Viper Wine is muscularly-written, cheekily but deliberately anachronistic, painstakingly researched tale of Venetia Stanley, a great beauty of 17th-century England. It's a gorgeously-told page-turner full of invigorating language, a fascinating historical tale that deftly references modern ideas about beauty and relevance, and an unexpectedly touching story of vanity, decadence, and deceit.
Using an alchemy all of her own, Eyre's postmodern take on the 17th century renders it dazzlingly fresh andcontemporary. Guardian (UK) Venetia Stanley was the great beauty of her day, so dazzling she inspired Ben Jonson to poetry and Van Dyck to painting. But now she is married, the adoration to which she has become accustomed has curdled to scrutiny, and she fears her powers are waning. Her devoted husband, Sir Kenelm Digby explorer, diplomat, philosopher, alchemist refuses to prepare a beauty tonic for her, insisting on her continued perfection. Venetia, growing desperate, secretly engages an apothecary to sell her viper wine a strange potion said to bolster the blood and invigorate the skin. The results are instant, glorious, and addictive, and soon the ladies of the court of Charles I are looking unnaturally youthful. But there is a terrible price to be paid, as science clashes with magic, puritans rebel against the decadent monarchy, and England slides into civil war. Based on real events and written with anachronistic verve, Viper Wine is an intoxicating brew of love, longing and vanity, where the 17th and 21st centuries mix and mingle in the most enchanting and mind-bending ways.
About the Author
Hermione Eyre was born in London and studied at Oxford University. As a journalist she has interviewed Carey Mulligan, Juliette Binoche, Robert Pattinson, and Yo-Yo Ma, among others. She contributes to publications including The Times, The Independent, Financial Times, The London Evening Standard, Elle, Harper's Bazaar and Christies Magazine.Viper Wine is her first novel."