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 . . .
'Dazzling, original, full of wonderful characters' Katie Fforde
'An absolute treat for fans of historical fiction and rich storytelling' Red Magzine
'Lively and generous-hearted, with an array of utterly engaging characters, this enchanting novel reads like a warm tonic for the soul' Mary Paulson-Ellis
'As rare and lush as the Agave flower itself, The Fair Botanists is a richly realised, transportive delight' Rachel Rhys
'Beautiful . . . Every sentence is a gift. If you love The Doll Factory or The Binding, you'll love this' Miranda Dickinson
'Delightfully original, sensuous historical fiction, led by a charge of female characters as captivating and complex as the brightest of botanical flowers' Cari Thomas