Miss Eliza's English Kitchen: A Novel of Victorian Cookery and Friendship

Miss Eliza's English Kitchen: A Novel of Victorian Cookery and Friendship


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In a novel perfect for fans of Hazel Gaynor’s A Memory of Violets and upstairs-downstairs stories, Annabel Abbs, the award-winning author of The Joyce Girl, returns with the brilliant real-life story of Eliza Acton and her assistant as they revolutionized British cooking and cookbooks around the world.

Before Mrs. Beeton and well before Julia Child, there was Eliza Acton, who changed the course of cookery writing forever.

England 1837. Victorian London is awash with exciting new ingredients from spices to exotic fruits, but Eliza Acton has no desire to spend her days in the kitchen. Determined to be a poet and shamed by the suggestion she write a cookery book instead, she at first refuses to even consider the task. But then her father is forced to flee the country for bankruptcy, shaming the family while leaving them in genteel poverty. As a woman, Eliza has few options, so she methodically collects recipes while teaching herself the mysteries of the kitchen. And to her surprise, she discovers she is not only talented at cooking—she loves it.

To assist her, she hires seventeen-year-old Ann Kirby, the impoverished daughter of a war-injured father and a mother losing her grip on reality. Under Eliza’s tutelage, Ann learns about poetry, cookery, and love, while unravelling a mystery in her mistress’s past. Through the art of food, Eliza and Ann develop an unusual friendship and break the mold of traditional cookbooks by adding elegant descriptions and ingredient lists, that are still used today.

Told in alternate voices, this is an amazing novel of female friendship, the ensuring struggle for freedom, the quiet joy of cookery, and the place of food in creativity all while bringing Eliza Acton out of the archives and back into the public eye. 

Title:Miss Eliza's English Kitchen: A Novel of Victorian Cookery and Friendship
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    Miss Eliza's English Kitchen: A Novel of Victorian Cookery and Friendship Reviews

  • Julie

    Miss Eliza’s English Kitchen by Annabel Abbs is a 2021 William Morrow Paperbacks publication. Eliza Acton’s original plan to become a poet came to an abrupt halt when a publisher dismissed her wor...

  • Ceecee

    4.5 rounded up. This novel is based on fact and tells the story of Eliza Acton and her assistant Ann Kirby who collaborate to produce one of the greatest cookery books of all time, so great in facts s...

  • Annette

    This story brings true figures of Eliza Acton, poet and pioneering cookery writer, and Ann Kirby, her assistant. They both worked on a cookery book which is known as “the greatest British cookbook o...

  • The Library Lady

    Last year I read Anne Willan's Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today, and I know that Eliza Acton was one of the food writers included,...

  • Val

    I was so excited to get approved for this ARC. A time period that I enjoy (Victorian) with a story that centers on women breaking boundaries and finding meaning? Sign me up!The story is told through t...

  • MaryannC. Book Freak

    A rich , sumptuous tale of two women from very different backgrounds who forge a bond of friendship centered around their love of food.Eliza Acton is a headstrong woman who has decided to pursue her h...

  • CindySR#snowday!

    I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. Many thanks to the publisher William Morrow for this gift.This historical novel checks many of the boxes for me. Characters to care about, like poor Ann and he...

  • smalltownbookmom

    Based on the real life of Eliza Acton, a British poetess who teamed up with a kitchen maid to write one of the foremost cookery books in England. This is a story of female friendship, women's role in ...

  • Suzanne

    This is a wonderful book, filled with interesting characters and a vibrant setting/time. MISS ELIZA’S ENGLISH KITCHEN is a peek into a time when most women of a certain class never set foot in their...

  • Bonnie DeMoss

    England 1835. When Eliza Action is ordered by her publisher to write a cookbook instead of her usual poetry, she is less than interested. After all, she does not know how to cook! She hires an assista...