The Dowager’s Dream, the latest novel published by Miriam Hastings, is a surreal fantasy set on the north coast of Scotland at the time of the brutal clearances in the Scottish Highlands.  The novel was inspired by the (largely imagined) lives of Miriam’s great great-grandmothers, Margaret MacKenzie and Christine Patterson, and also by an account written in 1809 by a minister’s daughter, describing a mermaid she had seen in Sandside Bay, Caithness. Although The Dowager’s Dream is set in the early years of the 19th Century, the themes of dispossession and ethnic cleansing will resonate with the contemporary reader.