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The Spice Merchant's Wife Paperback – 1 Aug 2013

38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus (1 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749959274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749959272
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,010,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charlotte Betts began her working life as a fashion designer in London. A career followed in interior design, property management and lettings.

Always a bookworm, Charlotte discovered her passion for writing after her three children and two step-children had grown up. The Apothecary's Daughter is her debut novel and won the YouWriteOn Book of the Year in 2010, the Romantic Novelists' Association Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers in 2011 and the RoNA's Historical Category award for 2013. The sequel, The Painter's Apprentice was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the Festival of Romance's Best Historical Read Award in 2012. The Spice Merchant's Wife was published in 2013 and won the Festival of Romance's Best Historical Read Award in 2013.



Product Description

Review

Perfectly hits the spot . . . Charlotte Betts has clearly established a niche for herself, combining history with a dash of adventure (Newbury Weekly News) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The stunning third novel from award-winning historical fiction author, Charlotte Betts, opening in 1666 and continuing for the year or two after the Great Fire, whilst the devastated city is being rebuilt.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Callejo Paterson on 11 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
It was not only beautifully written and researched, but the story and characters were addictive. The setting became alive in my mind through her beautiful descriptions, that had the right amount of details to make you feel the period without drowning you in information on the period. The characters were so real that I felt every single emotion the heroine felt, and even shed tears at some point. The way the author pictured the atmosphere and feelings of the time made the reader empathise with all the victims of the fire in London and it has been haunting me ever since. I was gripped by the hardships the heroine lived through and the excitement in the story. And then of course, there was the heartbreaking and uplifting love story that kept my heartbeat racing until the end.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. M. G. Powling on 17 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
London during and after the Great Fire is the setting for this third novel by Charlotte Betts, and to my mind her best to date. We are taken into the home of the wealthy spice merchant's wife's family, with their fine furnishings, lustrous materials and servants. But when the Great Fire destroys not only the spice merchant's home but his warehouse, and the family watches their wealth go up in smoke, like so many thousands of Londoners they are, at a stroke, destitute. The story that follows - for the Great Fire is but the beginning - is totally believable and extremely well written, with descriptions of everything from everyday life in Restoration kitchens and boudoirs, to the underhand and extremely dangerous pursuits of some of the speculative builders of the time. Add murder to the story, and you have suspense. Of perfume, perhaps the strongest element of this story, I shall say not one word. I'd not want to spoil it for you. I do hope that Charlotte Betts remains in Restoration England for her next novel, perhaps even to continue the story of the spice merchant's wife. One of the best books I have read this year, without a shadow of a doubt. I use the word "shadow" advisedly. Read the book and you will find out why.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hellvis on 16 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought The Spice Merchant's Wife after reading The Apothecary's Daughter (also by Charlotte Betts). The research put into these books is phenomenal and really brings the streets of bygone London to life. Throughout the duration of this book, I laughed and cried, but most of all I fell in love with both Mistress Finche and Mr Harte.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Janet Allsop on 23 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Charlotte Betts. It is the fourth of hers that I have read now. Each one very enjoyable. I would recommend it to anyone who likes stories with historical backgrounds.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hana on 1 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved this, made me cry in parts but the story line is very good. Loveable characters and loathsome characters, fantastic read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniella on 23 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed The Spice Merchant's Wife! Charlotte Betts has a way with words that enables me to get thoroughly lost in the story line and the lives of the characters therein. It's the sort of book that I can't put down, and despite wanting to get to the end to see what happens, I was undoubtedly sad to reach the end and not have another chapter to look forward to. I guess I shall have to find another of Betts' books to occupy these wintery evenings now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Clare O'Beara TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This story hinges around the Great Fire of London in 1666. The devastation over several days wrecks the family life and prospects of a young wife, Mistress Kate Finche.

Kate's dowry and her new family's fortune had been invested in spices from the east, and the riverside warehouse is destroyed. I would have liked to see more about the spice trade but as it is, the ruined husband has to work as a clerk, then gets taken on by a land speculator and builder.

The story then shows the gradual redevelopment of the city over the next couple of years. The builder is one of those corner-cutting, fast-coin making builders we all love to hate. Based on a personality of the times, Hackett is also unpleasant and unscrupulous in his personal life. When Kate is unexpectedly widowed, Hackett makes her an offer she wants to refuse. She ends up hiding from him in the House of Perfume, which had been untouched by the blaze, where a blind perfumier and his wife and son give her shelter. She's still in peril though, for more than one reason.

I enjoyed the storytelling and historical details. Sadly the author notes that she had to cut out a lot - which I probably would have enjoyed reading - to make the story flow faster. The Great Fire and its causes are well described, with a mention of plague in the city beforehand. The debtors' prison is indeed an awful place and sounds like other mentions of it which I have read. Unable to earn to pay their debts, the imprisoned were dependent on their families to pay their creditors. Perfume was popular (along with pomanders and nosegays of flowers) because people did not wash.

If you enjoy a historical romance with strong characters and a vibrant background, give THE SPICE MERCHANT'S WIFE a try. You'll like it and learn a lot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Petal on 5 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
The Spice Merchant's wife follows the life of character Kate Finche. Coming through a cruel upbringing, she finally feels that her luck has changed when she meets her husband, Robert, and settles down to married life. However, the Great Fire of London sees their business and home consumed by flames and they are forced to find alternative jobs and a new home. Robert's new employer isn't all he appears though, and troubles lie ahead.

Simmering in the background is Kate's friendship with blind perfumer Gabriel Harte and his family, who take her under their wing.

Rich in historical detail, I really enjoyed the depiction of life during and after The Great Fire. Gabriel Harte's character was intriguing, and although the outcome of the story was fairly easy to guess, it was an entertaining read to reach it.
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