Marianne Lee A Quiet Tide


Code 9781848408586

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At the time of her death in 1815, twenty-nine-year-old Ellen Hutchins had catalogued over a thousand species of seaweed and plants from her native Bantry Bay. Ireland’s first female botanist, Ellen was a major contributor to nineteenth-century scientific discovery. And yet, like so many brilliant women lost in history,it is her personal story that will resonate today.

In her remarkable debut novel, Marianne Lee fuses fact with fiction to imagine Ellen’s rich but tormented inner life, repressed by the gender and class confines of her time. Unmarried, childless and sickly, Ellen is considered an ‘unsuccessful’ woman, dutifully bound to her family’s once grand and isolated estate, Ballylickey House. Still, she glimpses a happiness and autonomy she can never quite articulate as she reaches for meaning and expression, until the eruption of a long-simmering family feud and the rise of Ellen’s own darkness – her ‘quiet tide’ – will conspire to destroy her fragile future.

A Quiet Tide is a life examined, a heartbreaking, inspiring story that at last captures the essence and humanity of a long-forgotten Irishwoman.

This elegant and intelligent debut is beautifully written with style and empathy by Marianne Lee and captures the essence and humanity of a long-forgotten Irishwoman.

‘A beautiful, elegantly written novel about the tangled roots of family and the pursuit of singular passions. Marianne Lee is a new literary star.’ Nuala O’Connor,author of Miss Emily and Becoming Belle.

About the Author

Marianne  says:-

For many years I’ve worked as a designer and copywriter; the skills I’ve learned crafting image and language have culminated in my heading in an exciting new direction – writing fiction.

I grew up in Tullamore, Co. Offaly and now live in Dublin. Along the way I gained a first class honours Degree in Visual Communications from the National College of Art and Design and an M Phil in Creating Writing from Trinity College Dublin. Writing poetry for my M Phil led to a period of songwriting, and a couple of my demos were played on BBC 6 ‘Introducing’ by Tom Robinson. Songwriting opened up my mind to the possibilities of metaphor and wordplay; over time I began experimenting with longer prose pieces, short stories, a children’s book.

When I came across the story of a 19th century botanist (more on her later), I became captivated and immediately thought, ‘I want to describe this world.’ How to do it? I believe in jumping in the deep end (creatively, at least, I’m scared of water any higher than my chin); after months of research, I began, one word, sentence, paragraph, page at a time.

‘A Quiet Tide’ is Marianne's debut novel.

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An exemplary act of literary ventriloquism ... In Lee’s adroitly evocative reimagining of Ellen’s life, women are cloistered by conventions &
captured ... Lee strikes me as a . . . writer of substance & intelligence, declining the embellishments of linguist pyrotechnics, unafraid to let her tale unfold at its own pace. She is canny in what she puts in & wise in what she leaves out, so that Ellen’s fate haunts the reader.

Though set in the past, the themes of her debut have a modern feel, none more so than in Ellen’s attempts to establish herself in a male-dominated field. Her struggle for autonomy and equality is clear, and though Ellen achieves much, one is left wondering by the end of the book just how much more would have been possible were she given the same opportunities as her brothers.

Early in life, Ellen’s headmistress gives her some advice on her restless spirit. “You must strive to curb it. Accept what is around you. Do not fight.” Lee’s novel beautifully captures the quiet resistance by one noteworthy Irish woman against this damning advice.


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