That’s how it is for us servants. No one pays you much heed; mostly you’re invisible as furniture. Yet you overhear a conversation here, and add a little gossip there. A writing desk lies open and you cannot help but read a paper. Then you find something, something you should not have found.
Irrepressible Biddy Leigh, under-cook at the forbidding Mawton Hall, can’t wait to settle down with her sweetheart and set up her own tavern. But when her elderly master marries the young, enigmatic Lady Carinna, Biddy is unwittingly swept up into a world of scheming, secrets, and lies.
Forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy, Biddy takes with her an old household book of recipes, The Cook’s Jewel, in which she records her observations. When she finds herself embroiled in a murderous conspiracy, Biddy realises that the secrets she holds could be the key to her survival – or her downfall . . .
AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS is an utterly compelling story of food, obsession and mystery, introducing a brilliant new voice in historical fiction.
An Appetite For Violets is a debut novel by Martine Bailey. It has been described as a historical romance, but believe me, it is SO much more than that. The story is woven with mystery and suspense, adventure, and romance. But that is not all. There is also food – glorious details about the magnificent recipes of the time period! I loved every second of it!
Every book that I have ever found that involves cooking, recipes and food always gets me hooked. I love food. I love cooking it, eating it, AND reading about it. I especially love it when it described these things in a setting that grabs you up and carries you along until the very last page. This book has such rich descriptions and wonderful detail that I couldn’t help but be captivated by it all. I have a passion for books about historical times that feature the “downstairs people” – the maids, and servants who were responsible for running so many households of the past. I find these types of books mesmerizing as I am swept away in all the historical details. This book definitely fits in this category.
An Appetite For Violets is packed with so many wonderful characters. It would take way to long to list all my favorites! I wanted to be part of this story and I never wanted it to end. And I definitely will not soon forget Biddy Leigh, who is hired to be the under-cook of Lord Geoffry and his young bride Lady Carinna. Her adventures will keep you wanting more as you are caught up in a story filled with secrets, passion and food!
I absolutely loved this wonderful book by Martine Bailey and you can bet that I will be watching for more by this new author.
If you too are a “foodie” who enjoys reading historical fiction, I think that you will definitely not want to miss this one! I would like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me to review this spectacular book!!
5 out of 5