The Fair Botanists is a bewitching and immersive story for fans of Jessie Burton, Sarah Perry and The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock.
Could one rare plant hold the key to a thousand riches?
It's the summer of 1822 and Edinburgh is abuzz with rumours of King George IV's impending visit. In botanical circles, however, a different kind of excitement has gripped the city. In the newly-installed Botanic Garden, the Agave Americana plant looks set to flower - an event that only occurs once every few decades.
When newly widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband's aunt Clementina, she's determined to put her unhappy past in London behind her. As she settles into her new home, she becomes fascinated by the beautiful Botanic Garden which borders the grand house and offers her services as an artist to record the rare plant's impending bloom. In this pursuit, she meets Belle Brodie, a vivacious young woman with a passion for botany and the lucrative, dark art of perfume creation.
Belle is determined to keep both her real identity and the reason for her interest the Garden secret from her new friend. But as Elizabeth and Belle are about to discover, secrets don't last long in this Enlightenment city . . .
And when they are revealed, they can carry the greatest of consequences.
Sara Sheridan is an Edinburgh-based writer of over 20 books. As well as the Mirabelle Bevan Mysteries she writes historical novels based in the late-Georgian and early Victorian period. She has also written non-fiction, including remapping Scotland according to women's history for Historic Environment Scotland. She has been named one of the Saltire Society's 365 most influential women, past and present.
Sara tweets about her writing life as @sarasheridan and has a Facebook page at @sarasheridanwriter.