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
Available now – Rohwolt, Germany
Available now – Hodder & Stoughton, UK and Commonwealth
13 January 2015 – St Martin’s Press, United States
2015 – Algaia Editores, for Spain, Mexico, Chile, Argentina
‘If you enjoyed Jo Baker’s Longbourn you’ll enjoy this. It’s another beautifully written 18th century servant story… an impressive debut.’
(The 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, author of LONG LIVE THE KING)
‘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)
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)
AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS – Hodder and Stoughton, May 2014
‘In the dark heart of 18th century England: A mistress, a maid, a mystery…’
I adored this novel: a delicious addictive mix of confectionery, skulduggery and crime.'(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)
When Martine Bailey entered a cookery contest she had no idea it would lead to a life-changing obsession with French cuisine. As an amateur cook, Martine won the Merchant Gourmet Recipe Challenge and was a former UK Dessert Champion, cooking at Le Meurice in Paris.
Inspired by eighteenth-century household books of recipes, An Appetite for Violets invites readers to feast on the past as a sharp-witted young cook is taken on a mysterious trip to Italy. In pursuit of authenticity Martine studied with food historian Ivan Day and experienced Georgian food and fashion at firsthand 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.