“These are the Tidelands: half tide, half land, good for nothing.”
On Sealsea Island, England, in 1648, Alinor is only twenty-seven. Her husband has either run off with their small fishing boat—or died at sea. She has two children: thirteen-year-old Alys and twelve-year-old Rob. Alinor also has the “sight” like her mother and grandmother before her. Alinor is struggling to make ends meet by working as a freelance herbalist and midwife, when she meets a strange man in churchyard at midnight. There is an immediate connection between them. But the man is a priest from the exiled Catholic church. She lets Father James sleep in her shed, feeds him her own breakfast, and helps him get to the local Lord’s Priory. In return, she is well-paid and her son is given a job as a companion to the Lord’s son. So why does she continue to think about the young Priest?
It is a dangerous time in England. Parliament has overthrown King Charles, who was allowing the Catholic Church back into England. The King is exiled. Armies from Scotland, Wales and Ireland are being raised to fight on one side or the other. At the same time, women, especially without husbands, are being accused of witchcraft.
This is an excessively long, but intriguing, historical fiction about a largely untold era from a female perspective. The history within Tidelands was the best part in my opinion. If you want to see how far women have come, this is an empowering read. My sole complaint was the immediate attraction between Alinor and Father James went largely unexplained. For two people with very good reasons to remain celibate, I needed a bit more of a rationale. However, still a good read. 3.5 stars!
Thanks to Washington Square Books, Atria Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.