The Penny Heart
By Martine Bailey
A historical novel of suspense, seasoned with recipes and remedies, THE PENNY HEART is a Sunday Times Summer Read that draws on age-old themes of cooking, trickery and revenge.
Sentenced to death for a simple confidence trick, Mary Jebb escapes the gallows ... but her reprieve is harsh: seven years in the unforgiving penal colony of Botany Bay.
Yet Mary is determined not to be forgotten, sending two pennies, engraved with a promise, to the two men who sealed her fate.
Timid artist Grace Moore jumps at the opportunity to marry handsome gentleman Michael Croxon - happy if only to get away from her drunken father.
But when Grace takes on a new cook, the two penny heart love tokens reveal she is tied to a world she didn't know existed ... A world of deceit, double-crossing, revenge and murder.
Inspired by eighteenth-century household books of recipes, writing historical fiction has allowed Martine to indulge in her obsessions with food, history and travel.
As an amateur cook, Martine won the Merchant Gourmet Recipe Challenge and was a former UK Dessert Champion, cooking at Le Meurice in Paris. In pursuit of authenticity she has studied with food historian Ivan Day and experienced Georgian food and fashion at first-hand with an historic re-enactment society.
Martine lives in Cheshire, England, after spending 20 months travelling and researching in New Zealand and Australia. She is married with one son. THE PENNY HEART is her second novel.
- Other details
- Publication date:
21 May 2015
- Page count:
Hodder & Stoughton
Martine Bailey has invented her own niche - gothic horror meeting culinary thriller - and THE PENNY HEART is her second helping... There is much to admire in this sprawling tale of lies, secrets and puddings. Bailey's prose sparkles. — The Times
An exciting novel in the Gothic tradition. — The Lady Magazine
An ingenious exercise in pastiche gothic, this is a richly rewarding read. — The Sunday Times
THE PENNY HEART is a compelling and haunting story, brimming with malice and darkness, and powerfully alive to the harsh realities of 18th century life, but it also an invigorating account of the indomitability of the human spirit in the face of terrible hardship. — Lancashire Evening Post
I really can't recommend this novel highly enough. I loved it from start to finish. — S D Sykes, author of PLAGUE LAND
Peppered with recipes - many of which I suggest you do not try - this gripping drama is atmospheric, with enough intrigue to keep you engaged. — The Sunderland Echo
Bailey has created such vivid and believable characters that I felt entirely gripped by every strand of the story. — Juliet West, author of Before the Fall
It all comes down to a thrilling battle of wits and nerve - I literally could not put the book down for the last quarter. — Laura Purcell, author of The Queen of Bedlam and Mistress of the Court
Following an excellent debut must be tough - but Bailey has made it look easy with this polished, sophisticated work. From the first page, I sensed this novel was going to be even better than her first and my confidence was not misplaced. — The Bookbag
The mystery is cleverly written and I went from being gently guided along and thinking maybe really nothing much was happening, to whoah, hold on, I wasn't expecting this! I loved the book and felt quite bereft on finishing it. — BeadyJans Books
The mystery, at the heart of the novel is complex, both dark and deliciously dirty in places and just so wonderfully contrived and maintained that I really was kept guessing throughout the whole of the story. — Jaffareadstoo blogspot