Publication Date: February 1, 2014
Formats: Ebook, Paperback Joyce Wayne brings to life the complexities of Victorian life, first in County Devon and then in London’s East End. The ‘big picture’ is about one woman’s life, class conflict, religious intolerance, suspicion and betrayal. The central figure is Cordelia, a strong-minded Jewish woman who is caught between her desire to be true to herself and her need to be accepted by English society.Cordelia Tilley is the daughter of a Jewish mother and an Anglican father. Her mother has groomed her for a life in English society while her father, a tough publican, has shown no tolerance for his wife’s social climbing or the conceits of their perspicacious daughter. Cordelia’s mother dies from typhoid fever, she tries to run the family ‘s establishment, she falls prey to a local industrialist, she gives birth to a son, she is tormented by her husband and his family. Finally, she is rescued by suffragette friends and sets off to start a new life in London.The Cook’s Temptation is about a woman who is unpredictable, both strong and weak willed, both kind and heinous, victim and criminal. It is a genuine Victorian saga, full of detail, twists and turns, memorable scenes, full of drama and pathos.
Cordelia Tilley grew up in the English countryside, cooking with he mother at the Devil's Stone Inn. Her mother, a French Jew has passed on to Cordelia the love and ability to cook French Cuisine as well as some Jewish customs, which are still not welcome in Victorian England. Cordelia sees herself as the future cook at the Inn. However, when a typhoid epidemic sweeps through, Cordelia and her mother become ill. Cordelia survives and continues to carry out cooking for the Inn, when more and more people fall ill after eating at the Inn, people begin to suspect Cordelia as the cause. To escape the blame, Cordelia agrees to marry Frederick Wendice, a higher class, well-off, industrialist from London. Cordelia believes that she will be able to climb the social ladder and fulfill the dream of running her own kitchen. Her husband has other, more heinous plans for Cordelia though.
A story of delicious revenge...I didn't really know what to expect with this book, but I am very glad that I read it. A curious tale with many hidden layers and unseen twists, I became entwined within Cordelia's tale. Through her struggles, Cordelia became a character that I connected with and wanted to see come out on top, no matter through what means she reached her goal. She is strong-willed and determined, although she does not always make the best choices in life. Through emotionally packed writing, Joyce Wayne sucked me in. I wanted to see Cordelia come out on top even if it was not by the best means. There were many wonderful quotes throughout, but here were a few that really spoke to me
Along with the strange Frederick Wendice and the intriguing Polly, Cordelia's story is absolutely absorbing. This book took on many issues of the time. I enjoy learning about history in my historical fiction and this novel took on not only the typhoid epidemic and medical treatment at the time, but also the treatment of those of Jewish Heritage in Victorian England and the treatment of women, some of which was reminiscent of The Yellow Wallpaper.
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Joyce Wayne has an MA in English literature, has taught journalism at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario, for twenty-five years, and lives in Toronto, Ontario. She was a winner of the Diaspora Dialogues contest for fiction and the Fiona Mee Award for literary journalism. She is the co writer of the documentary film So Far From Home (2010), a film about refugee journalists persecuted for their political views, and various of her other works have been published in Parchment, Golden Horseshoe Anthology, Canadian Voices, and TOK6.
For more information please visit Joyce Wayne’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. She is happy to participate in Books Clubs by phone and Skype.