16 April 2014, The Tablet

Viper Wine

by Hermione Eyre

Novel of the week

Reviewed by Clarissa BurdenJONATHAN CAPE, 448pp, £14.99 Tablet bookshop price £13.50 Tel 01420 592974 Has there ever been a time when women have not yearned to be beautiful and have not had recourse to unguents, creams and potions of all kinds in pursuit of that elusive goal? Certainly in 1632, the year in which Hermione Eyre’s clever, lively and playful novel Viper Wine is set, its heroine will do anything to reverse the ageing process. Venetia Stanley is a famous beauty who has become terrified of losing her looks. Bored with her circumscribed life as a wife and mother, she begins to focus on the importance of beauty in women, particularly in herself. When her adoring husband, Sir Kenelm Digby, an energetic traveller, courtier, alchemist, natural scientist and sometim
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