Skip to main content

Miss Eliza's English Kitchen: A Novel of Victorian Cookery and Friendship by Annabel Abbs (ALC review)

Miss Eliza's English Kitchen was a very intriguing read. I do like a good historical fiction from time to time, specially when it is based in real facts and real people (if you like historical fiction, see Tsarina- it even made on my top 10 of 2020) and this one did not disappoint. Perfection!


Blurb:

In a novel perfect for fans of Hazel Gaynor’s A Memory of Violets and upstairs-downstairs stories, Annabel Abbs, the award-winning author of The Joyce Girl, returns with the brilliant real-life story of Eliza Acton and her assistant as they revolutionized British cooking and cookbooks around the world.

Before Mrs. Beeton and well before Julia Child, there was Eliza Acton, who changed the course of cookery writing forever.

England 1837. Victorian London is awash with exciting new ingredients from spices to exotic fruits, but Eliza Acton has no desire to spend her days in the kitchen. Determined to be a poet and shamed by the suggestion she write a cookery book instead, she at first refuses to even consider the task. But then her father is forced to flee the country for bankruptcy, shaming the family while leaving them in genteel poverty. As a woman, Eliza has few options, so she methodically collects recipes while teaching herself the mysteries of the kitchen. And to her surprise, she discovers she is not only talented at cooking—she loves it.

To assist her, she hires seventeen-year-old Ann Kirby, the impoverished daughter of a war-injured father and a mother losing her grip on reality. Under Eliza’s tutelage, Ann learns about poetry, cookery, and love, while unravelling a mystery in her mistress’s past. Through the art of food, Eliza and Ann develop an unusual friendship and break the mold of traditional cookbooks by adding elegant descriptions and ingredient lists, that are still used today.

Told in alternate voices, this is an amazing novel of female friendship, the ensuring struggle for freedom, the quiet joy of cookery, and the place of food in creativity all while bringing Eliza Acton out of the archives and back into the public eye. 

The story is told alternately by Ann and Eliza. We get a good view in the way each of them thinks and how, although their lives are completely different, some of their fears and internal struggles are oh so similar. 

Eliza wants more than the world of her time allowed a woman of her age that was still single to have and do. She wants to write poems and ends up writing a cooking book instead. I dare you not to be hungry while reading this one. It is virtually impossible. Annabel Abbs did a great job at describing every little morsel of food in perfect detail, from the look, to the taste, and aroma. Eliza has a wonderful soul, but throughout the book she realizes her struggles are perhaps not as harsh as those less fortunate, such as Ann. And towards the end, we also find that her struggles are not as simple as being a spinster, there is more to it.

Ann also wants more than what the world of her time allowed of woman of her station. She is very poor, with a drunk as a father, and a mother with serious mental health issues. She ends up working as Miss Eliza's assistant and the two bond over food. Ann is very young and it is intriguing to see her grow as a woman. It is also at times disturbing, man at that time could get away with just about anything done to the help.

The book was mesmerizing from beginning to end. Kept you engaged and wanting to know how it would all unfold. And although it is a work of fiction, it is based on very real facts. Elizabeth Acton produced one of the very first British cooking books for housewives having a list of measurements and precise instructions, though I think in her book all the ingredients where at the end of the recipe rather than at the beginning, as we have today.

Highly recommend this one to anyone that loves a good historical fiction! 

Find the book at: Inklings Bookshop - GoodReads


Comments

  1. Situs Judi Casino Slot Online Gacor & Terbaik No 1 di Indonesia
    Permainan slot online gacor, bet 과천 출장안마 rendah mengambang, 대구광역 출장안마 juga mengapa dengan kasih jackpot slot online, live casino, casino online, 울산광역 출장샵 sekarang dan terlengkap. Rating: 95% · ‎240,388 남양주 출장안마 votes

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Cursed King (Inferno Rising #4) by Abigail Owen

This series has been an absolutely delight and I am so glad I've read it. The Rogue King , the first book in the series is still very much my favorite. I discovered Abigail Owen through that book and have read a few of her other books since, this series -obviously-, and others. I highly recommend you all give this wonderful author a try. Blurb: He will burn. She will rise. Airk Azdajah, the rightful King of the White Clan, spent half a millennium being tortured by the false High King Pytheios. The only reason he’s alive is a curse— the man to kill Airk will be consumed in his own fire. Which is why Pytheios kept Airk alive, barely, unable to shift in his prison cage, driving the creature half of him into madness. Airk escaped, but he’ll never be truly free. What good is a king who can never let his feral dragon loose, never fly, and never lead his people? He’s better off dead. Angelika Amon is the last unmated phoenix. The problem? She has no powers. Zip. Zilch. Angelika hates bein

Promises and Pomegranates (Monsters & Muses #1) by Sav R. Miller

I was very excited about this read. The reviews are good, the people recommending it were people whose recommendations I have liked in the past. And in the end, at did like this one. But I will confess from the start that Promises and Pomegranates  did not blow me away. Blurb: Elena To most, Kal Anderson is a villain. Harbinger of death, keeper of souls, frequenter of nightmares. Doctor Death. Hades incarnate. They say he stole me. Usurped my fiancé and filled the cracks in my heart with empty promises. Imprinted his crimson fingerprints on my psyche and tried to set me free. They’re not wrong, per se. Except it was my choice to stay. Kal To most, Elena Ricci is an innocent. Goddess of springtime, lover of poetry, angel of my nightmares. Little one. Persephone personified. They say I ruined her. Shattered her virtue and devoured her soul like a succulent pomegranate. Embedded my evil as deep as I could possibly get and tried to set her free. They’re not wrong, per se. Except it was she

The Warlord (Rise of the Warlords #1) by Gena Showalter

I discovered Gena Showalter long after her Lords of the Underworld series had started. I have those books, but I haven't read them all. I have however read many of her other smaller series. My favorite still the one that introduced me to her books in 2018, Shadow and Ice  (Gods of War).  The Warlord  is the start of a new series, but if you have read Lords of the Underworld  some bits will connect. It is not necessary you read them though, gods know I have not. They sit on my middle shelf and I stare at them daily, does that count? hehe Here is the blurb: For centuries, Taliyah Skyhawk has prepared to become Harpy General, leader of the deadliest female army in existence. One of the requirements? Remain a virgin. But, for a chance to save her people, she must wed the fearless leader of the Astra Planeta, Alaroc Phaethon. The time has come for Roc to sacrifice another virgin bride to his god. There has never been a woman alluring enough to tempt him from his path. No warrioress po