By: Niamh Boyce
Genre: Historical fiction
Description: Out of nowhere the herbalist appears and sets up his stall in the market square . . . In this dull midlands town the exotic stranger brings glamour and excitement. The townspeople call him The Don and with his potions and lotions he seems to have a cure for all that ails them. Teenager Emily is enchanted. In the herbalist she sees a Clark Gable to her Jean Harlow, a Fred to her Ginger - a man to make her forget her lowly status in this place where respectability is everything. But Emily has competition for the herbalist's attentions. The women of the town - the women from the big houses and their maids, the shopkeepers and their serving girls, those who oblige the town's men sexually and their pious sisters who turn a blind eye - all seem mesmerised by this visitor who, they say, can perform miracles. Rumours swirl and the herbalist thrives. Emily may be ignorant and full of foolish dreams, but she has a fierce sense of right and wrong. And by the end of that summer she has discovered the dark side of the herbalist. But how big a sacrifice is she prepared to make to force him to pay for his sins against the women of the town? The Herbalistis a deeply moving and viscerally powerful novel about the lives of women in 1930s Ireland. It is a dazzling and unforgettable story of love, shame, hypocrisy and courage.