August’s Reader’s Corner recommendation comes from Tidewater Books in Sackville, NB
Keeper of Tides
by Beatrice MacNeil,
9781550814835, 240 pp.
Breakwater Books, March 2014
Ninety-two year old Ivadoile Spears struggles with dementia and fading memory. Owner of the Tides Inn, where so many have stayed with her over the years, she returns again and again to memories of those who played such an important role in her life, struggling to hold onto them. Themes of love and sexuality, loss and aging will generate lively book club discussions. Lyrical, moving and deeply touching, Beatrice MacNeil has created a character brimming with love and loss.
~Ellen Pickle, owner of Tidewater Books in Sackville, NB
Acclaim for Keeper of Tides
Beatrice MacNeil’s Keeper of Tides creaks into being amid poetic imagery of an aging inn, its overgrown garden, and its 92-year-old owner’s box of photographs filled with the curious, the interesting, and the oddities of lives that have ebbed and flowed through Ivadoire Spears’ Tides Inn. MacNeil’s delightful power of unexpected imagery fuels a story diverse in characters whose lives have, at one time or another, lodged in the inn, bringing along in their luggage their own baggage ranging from steamy sexuality to those lost in liquor to those lost in their faith.
Yet the novel’s bedrock relationship is the unacknowledged friendship and mutual dependency between the cranky, demanding Ivadoile and her servient employee, Margaret, who help each other hobble into old age, each holding onto her own memories, her own secrets.
Beatrice MacNeil’s unique gift for storytelling animates the characters with a scalpel-like humour and humane sensitivity that make Keeper of Tides a living, breathing, riveting tale that takes almost a century to tell itself. This is a wonderful book by a unique writer that no reader will regret picking up.
~Frank Macdonald, author of A Possible Madness and A Forest for Calum
Beatrice MacNeil “takes you by the heart and gently pulls you along for the ride.”
~Stephen Clare, Quill & Quire
Beatrice MacNeil’s writing resembles painting, a beautifully textured, wondrously detailed painting, of absorbing incidents and characters so real and fresh that you feel you could turn a corner and bump into them in the midst of a quarrel, a cursing, a prayer, a kiss. MacNeil’s Cape Breton is a seductive, mysterious, pastoral, strange, Gothic, and violent redoubt of illicit lusts and proud blasphemies, magical faith and redemptive love.
~George Elliot Clarke, Poet Laureate and author of Execution Poems, winner of the 2002 Governor General’s Award for Poetry
Beatrice MacNeil has excelled herself with a moving, charming and deeply humane book. Keeper of Tides is filled with life, sensuality and quiet humour and her protagonist, the remarkable Ivadoile Spears, is a magnificent creature, beautifully rendered.
“[D]etailed and sensitive and rich with the ring of truth. Beatrice MacNeil is a splendid writer.”
About the author
Beatrice MacNeil is the bestselling author of Where White Horses Gallop, Butterflies Dance in the Dark, and The Moonlight Skater.
In 1999, she received the Tic Butler Award for outstanding contribution to Cape Breton writing and culture.