Merel is ecstatic when she is finally given permission to disappear into the forest with her sketchbook. She finds peace from her demanding mistress and the space to think freely. A murmuration of starlings disturbs her stolen moments, and becomes an omen for the dark days that follow.
Merel is torn between her growing love for the Tynan, the estate’s horse marshal, her ties of loyalty to the mistress of the castle, and her desire to forge her own path. When the castle comes under siege from the MacCarthy clan.
Merel’s story is about a young woman’s journey of self-discovery, but it is also about her struggle to reconcile the competing loyalties in her life. It is about convincing others to trust her abilities and finding the inner strength to have faith in her own resilience and tenacity.
Set against the backdrop of 17th century Ireland, the plot delves into the social and political intricacies of a divided landscape. It uses the alternating narratives of Merel and Tynan to explore how warfare, rebellion and tumult affect the lives of everyday people.
This was an unputdownable, fascinating dive into a historical era and situation that has been obscured.