Miriam Hastings’ latest novel, The Dowager’s Dream, is available now in paperback from FeedARead Publishing. Also as an e-book on Kindle: The Dowager’s Dream.
In a crumbling mansion on the north coast of Scotland, the Dowager grows old; exiled there by her son, the Laird, she dreams of her girlhood and waits for death, but when the tenants keep talking of a monster in the sea, she becomes obsessed with the strange creature living in the bay beyond her windows.
The people claim the sea monster portends disaster and they are right for the Laird has grand plans to improve the estate. He intends to evict all the tenants from their crofts in order to turn the land over to an army of sheep.
Can the Dowager stand up to her unscrupulous son? If she does, she may have to pay a terrible price.
Walking Shadow, Miriam Hasting’s first historical novel, was published in November 2019 under the name of M W Hastings, and is available direct from FeedaRead Books as well as through Amazon. It is also available as an e-book on Kindle. This is a historical novel with profoundly modern themes: the fear of terrorism, political manipulation of information, and issues of religious fundamentalism and intolerance.
Edmund (aka Rosamund) Shakespeare, younger sibling of William and lead player of female roles with the King’s Men, is the narrator and central protagonist. When the novel opens, it is January 1606 and London is a dangerous place; the gunpowder plot has just been foiled, spies and informers are everywhere, and Edmund is a prisoner in the Tower, charged with treason.
Miriam’s first novel, winner of the MIND Book of the Year Award, is a present-day story with a legendary model. To the people of Crete, the Minotaur was traditionally a creature of darkness and horror. Locked in a labyrinth where no-one could see him, he became the scapegoat for everyone’s worst imaginable nightmares and terrors.
Chrissie and Rachel are Minotaurs. They meet in Bradley, a rambling Victorian institution for the mentally ill. As the novel unfolds and their respective stories are gradually revealed, their growing relationship becomes a rich source of shared experience and a focus for their deepening knowledge of themselves.
Some reviews of Miriam Hastings’ The Minotaur Hunt:
[An author] “of great talent and wit, the courage to lead us through purgatory and the tenderness to love and understand its inhabitants.” Monica Dickens.
“There are echoes of romantic fiction, but there is also a whiff of grim realism . . . Underlying the narrative is an impressive refusal to attempt glib explanations.” Bernard Ineichen.
“Miriam Hastings’ The Minotaur Hunt is an engrossing novel set in a mental health institution and in the minds of some of its patients. . .The positive portrayal is very well done, yet it does not pull any punches about the difficulties faced by those with serious mental illness”, Mercia McMahon.
“No matter how dark the labyrinthe of emotions, there is always redemption for the human condition, and this sensitivity to lightness, back-to-back with the darkness, is where Hastings’ writing is at its finest. It has the voice of authenticity.” Vine Voice.
“The Minotaur Hunt is beautifully written with an immediacy and urgency that has you turning the pages”, The Bub.
Miriam Hastings has recently completed a new novel, The Dowager’s Dream, 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.