The Fair Botanists: Could one rare plant hold the key to a thousand riches?

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Hodder & Stoughton, Aug 5, 2021 - Fiction - 384 pages

'Compelling, fascinating . . . A cracking good read'
Val McDermid

'Lush, seductive and scandalous'
Daily Mail

'Dazzling, original, full of wonderful characters'
Katie Fforde

'Beautiful . . . Every sentence is a gift'
Miranda Dickinson

'Highly recommended'
Fiona Valpy

'Beguiles in all the senses'
Sarah Maine


Could one rare plant hold the key to a thousand riches?

It's the summer of 1822 and Edinburgh is abuzz with rumours of King George IV's impending visit. In botanical circles, however, a different kind of excitement has gripped the city. In the newly-installed Botanic Garden, the Agave Americana plant looks set to flower - an event that only occurs once every few decades.

When newly widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband's aunt Clementina, she's determined to put her unhappy past in London behind her. As she settles into her new home, she becomes fascinated by the beautiful Botanic Garden which borders the grand house and offers her services as an artist to record the rare plant's impending bloom. In this pursuit, she meets Belle Brodie, a vivacious young woman with a passion for botany and the lucrative, dark art of perfume creation.

Belle is determined to keep both her real identity and the reason for her interest the Garden secret from her new friend. But as Elizabeth and Belle are about to discover, secrets don't last long in this Enlightenment city . . .

And when they are revealed, they can carry the greatest of consequences.

'Perfectly paced, romantic and full of intrigue. A truly wonderful story' Vikki Patis

'A vibrant, evocative novel about female friendship, empowerment and transformation' Nikki Marmery

'A fascinating and beautiful evocation of Edinburgh. I didn't want it to end' Elisabeth Gifford

'A seductive and sensual novel from a writer at the height of her powers. Captured my senses, and my heart' Essie Fox

'Immersive and engaging. A cleverly crafted novel offering a heady mix of secrets, intrigue, skulduggery and romance. I couldn't put it down!' Anita Frank

'Historical fiction at its best, full of atmosphere, with beautifully drawn characters and a thoroughly intriguing story' Frances Quinn

'Evocative and sumptuously imagined. I was intoxicated! A feast for the senses, The Fair Botanists is dazzling' Celia Reynolds

'There's no enlightenment without enlightening women, and Sara Sheridan gives us two great ones to reckon with in Belle and Elizabeth. The Fair Botanists gives us a glimpse into the complex life of Edinburgh in the 1820's with joyous female characters at the heart of the story' Annie Garthwaite

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About the author (2021)

Sara Sheridan is an Edinburgh-based writer of over 20 books including cosy crime noir mysteries set in 1950s Britain and historical novels based on the real-life stories of late Georgian and early Victorian explorers. She has also written non-fiction, as well as books for children.

Sara has been named one of the Saltire Society's 365 most influential Scottish women, past and present.

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