From the internationally bestselling author of The Wedding Officer comes a novel whose stunning blend of exotic adventure and erotic passion will intoxicate every reader who tastes of its remarkable delights.
When a woman gives a man coffee, it is a way of showing her desire.
It was a cup of coffee that changed Robert Wallis’s life—and a cup of very bad coffee at that. The impoverished poet is sitting in a London coffeehouse contemplating an uncertain future when he meets Samuel Pinker. The owner of Castle Coffee offers Wallace the very last thing a struggling young artiste in fin de siècle England could possibly want: a job.
But the job Wallis accepts—employing his palate and talent for words to compose a “vocabulary of coffee” based on its many subtle and elusive flavors—is only the beginning of an extraordinary adventure in which Wallis will experience the dizzying heights of desire and the excruciating pain of loss. As Wallis finds himself falling hopelessly in love with his coworker, Pinker’s spirited suffragette daughter Emily, both will discover that you cannot awaken one set of senses without affecting all the others.
Their love is tested when Wallis is dispatched on a journey to North Africa in search of the legendary Arab mocca . As he travels to coffee’s fabled birthplace—and learns the fiercely guarded secrets of the trade—Wallis meets Fikre, the defiant, seductive slave of a powerful coffee merchant, who serves him in the traditional Abyssinian coffee ceremony. And when Fikre dares to slip Wallis a single coffee bean, the mysteries of coffee and forbidden passion intermingle…and combine to change history and fate.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Various Flavors of Coffee|
|Release Date: 08-26-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The Various Flavors of Coffee
Who is he, this young man who strolls toward us down Regent Street, a carnation in his collar and a cane in his hand? We may deduce that he is well off, since he is dressed in the most fashionable clothes—but we would be wrong; we may deduce that he likes fine things, since he stops to look in the window of Liberty, the new department store devoted to the latest styles—or is that simply his own reflection he is admiring, the curling locks that brush his shoulders, quite unlike the other passersby? We may deduce that he is hungry, since his footsteps speed up noticeably as they take him toward the Cafe Royal, that labyrinth of gossip and dining rooms off Piccadilly; and that he is a regular here, from the way he greets the waiter by name, and takes a Pall Mall Gazette from the rack as he moves toward a table. Perhaps we may even conclude that he is a writer, from the way he pauses to jot something down in that calfskin-leather pocket-book he carries.
Come along; I am going to introduce you. Yes, I admit it—I know this ludicrous young man, and soon you will know him, too. Perhaps after an hour or two in his company you will consider you know him a little too well. I doubt that you will like him very much: that is of no consequence, I do not like him very much myself. He is—well, you will see what he is. But perhaps you may be able to see past that, and imagine what he will become. Just as coffee does not reveal its true flavor until it has been picked, husked, roasted and brewed, so this particular specimen has one or two virtues to go along with his vices, although you may have to look a little harder to spot them. . . . Despite his