The Fair Botanists is a bewitching and immersive story for fans of Jessie Burton, Sarah Perry and The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock.
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 Gardens, the Agave Americana plant looks set to flower - an event which only occurs once in several 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 Gardens which border 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 Botanic 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 was born in Edinburgh and studied at Trinity College, Dublin. As well as writing the popular Mirabelle Bevan Murder Mysteries, she also writes a set of historical novels set between 1820 and 1845, the latest of which was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Award. Fascinated particularly by female history, she is a cultural commentator who appears regularly on television and radio. In 2014, she was named one of the Saltire Society's 365 Most Influential Scottish Women, past and present.
Sara tweets about her writing life as @sarasheridan and has a Facebook page at sarasheridanwriter.