An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Biddy Leigh, under-cook, is anticipating her marriage to Jem, when her life takes her in a different direction. Instead of marriage, she's assigned to accompany her master's new wife Corinna, on a mysterious journey to Italy. Corinna has a secret that she soon entangles Biddy in. Biddy finds herself impersonating her mistress, much to the hatred of Corinna's attendant and Mr. Pars, the steward. Disaster and tragedy strike, putting Biddy's life in danger.
The story is told from three perspectives: Biddy's journal carries most of the narrative, but it's supplemented by Mr. Pars' letters to his brother, and by the recollections and memories of Lovejoy, a Polynesian footman who had been captured near Batavia, and sold to his master. The story is also supported by a collection of very old recipes that are contained in Biddy's prized cookery book. This was an interesting though melodramatic read.
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