“An Appetite For Violets” by Martine Bailey

When I picked up “An Appetite For Violets” off the library shelf, I was in a bit of a hurry. I quickly scanned the jacket and thought it may be interesting since I liked historical fiction, so I signed it out.

By the time I finished reading the novel, which only took me 5 days, I admit that I liked the main character’s spunky attitude and was eager to see how the story ended. However, there are nearly 400 pages in this book, and about half of them are unnecessary. They don’t influence the reader’s thoughts, impact the action, or really do anything but distract from the story line. I found myself skimming over these parts to get on with the action when I’d rather savor every word. Additionally, the first few chapters were difficult to follow, with the use of the character’s 1770’s dialects and verbiage, though the readability does get better as the main character becomes more “educated”.

A quick summary: Biddy Leigh is the main character, an English servant under-cook who is elected to accompany her mistress on a journey to Italy. This opens up a new world for Biddy, and doing as her mistress bids starts to find her in a heap of trouble.

As far as a recommendation, I think that only  history buffs who like historical fluff would be interested, or people like me who are just looking for something to take their mind off of reality. Yes, there are some exciting bits, but for the most part the novel is simple in it’s story line and predictable in it’s outcome.

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Amanda

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