Monday, July 28, 2014

An Appetite for Violets | Martine Bailey

This is a delightful novel. Well worth reading as it has a good combination of story and suspense and adventure.
Set in 1772-3 it records the journey of a lowly assistant cook, Buddy Leigh, from northwest England to Florence. She travels with her Mistress Carinna, who is seeking to escape her marriage to an old man full of the pox to whom she was married so as to gain an inheritance.

The story is recorded by Biddy in the "The Cook's Jewel", an old recipe book she has inherited from the cook who apprenticed her. She records the behaviour of Lady Carinna and her maid, the journey to Italy and most enjoyable, the recipes of food she tastes along the way.
I love travel and food, so this was a lovely story to read. The history of food and eating is well researched, I particularly enjoyed the history of the 'notion' of restaurants. Each chapter begins with a recipe written out, from the UK fare right to Italian confections.

Mixed in with all that is a mystery of sorts, which is lightly handled and not too taxying.

A very enjoyable read. Makes you hungry though!!

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