Martine Bailey - An Appetite for Violets - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781444768749
    • Publication date:22 May 2014

An Appetite for Violets

By Martine Bailey

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

A compelling tale of obsession and mystery, introducing a brilliant new voice in historical fiction.

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 foreboding Mawton Hall, only wants to marry her childhood sweetheart and set up her own tavern. But when her elderly master marries the young Lady Carinna, Biddy is unwittingly swept up in 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 . . .

Biographical Notes

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 and Auckland, New Zealand. She is married with one son and is currently writing a second historical novel.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781444768732
  • Publication date: 08 Jan 2015
  • Page count: 400
  • Imprint: Hodder Paperbacks
Part social history, part exploration of 18th century cuisine and part action-packed, dark-edged mystery, this is probably the most delicious - and inventive - story you will read this year. — Lancashire Evening Post
If you enjoyed Jo Baker's Longbourn you'll enjoy this. It's another beautifully written 18th century servant story, sad in the same sort of way and similarly rich . . . An impressive debut. — Daily Mail
Martine Bailey writes with such easy, compelling grace, and in a fascinating new genre - best described as culinary gothic. I was hooked and enraptured. — Fay Weldon
I adored this novel: a delicious addictive mix of confectionery, skulduggery and crime, sprinkled with dark secrets and sauced with piquant comedy. — Maria McCann, bestselling author of AS MEAT LOVES SALT and THE WILDING
An absolutely delicious novel; I savoured every page. — Imogen Robertson, author of Instruments of Darkness
Biddy's irrepressible nature is apparent from the very start . . . she is one of the most likeable protagonists I have encountered in a long time . . . It's rare to encounter descriptive skills as good as this. At every point I felt I could see, hear, smell and taste what was going on . . . This novel takes in historical, Gothic and crime ficiton in a clean, easy sweep and manages to pack in cultural and culinary observations without once disrupting flow or timing . . . There's a great sense of the book being a complicated and daring recipe; both the timing and the proportions of each ingredient needed to be exactly right to produce the best result. Bailey's recipe has worked perfectly. I was cheering for the heroes, booing for the villains and feeling disappointed as the end of the book crept up on me. AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS is a terrific novel . . . a must-read for anyone who enjoys a full, flavoursome and hearty story. — The Bookbag
A tour de force . . . This novel is about rulers and the ruled, cookery and the emergence of restaurants, sugar-craft, slavery, all kinds of love and companionship and also a great mystery story. The writing itself is beautifully fluent and quirky in its use of eighteenth-century parlance, yet this latter element was used charmingly and never overdone. It's full of twists and turns with marvellous moments of drama and some super revelations I never saw coming! I'd recommend this novel to anyone wanting an insight into the period and a jolly good read with satisfying and very real depths. — Rebecca Mascull, author of THE VISITORS
It's not often that I read a book as voraciously as this. The last was THE GOLDFINCH by DonnaTartt, so Martine is in excellent company. I just had to know how this story of deception, intrigue and passion ended. — S D Sykes, author of PLAGUE LAND
A hugely evocative novel that transported me right back to 18th Century Europe. AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS is filled with sensuous food writing and Biddy has such a distinctive voice. — Sarah Vaughan, author of THE ART OF BAKING BLIND
I really, really loved AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS and you caught Biddy's voice so beautifully I could hear her in my head. I read the proof while I was stuck on a few train journeys and I was racing through it while never wanting it to stop. The recipes, the voices, the places, the atmosphere and tension - it was all so high-coloured and vivid I felt it was playing out in front of my eyes. At points I even forgot I was on a FGW train . . . It's so accomplished and confident for a debut novel. — Lucy Dillon, author of A HUNDRED PIECES OF ME
The recipes [Bailey] includes throughout the book give her novel a wonderful flavour . . . Bailey has chosen her language cleverly, choosing foodie adjectives when possible to create a full sensory experience . . . AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS is part Gothic mystery melodrama, part romance, part social commentary, part history of cuisine. — For Books' Sake
AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS is a feast of unique characters, suspense, passion and delicious storytelling. Martine Bailey has served up a beautifully rendered, haunting tale told by an unforgettable heroine. A novel to devour yet savor. — Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of The Queen's Governess
Irresistible. Full of mystery and intrigue, above and below stairs shenanigans and cookery. Gastro-porn at its best. — The Arts Show on BBC Radio 2
There are mysteries to solve, secrets to uncover, plots to unravel . . . The story is both light and intriguing with twists and turns aplenty . . . It is a cleverly woven tale, yet for all the depth and detail the book remains an easy and enjoyable read. Just as the lightest of dishes can contain a host of complimentary tastes and textures, so this book offers up a complex, thought provoking story that is easily digested. — Jackie Law's Book Blog
Biddy has to be one of my favourite heroines to appear for a long time . . . I have never seen language so lightly and skillfully interwoven into a historical character . . . You do not have to be a foodie to love this book (although you will adore it if you are one!). Bailey's descriptions and Biddy's enthusiasm soon give you an appetite for a fascinating culinary world . . . It is a historical novel with mystery, crime, romance, comedy and gothic elements. Whilst parts of the story are dark, the book has an overall cheerful feel to it. It is easy to read and never feels cumbersome. I suppose at the end of the day, it is like one of Biddy's recipes. There are many ingredients, some of which you would hesitate to blend together, but when all is mixed and cooked, the finished dish is a triumph. — Laura Purcell, author of Queen of Bedlam
A deliciously inventive story . . . Biddy Leigh, our heroine, is one of the most engaging characters I've come across in a long time . . . AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS was inspired by recipe books from the 18th century which are matched with a love of food, history and travel. A perfect combination and, like Biddy's cooking, mixed in just such a way to meld together all the flavors creating a most delicious story. — Shiny New Books
A charming debut and a genuinely original and insightful novel. — Good Housekeeping
The first half of the novel whets the reader's appetite for more. There are charming recipes that kick off each of Biddy's chapters. And then there is the central mystery of what happened in Tuscany . . . The pace bustles with subplots . . . If you are looking for a food-related light read, this fits the bill quite nicely. — Straits Times, Singapore
A delectable dish that will appeal to readers with a taste for historical mysteries as well as fiction about food. — Booklist Starred Review
Debut novelist (and award winning amateur cook) Bailey whips up a tasty confection of history, mystery, and intrigue. Fans of 18th-century writers as James Boswell, Tobias Smollett, Henry Fielding, and Samuel Richardson will savor this delicious read. — Library Journal Starred Review
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Martine Bailey
Authors:
Martine Bailey

David Mitchell

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well.

David Wishart

David Wishart studied Classics at Edinburgh University. He then taught Latin and Greek in school for four years and after this retrained as a teacher of EFL. He lived and worked abroad for eleven years, working in Kuwait, Greece and Saudi Arabia, and now lives with his wife and family in Scotland.

Deon Meyer

Deon Meyer lives near Cape Town in South Africa. His big passions are motorcycling, music, reading, cooking and rugby. In January 2008 he retired from his day job as a consultant on brand strategy for BMW Motorrad, and is now a full time author. Deon Meyer's books have attracted worldwide critical acclaim and a growing international fanbase. Originally written in Afrikaans, they have now been translated into twenty-eight languages.THIRTEEN HOURS was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger and won the Boeke Prize in South Africa - the first time in the prize's 16 year history that a South African book has won. His novels have also won literary prizes in France, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, and the film rights to seven of his novels have been optioned or sold.Deon has also written two television series, and several screenplays for movies. In 2013 he directed one of his original scripts for the feature film The Last Tango.Visit the author's website at www.deonmeyer.com and follow him on Twitter @MeyerDeon

Donal Skehan

Donal Skehan has been cooking since age four when he flipped his first pancake! Inspired by a family of passionate foodies, cooking and eating hearty home cooked food has always been a way of life. Donal is the author of seven cookbooks; Fresh was named as one of Good Food magazine's Top 10 cookbooks of the year. He's the host of Saturday Kitchen, star of cookery shows on RTE and The Food Network, and has his own hit YouTube channel. Donal was born and raised in Dublin and is currently living in LA.

Dorothy L Sayers

Dorothy L Sayers was born in Oxford in 1893, and was both a classical scholar and a graduate in modern languages. As well as her popular Lord Peter Wimsey series, she wrote several religious plays, but considered her translations of Dante's Divina Commedia to be her best work. She died in 1957.www.sayers.org.uk

Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand grew up in Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, where she was a teaching/writing fellow. She now lives with her husband and their three children on Nantucket, Massachusetts, where her novels are set.You can follow Elin on Twitter @elinhilderbrand or find out more on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/ElinHilderbrand.

Elizabeth Anthony

Elizabeth Anthony discovered historical novels early in her teens. After graduating from university she worked as a tutor in English Studies, but always dreamed of writing. Her ambition was fulfilled with the publication of an eighteenth-century thriller received with great acclaim in the UK and US and translated into nine languages. She has also written several historical romances. Elizabeth lives with her husband in the Peak District.

Elizabeth Goudge

Elizabeth de Beauchamp Goudge was born on April 24th 1900 in Wells, Somerset, where her father was Principal of Wells Theological College. Although she had privately intended writing as a career, her parents insisted she taught handicrafts in Oxford. She began writing in her spare time and her first novel ISLAND MAGIC, set in Guernsey, was a great success here and in America. GREEN DOLPHIN COUNTRY (1944) projected her to fame, netting a Literary Guild Award and a special prize of £30,000 from Louis B. Mayer of MGM before being filmed.In her later years Elizabeth Goudge settled in Henley-on-Thames. She died on April 1st, 1984.

Eloisa James

After graduating from Harvard University, Eloisa got an M.Phil. from Oxford University, a Ph.D. from Yale and eventually became a Shakespeare professor. Currently she is the Director of Creative Writing in the English Department at Fordham University in New York City. She lives and writes in New Jersey with her husband, a Dante scholar and Italian knight, and their two children.

Emma Darwin

Emma Darwin is the author of the historical novels The Mathematics of Love and A Secret Alchemy, and her short fiction has been published and broadcast. She has appeared at literary festivals from Hay on Wye to New Zealand, she has taught creative writing for many institutions including the Open University, and she blogs at This Itch of Writing. She is the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin.

Erika Mailman

Erika Mailman was born in Vermont to a German-American family. She is a descendent of a woman who stood trial for witchcraft in 1600s Massachusetts, three decades before the Salem witch trials. She has a Masters degree in Creative Writing, and now lives in Oakland, California.

Fran Cooper

Fran Cooper grew up in London before reading English at Cambridge and Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She spent three years in Paris writing a PhD about travelling eighteenth-century artists, and currently works in the curatorial department of a London museum. These Dividing Walls is her first novel.

Gerald Seymour

Gerald Seymour exploded onto the literary scene in 1975 with the massive bestseller HARRY'S GAME. The first major thriller to tackle the modern troubles in Northern Ireland, it was described by Frederick Forsyth as 'like nothing else I have ever read' and it changed the landscape of the British thriller forever.Gerald Seymour was a reporter at ITN for fifteen years. He covered events in Vietnam, Borneo, Aden, the Munich Olympics, Israel and Northern Ireland. He has been a full-time writer since 1978.

Giles Milton

Giles Milton is a writer and historian. He is the internationally bestselling author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Big Chief Elizabeth, The Riddle and the Knight, White Gold, Samurai William, Paradise Lost, Wolfram and Russian Roulette. He has also written three novels and three children's books. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in south London.Find out more about Giles and his books on his website, www.gilesmilton.com, and Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giles_Milton, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/survivehistory and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/Giles-Milton-Writer/121068034610842.

Graham Hancock

As East Africa correspondent of The Economist in the early eighties Graham Hancock began to write a series of highly acclaimed books on economics, politics and foreign aid. His life took a whole new turn when he became fascinated by rumours that the Ark of the Covenant is real artefact, hidden somewhere in northern Africa. The story of his detective work, tracking it down to its supposed final resting place became the international bestseller The Sign and the Seal (now in production as a feature film.) More bestsellers in the field of 'alternative history' followed, including Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (the latter co-authored with Robert Bauval) and Heaven's Mirror. In Supernatural he described his experiences journeying to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs amongst tribes people for whom they represent a gateway into supernatural realms. His ideas on exploring new dimensions in consciousness became the subject of his controversial TED talks.Graham Hancock's books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and have sold over nine million copies worldwide. His public lectures and broadcasts, including two major TV series for Channel 4, Quest for the Lost Civilisation, and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, have further established his reputation as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity`s past.

Graham Norton

Graham Norton is one of the UK's best loved broadcasters. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, has a weekly show on BBC Radio 2, and writes a column for the Telegraph. He is the winner of nine BAFTA awards. Born in Dublin and raised in West Cork, Norton now lives in London. His debut novel Holding was a commercial and critical success, winning Norton the Irish Independent Popular Fiction award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards in 2016.

Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay has published twelve novels which have been translated into more than 25 languages and have appeared on bestseller lists around the world. He is also the author of the acclaimed poetry collection, Beyond This Dark House. His most recent work is River of Stars and his newest novel is CHILDREN OF EARTH AND SKY. Before beginning his career as a novelist, Kay was retained by the Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien to assist in the editorial construction of The Silmarillion, the first and best-known of the posthumously published Tolkien works. Called to the Bar of Ontario in 1980, he has also been principal writer and associate producer for the CBC's award-winning crime-drama series, The Scales of Justice. Kay has twice won the Aurora Award, is a multiple World Fantasy Award nominee, and won that award in 2008 for Ysabel. He also won the Sunburst and Les Chevaux Célestes awards for Under Heaven, and is the recipient of the International Goliardos Prize, presented in Mexico City, for his contributions to the literature of the fantastic. In 2014 he was invested with the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour. Kay's authorized website may be found at www.brightweavings.com. Guy Gavriel Kay lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons.

Gyles Brandreth

Gyles Brandreth is a writer, performer, former MP and government whip whose career has ranged from hosting Have I Got News For You to starring in his own award-winning musical revue in London's West End. Currently a reporter with The One Show on BBC1 and a regular on Radio 4's Just a Minute, his acclaimed Victorian detective stories - THE OSCAR WILDE MURDER MYSTERIES - are now being published in nineteen countries around the world and are currently in development for TV. All six books in the series, OSCAR WILDE AND THE CANDLELIGHT MURDERS, OSCAR WILDE AND THE RING OF DEATH, OSCAR WILDE AND THE DEAD MAN'S SMILE, OSCAR WILDE AND THE NEST OF VIPERS, OSCAR WILDE AND THE VATICAN MURDERS and OSCAR WILDE AND THE MURDERS AT READING GAOL are available from John Murray. You can find out more about the Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries at www.oscarwildemurdermysteries.com and about Gyles Brandreth at www.gylesbrandreth.net

Harold Mcgee

Harold McGee writes about the chemistry of food and cooking, and the science of everyday life. He has worked alongside some of world's most innovative chefs, including Thomas Keller and Heston Blumenthal. He lives with his family in California.