Paperback Edition Released for Perfect Summer Read.
Unmarried, childless and sickly, Ellen Hutchins was considered an ‘unsuccessful’ woman, dutifully bound to her family’s once grand and isolated estate, Ballylickey House in County Cork. And yet, by the time of her death in 1815, Ireland’s first female botanist, self-taught and determined to make her mark, had catalogued over a thousand species of seaweed and plants from her native Bantry Bay. In Marianne Lee’s remarkable debut novel, Ellen’s rich but tormented inner life is reclaimed from the repression by gender, class and politics of her time, stealing glimpses of the happiness and autonomy she could never quite articulate. As she reaches for meaning and expression through her work, the eruption of a long-simmering family feud and the rise of Ellen’s own darkness – her ‘quiet tide’ – threaten to destroy her already fragile future. A Quiet Tide is a life examined, a heart-breaking, haunting story that at last captures the essence and humanity of a long forgotten Irishwoman.