For my final library book before the TBR Triple Dog Dare Challenge begins, I managed to finish An Appetite For Violets at approximately 12:40 AM on New year’s Day. (Do I know how to party or what?) That was way past my bedtime, but I simply didn’t want to put it down. It was a page-turning, smartly written historical mystery, with intrigue, romance, and 18th-century recipes galore!
Our heroine is Obedience (“Biddy”) Leigh, an under-cook at a small British country manor. She has a genuine talent for cooking and quick mind, but she plans to marry another servant, the not-so-impressive but attractive Jem, and open a tavern with him. Instead, her life is turned upside down when the often-absent master of the estate marries the young, brash Lady Carinna. The Lady suddenly decides to travel to Italy for mysterious reasons, taking Biddy and a few other servants with her. Biddy takes along an old cookbook, called The Cook’s Jewel, and the narrative is her observations of the journey.
This was one of those pleasant surprises, taken from the library shelf based on book jacket alone. Lady Carinna has dark secrets, the other servants on the journey have their own agendas, and Biddy realizes her true passion for exploring the wide culinary world as she travels through France and Italy. It was a fun, sensual, slightly gothic read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Martine Bailey has another novel coming out soon, called A Taste for Nightshade. As soon as my TBR Challenge is over in April, I’ll be picking that one up!