The Lady Brewer of London

Karen Brooks. Morrow, $17.99 trade paper (832p) ISBN 978-0-06-300824-3
The daughter of a merchant flouts 15th-century English convention to start a brewery in Brooks’s illuminating epic (after The Chocolate Maker’s Wife). At 19, Anneke Sheldrake is devastated when her father’s ship goes missing at sea. His employer, Lord Rainford, agrees to give Anneke six months to come up with the lease money for her home in the village of Elmham Lenn. Anneke uses recipes handed down from her deceased mother, whose family brewed ale, to start a business, but after a fire at the brewery, Anneke flees to London in 1406, where she sets up another brewery, and the next year is reunited with Lord Rainford’s son, Leander Rainford, and tries to avoid the scrutiny of an officer of the crown who unfairly declares her ale substandard, forcing her to dump barrels into the Thames. When Leander helps Anneke get an audience with King Henry to taste her ale, Anneke is hopeful for the continued success of her business. Brooks’s attention to historical detail instills the novel with authenticity by including many historical figures and events, while Anneke’s lively voice keeps a strong grip on the reader as she works to overcome societal prohibitions against women in business and find happiness and contentment. Brooks’s immersive page-turner does not disappoint. Agent: James Frenkel, James Frenkel Assoc. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/14/2020
Release date: 11/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-300825-0
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