Karen Brooks returns to the blog with a gripping tale of a woman making her way through the minefields and roadblocks in 15th century Britain with
The Lady Brewer of London
Having read Brooks’ other titles and fallen in love with them both, I was excited to see what she’d do with yet another woman forced into making her way legitimately through the maze and mire of a very patriarchal society. Daughter of a wealthy merchant, all of that came to naught with the loss of her father at sea and the realization that he’d mortgaged his children’s futures leaving them with nothing. The only thing that Anneke has to bargain beside herself is her mother’s recipe book: a book of ales and a series of tales that she brought to her marriage from the Netherlands.
Tough bargaining and plenty of struggles against the local church authorities, the memory of her mother, still strong with a few of her father’s former colleagues allowed her a moment to dream, and a few ingredients, unknown to England at the time. From her own precipitous drop in polite society, to her determination to provide for her younger siblings, she and her meagre household staff start to brew her ales, hoping to get permission and license to sell them. A small ‘tavern’ on her property, withstanding the slings and arrows of society, and working tirelessly, she’s confronted with deception and deceit, and a ‘helper’ who seems to be all too good.
With the increased success, the challenges increase, and a murder and a fire that resulted in the loss of her youngest brother and the severe maiming of her sister force Anneke, under threat of charges, to head toward London to pursue a new life. With the combining of her talents with a welcoming (and rather daring for today, let alone 600 years ago) woman, Anneke gains notice for her ale and her beer, and finds that a new start may be possible. Of course, with the societies, the levels of corruption in local authorities, the struggles with shipping, sales and even her own security – the story continues to examine and explore the difficulties of her life, and for that matter, all lives in the pre-Tudor era: from superstitions to religion and power working in tandem, to the simple fact of a woman in business that carries connotations of ‘unsavory behavior’, Anneke will astound you with her brashness, her determination and an inexhaustible willingness to move forward and accomplish each new task, regardless of risk, danger or difficulty. A favorite read for the story, the information and the development of a rather ‘naive’ Anneke into a worldly and determined businesswoman, who never put aside her belief in her dream.
Title: The Lady Brewer of London
Author: Karen Brooks
Genre: British, European History, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Historic Elements, Historical Fiction, Middle Ages, Political commentary, Pre-Tudor, Romantic Elements, Setting: Britain, Sociological Relevancy, Suspense Elements, Woman's Fiction
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 10 November, 2020
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Direct from Publisher
An unforgettable historical tale set in fifteenth-century England of a brilliant woman’s defiance, courage, and ingenuity—from the author of The Locksmith’s Daughter and The Chocolate Maker’s Wife.
1405: The daughter of a wealthy merchant, Anneke Sheldrake suddenly finds her family bankrupted when her father’s ship is swept away at sea. Forced to find a way to provide for herself and her siblings, Anneke rejects an offer of marriage from a despised cousin and instead turns to her late mother’s family business: brewing ale.
Armed with her mother’s recipes, she then makes a bold deal with her father’s aristocratic employer, putting her home and family at risk. Thanks to her fierce determination, Anneke’s brew wins a following and begins to turn a profit. But her rise threatens some in her community and those closest to her are left to pay the price.
As Anneke slowly pieces her life together again, she finds an unlikely ally in a London brothel owner. Determined not only to reclaim her livelihood and her family, Anneke vows not to let anyone stand in the way of her forging her own destiny.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.