England 1835. Eliza Acton is a poet who dreams of seeing her
words in print. But when she takes her new manuscript to a publisher,
she’s told that ‘poetry is not the business of a lady’. Instead, they
want her to write a cookery book. That’s what readers really want from
women. England is awash with exciting new ingredients, from spices to
exotic fruits. But no one knows how to use them
the offices appalled. But when her father is forced to flee the country
for bankruptcy, she has no choice but to consider the proposal. Never
having cooked before, she is determined to learn and to discover, if she
can, the poetry in recipe writing. To assist her, she hires
seventeen-year-old Ann Kirby, the impoverished daughter of a
war-crippled father and a mother with dementia.
course of ten years, Eliza and Ann developed an unusual friendship – one
that crossed social classes and divides – and, together, they broke the
mould of traditional cookbooks and changed the course of cookery
Told in alternate voices by the award-winning author of The Joyce Girl, and with recipes that leap to life from the page, The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs is the most thought-provoking and page-turning historical novel you’ll read this year, exploring the enduring struggle for female freedom, the power of female friendship, the creativity and quiet joy of cooking and the poetry of food, all while bringing Eliza Action out of the archives and back into the public eye.
‘Exhilarating to read - thoughtful, heart-warming and poignant, with a quiet intelligence and elegance that does its heroine proud’ Bridget Collins
'A sumptuous banquet of a book that nourished me and satisfied me just as Eliza Acton’s meals would have... I adored it' Polly Crosby
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