions as well as the dishes she tastes and the recipes she learns on her journey.

As Biddy and Lady Carinna travel the continent towards their destination, Biddy slowly learns of the web of lies and greed that threaten her life.

The characters in An Appetite for Violets travel from the North of England to Italy. Baily effortless weaves fascinating historical details through a complex plot of betrayal and revenge.

The author, Martine Bailey, says An Appetite for Violets was inspired by 18th-century recipes. Bailey is also a prize-winning amateur cook. She studied with food historian Ivan Day in preparation for writing this book. Baily’s passion for cookery is what shapes the character of her narrator.

The book is first and foremost a compelling and complex mystery that hooked me from the first pages. Bailey drops tantalizing hints and a weaves a complex web of desires and betrayals. But Biddy, the narrator, is above all a dedicated cook. She revels in the scents, tastes, and techniques of cookery as the tale unfolds across continents.

Set in the 18th century, Baily paints a vivid picture of life and love above and below stairs.