A historical novel of suspense, seasoned with recipes and remedies, THE PENNY HEART is a Sunday Times Summer Read that draws on age-old themes of cooking, trickery and revenge.
Sentenced to death for a simple confidence trick, Mary Jebb escapes the gallows ... but her reprieve is harsh: seven years in the unforgiving penal colony of Botany Bay.
Yet Mary is determined not to be forgotten, sending two pennies, engraved with a promise, to the two men who sealed her fate.
Timid artist Grace Moore jumps at the opportunity to marry handsome gentleman Michael Croxon - happy if only to get away from her drunken father.
But when Grace takes on a new cook, the two penny heart love tokens reveal she is tied to a world she didn't know existed ... A world of deceit, double-crossing, revenge and murder.
Praise for Martine Bailey's debut novel, AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS - ...
Martine Bailey writes with such easy, compelling grace, and in a fascinating new genre - best described as culinary gothic. I was hooked and enraptured.
An absolutely delicious novel; I savoured every page.
I adored this novel: a delicious addictive mix of confectionery, skulduggery and crime, sprinkled with dark secrets.
A charming debut and a genuinely original and insightful novel. - Good Housekeeping
A beautifully written 18th century servant story . . . An impressive debut. - Daily Mail
Martine Bailey has invented her own niche - gothic horror meeting culinary thriller - and THE PENNY HEART is her second helping... There is much to admire in this sprawling tale of lies, secrets and puddings. Bailey's prose sparkles. - The Times
An exciting novel in the Gothic tradition. - The Lady Magazine
Inspired by eighteenth-century household books of recipes, writing historical fiction has allowed Martine to indulge in her obsessions with food, history and travel.
As an amateur cook, Martine won the Merchant Gourmet Recipe Challenge and was a former UK Dessert Champion, cooking at Le Meurice in Paris. In pursuit of authenticity she has studied with food historian Ivan Day and experienced Georgian food and fashion at first-hand with an historic re-enactment society.
Martine lives in Cheshire, England, after spending 20 months travelling and researching in New Zealand and Australia. She is married with one son. THE PENNY HEART is her second novel.