Amazing or astonishing – either is sufficient to describe this 17th century novel from Lawrence Norfolk. Readers have waited over a decade since his last novel and he does not disappoint. Norfolk’s historical tale tells the story of John, who following his mother’s death from starvation is sent to Buckland Manor in the hope that he’ll be saved from the workhouse.
He is put to work in the house’s vast kitchens where his talent takes him from the scullery to prepare the main meals for the Lord and his daughter – Lady Lucretia.
When Lady Lucretia takes a vow of hunger to defy her father’s attempt to marry her off, the Lord asks John to prepare a feast to break her fast.
This novel grabbed me from the start, beautifully written and with detailed descriptions of life in 17th Century England, this is a novel worthy of Wolf Hall or Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.