The Chocolate Maker’s Wife by Karen Brooks
English | 2019 | General Fiction | ePUB | 2.0 Mb
The Chocolate Maker’s : Australian author Karen Brooks rewrites women back into history with this sweeping, breathtakingly researched tale of 17th century London. Set against the backdrop of Restoration London, the plague and the Great Fire, this is a tale of cruelty, revenge, redemption, love and hope, and the sweet, sinister temptation of chocolate.
Damnation has never been so sweet…
When Rosamund Tomkins enters the world she is so different, with her darkling eyes and strange laughter, that the midwives are afraid, believing her a changeling. But Rosamund’s life is set to be anything but enchanted…
Born into poverty, brutalised and ignored by her family, it is only when she is married off to a nobleman that her life undergoes a wondrous transformation, as he recognises that Rosamund infuses magic she does not know she possesses into everything she touches. Clever, quick and irrepressible, Rosamund soon becomes the darling of the haute ton, and presides over her luxurious chocolate house where the rich go to be seen and indulge in their favourite pastime, drinking the sweet and heady drink to which they’ve become oddly addicted.
But Rosamund stands on the brink of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve and will be forced to make a choice: walk away from all she knows and has grown to love with her soul intact, or make a deal with the devil?
“‘Not quite perfect,’ said Sir Everard and, using his cane, pointed to her clothes then her head. ‘There’s the matter of her state, never mind her injuries.’
‘Allora, quite,’ said Jacopo. ‘Should I fetch a dottore?’
‘A doctor? Here, in this backwater?’ Sir Everard shook his head. ‘I wouldn’t inflict such a creature upon the poor child if we were in London. Not after what she’s been through.’
‘’Twasn’t your fault, signore, nor the coachmen’s. She ran straight towards them. How she didn’t hear —’
‘I’m not referring to the damage we exacted and which, no doubt, was the final straw,’ said Sir Everard impatiently. ‘Look here.’ Bending down, he ran a light thumb over a livid purple bruise near her elbow. Next to it, a series of mustard-coloured marks the size of large fingers could be seen; closer to her wrist, red welts from some kind of binding.
The young man squatted beside him, his fingers unconsciously wrapping around his own wrist and rubbing a few times.
With a beringed finger Sir Everard pointed to a slight discolouration upon her cheekbone. ‘We’d naught to do with this. That is old. The girl has been manhandled and not just the once. God only knows what we cannot see.’ Heaving himself upright, he sighed. ‘If there’s one thing I cannot abide, Jacopo, it’s unnecessary cruelty.’
Sir Everard deigned not to notice the expression on Jacopo’s face. Instead, he stared in the direction the girl had come from, his eyes becoming harder than the steel poniard he wore at his hip.
‘Well,’ he said, brushing the dust from his fine satin breeches and the jacquard of his coat. ‘As God is my witness, we’ve no choice. Pick her up, Jacopo, and place her in the carriage. I need to think.’”