Martine Bailey

Goodreads Author

in Manchester, The United Kingdom



Daphne du Maurier, Mary Renault, Sarah Waters, the North of England, Holland and the former D ...more

Member Since
January 2012


Martine is a keen reader who enjoys crime, mysteries and the gothic. Her debut, 'An Appetite for Violets' takes sharp-witted cook Biddy Leigh on a murderous trip to Italy. Its mix of crime, gastronomy and social history was described by Fay Weldon as creating a new genre, ‘culinary gothic’. ‘An Appetite for Violets’ was picked by the American Library Association’s Booklist as one of the year’s top ten crime fiction debuts.

‘A Taste for Nightshade/The Penny Heart’ is a dark novel of suspense that draws on age-old themes of cooking, trickery and revenge. Inspired by Martine’s 20-month stay in New Zealand and Australia it depicts a world of deceit, double-crossing and revenge.

The stars, riddles and murder align in 'The A

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Martine Bailey Thank you so much for your comments about the book and I’m so glad you picked up on my love of cooking. I have always enjoyed baking, having taught…moreThank you so much for your comments about the book and I’m so glad you picked up on my love of cooking. I have always enjoyed baking, having taught myself from books when I was younger. I really started baking to save money and feed my son, by making local English specialities like Bakewell Tart, biscuits and cakes. Then I became fascinated by foreign food when I had more money to travel and eventually entered a Merchant Gourmet contest with a Spanish dish for A Smoky Asturian Stew. I won it and the prize was a French cookery course in Provence. So one thing led to another and I became fascinated with French food and then historical food. My inspiration to write An Appetite for Violets started with a collection of historic recipes at a local country house and thinking about how the cook might have felt if she’d been sent to some far-flung foreign places! Thanks to TV food historian Ivan Day I’ve learned a great deal about historic cookery, using forgotten techniques and attempting the truly amazing sugarwork skills that confectioners like Renzo developed in the 18th century. Of course I don’t make extraordinary food all that often, but I do love to bake and I’m a keen member of the which has groups all around the world.
I’ve just been putting the final touches to a second book, The Penny Heart, a darker tale set in England, Australia and New Zealand in the 1790s, about a mistress and a sinister cook. It will be published in the UK in May 2015 and at some later date in the US. But I’m keen to start another novel soon, set in an English village and of course get down to some research.
Martine Bailey An historical writer must love research - and I do! Learning about how cooks prepared food in the past has been a fascinating area. First I looked at…moreAn historical writer must love research - and I do! Learning about how cooks prepared food in the past has been a fascinating area. First I looked at how ordinary folk cooked, boiling and frying over a fire, boiling puddings in a cloth in a cauldron, for example, and dangling food like bacon on a string to fry crisply.
Later I studied how the top chefs and confectioners worked, creating the most extraordinary sugarwork such as edible tableware, silver webs and vast palaces and temples made of sugar.
It has been a privilege to learn about such talented people from their handwritten recipes, many of them passed down the generations. (less)
Average rating: 3.73 · 1,707 ratings · 451 reviews · 3 distinct worksSimilar authors
An Appetite for Violets

3.72 avg rating — 1,168 ratings — published 2013 — 21 editions
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A Taste for Nightshade

3.77 avg rating — 428 ratings — published 2015 — 11 editions
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The Almanack

3.75 avg rating — 110 ratings8 editions
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The Wedding Diaries: How to...

3.67 avg rating — 6 ratings — published 2007 — 2 editions
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* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.

My Book the Movie - The Almanack

To celebrate the launch of The Almanack My Book, The Movie Blogspot invited me to 'dreamcast' an adaptation of my novel. It doesn't mean it's actually going to be filmed - I just get the chance to imagine it. Picture Edwaert Collier: Vanitas with Books, Manuscripts and a Skull
My heroine Tabitha was a courtesan in London, and is sharp-witted, light-fingered  and bold,... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on May 22, 2019 05:58

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Once Upon a River
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by Diane Setterfield (Goodreads Author)
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My Shitty Twenties
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Martine’s Recent Updates

Don't Think a Single Thought by Diana Cambridge
"I glanced back through this book before writing my review, having entirely convinced myself that it was written in the first person – and was then surprised to see that it wasn’t, but that’s the impression it creates. It’s extraordinarily intimate..." Read more of this review »
Mostly Plants by Tracy Pollan
Martine Bailey and 1 other person liked Essie Fox's blog post: THOMAS COOK'S VICTORIAN TOURS...
" Thomas Cook (1808-1892) Package holidays may seem to be a modern construct, but their origins go back over many centuries, very often being organised for mass religious pilgrimages.  The Victorian Thomas Cook was no exception to this rule w..." Read more of this blog post »
Any Human Heart by William  Boyd
"I go back a long way with William Boyd to A Good Man in Africa and An Ice-Cream War. He is a consummate storyteller. But it was Brazzaville Beach that shocked me and made me a fan. I came late to Any Human Heart, I don’t know why. Logan Mountstuar..." Read more of this review »
Martine Bailey and 5 other people liked Essie Fox's review of Any Human Heart:
Any Human Heart by William  Boyd
"One of the most engrossing novels I've ever read. I am really enjoying reading William Boyd ... Now onto another."
Martine Bailey is currently reading
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
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My Shitty Twenties by Emily Morris
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The Silent Companions by Laura  Purcell
The Silent Companions
by Laura Purcell (Goodreads Author)
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I have occasionally noticed those bizarre life-sized cut-outs of people in stately homes and wondered if they were a modern marketeers attempt at recreating a past age. In fact, it turns out that these 'silent companions' were reasonably common in th ...more
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Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
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This was a re-read of The Wide Sargasso Sea, a book that had failed to impress me many years ago when I read it as a teenager. Listening to it now, on audio for a book club at Gladstone's library, I was pleased to find that my reading tastes have def ...more
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The Bone Fire by S.D. Sykes
The Bone Fire
by S.D. Sykes (Goodreads Author)
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A superb opening plunges us straight into this medieval murder mystery, witnessing Oswald, his wife, son and mother seeking refuge from the plague on a wild and stormy night. The destination is a sinister island belonging to Oswald's old friend Godfr ...more
More of Martine's books…
“That's how it is for us servants. No one pays you much heed; mostly you're invisible as furniture. Yet you overhear a conversation here, and add a little gossip there. A writing desk lies open and you cannot help but read a paper. Then you find something, something you should not have found...”
Martine Bailey, An Appetite for Violets

“I was thrown together with Florence, or 'Florawns' as she was called, a pert girl of nineteen who worked in our kitchen and was sent out to help me. First, I followed her to a butcher where fat sausages hung from the ceiling like aldermen's chains, and I could choose the best of plump ducks, sides of beef, and chops standing guard like sentries on parade. Once the deal was done Florence paid him, gave me a wink and cast a trickle of coins into her apron pocket. So it seemed that serving girls will pay themselves the whole world over.
The size of the Paris market made Covent Garden look like a tinker's tray. And I never before saw such neatness; the cakes arranged in pinks and yellows and greens like an embroidery, and the cheeses even prettier, some as tiny as thimbles and others great solid cartwheels. As for the King Cakes the French made for Twelfth Night, the scents of almond and caramelled sugar were to me far sweeter than any perfumed waters.”
Martine Bailey, An Appetite for Violets

“While Mr Loveday aired my lady's sheets, I set to scratching up a supper. With not even time to change from my own damp clothes I had in one-half hour some welcoming tea steaming and hot brandy to mix a punch. Our bill of fare was the remnants of Mrs Garland's Yorkshire Pie, still sound and savory, fried bacon, and a hillock of roasted rabbits that disappeared as quickly as I made them. The last of the seed cake was eaten too, with a douse of brandy sprinkled over it to warm us.
'She will not eat those beggarly scraps,' said Jesmire, the spiteful old cat, when I took a tray of food to my lady's door. Yet I did see a slice of brandied cake disappear. I knew my mistress well enough by then, and she was a slave to her sugar tooth.”
Martine Bailey, An Appetite for Violets

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“The poetry of history lies in the quasi-miraculous fact that once, on this earth, once, on this familiar spot of ground, walked other men and women, as actual as we are today, thinking their own thoughts, swayed by their own passions, but now all gone, one generation vanishing into another, gone as utterly as we ourselves shall shortly be gone, like ghosts at cockcrow.”
G. M. Trevelyan

“My definition of man is a cooking animal. The beasts have memory, judgement, and the faculties and passions of our minds in a certain degree; but no beast is a cook.”
James Boswell, The Journals, 1762-95

“Happiness is a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau

“I am no bird, no net ensnares me.”
Charlotte Brontë

“A man may meet a woman and be shocked by her ugliness. Soon, if she is natural and unaffected, her expression makes him overlook the faults of her features. He begins to find her charming, it enters his head that she might be loved, and a week later he is living in hope. The following week he has been snubbed into despair, and the week afterwards he has gone mad. (Chapter 17)”
Stendhal, Love

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message 1: by Kim

Kim Thank you for the friendship request, Martine. I look forward to reading your reviews and discussing books (and cakes!) with you.

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