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It's 1939 and young Maeve O'Sullivan and her family are among the last inhabitants of a windswept island off the south coast of Ireland. After her father's death, Maeve finds herself the last inheritor of the old ways of healing. But the future beckons to Maeve with the arrival of Seamus, a handsome young medical student heading for Dublin. Maeve suddenly finds herself at a crossroads, torn between the pull of the past and the lure of the modern. Must she sacrifice one in order to accommodate the other?
St Brigid, patroness of poetry, craft and midwifery, hovers over this richly evocative story about the tension between progress and tradition. Timely and timeless, Kearney's novel offers sensual homage to a singular landscape brimming with a Gaelic wisdom about the natural world.