The Sight of Heather
By Ally Stirling
By Ally Stirling
Publication Date: September 15th, 2023
Publisher: Author Ally Stirling
Page Length: 338 Pages
Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction / Scottish Folklore
For centuries, the fae folk and spae women of Scotland were feared – and persecuted.
Life in the 1800s countryside, with its unforgiving climate, was both magnificent and harsh – testing cultures, beliefs and the loyalties of crofters.
The first in this series, The Sight of Heather, begins a journey of allegiance, sacrifice, and fortitude in a land of bold, resilient women.
Jessie’s ideal life spirals when she learns she is a first daughter in a biological line of ‘spaes’ endowed with unique gifts of spiritual sight and healing, aided by powerful ancestral stones.
Backed by a vindictive priest intent on charging Jessie with murder and witchcraft, the new owner of the Cruachan Manor plots to rout the spaes and destroy their beloved forest.
Despite grave warnings and family conflict, Jessie determinedly pursues her skills and powers, plunging her family and village into danger.
Resolute in uplifting her fellow women, Jessie consults her stones.
Faced with those who deem her evil, she must choose to relinquish her craft, or sacrifice herself to protect her culture and kin – and Lily, the next first daughter – the future of the spaes.
Her mind emptied as she breathed in the aroma of white heather still hanging in the air from making Jessie’s dress. The stones warmed. Sitting cross-legged, she let her body sway before slipping into weightlessness. Time stood still as her surroundings melted into the dark, allowing her mind to travel. An indeterminate time passed before she opened her eyes, returned both stones to their bag, wrapped the tartan knot in brown paper with a sprig of the white heather from Jessie’s bouquet, then packed both away. After pushing the chest back to its place under the bed, she changed into her nightclothes, climbed into bed, blew out the candle, then prayed to her guides … before crying herself to sleep.
Ally Stirling is a Fiction writer of Scottish origin, currently living in Cape Town with her Braveheart husband, awesome children, the happiest dog in the world, and her menacing cat (aka 'Devil Cat').
An unexpected gift resulting in a prophetic message prompted Ally to give her passion for writing the time it demanded, and in 2018 she joined Cathy Eden's Working with Words writers group. She credits the love, support, and inspiration of this group of talented women, her 'writing tribe' for encouraging her to put words on paper. She also joined (ROSA,) and while Romance is not her genre, this association has been an invaluable source of knowledge and insight into the indie publishing world.
Allowing her imagination freedom to roam resulted in various short stories, before one in particular rooted itself, evolving into her first full-length novel. This book has now become first in a series, with the second and third ready to follow, four and five in the planning stage. Who knew her characters would be so demanding.
Her love of writing fiction stems from her belief that it transports us to magical places when life gets too real.
Addicted to her friends, coffee, every colour of wine, and any type of chocolate, she describes her clan as the family and friends who have built her castle and keep her sane, without whom she'd be short on humour and drinking games.
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