This is the story of Isabel Stanhope, the daughter of a seventeenth-century English Catholic family, who becomes involved with the dangerous political and religious factions of the day. The novel is based in part on the true story of Mary Ward, one of the seventeenth century’s most adventurous, infuriating and inspirational women. Ward, who was the founder of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a lost feminist icon, a pioneer educationalist and an energetic advocate of the rights of women in a world where well-bred ladies were expected to remain silent and subservient.
After Mary is set in 1605 and delves into the hidden lives of the great Catholic families behind The Gunpowder Plot. Epic journeys, enigmatic Jesuit priests, treachery and heroism figure in this epic tale, but above all it is the story of astonishing women whose passionate pursuit of love and liberation is not even crushed by a cruel state or the monolithic Roman Catholic Church.
‘Katharine McMahon writes in a mellifluous, often poetic style and headily evokes the Jacobean age – to such a degree that I felt absorbed into Isabel’s world and the places where she lived.’
”A story of passion, power and dashed hopes. A tale to conjure with, down to its final twist.’
‘A highly absorbing, satisfying read. McMahon has created a rich central character in Isabel.’
DUBLIN EVENING HERALD