There are so many literary sub-genres it’s hard to keep count and harder still to imagine new categories emerging, yet Martine Bailey has added one more to the pile with a ‘Culinary Gothic Novel’.
It’s not actually as sickly as it might seem: this eerie novel tells the paralleled stories of Mary – a thief sent to Botany Bay for a simple confidence trick – and Grace, a young woman who receives an unexpected inheritance.
The women both feel that their fates have been dealt to them by unsympathetic men, however their fortunes look set to change as their paths collide – though not always for the better.
Peppered with recipes – many of which I suggest you do not try – this gripping drama is atmospheric, with enough intrigue to keep you engaged.
However there are issues with the narrative and the more outlandish aspects of the plot are brushed over, leaving the reader feeling that the whole affair is slightly too convenient to be plausible.