JOHN SATURNALL’S FEAST, by Lawrence Norfolk

England, 1625: the rise of fundamentalist Protestants (with all the nasty attributes all fundamentalists seem to have) as the dissolute Catholic court reels from one extravagance to another. But in the village of Buckland, excesses of another sort: accusations of witchcraft against John Sandall’s mother. Fleeing to the forest, they subsist on foraged foods, and his mother reads to her son from her precious book. Stories of feasts, memories of taste, the lore of the kitchen and of ingredients. In the winter, his mother dies, and young John is on his own. A luscious, sumptuous, delicious, heartbreaking, marvelous novel by the author of The Pope’s Rhinoceros. A 5+. Book groups should eat this up, ha ha, and foodies ought to love it, too.