''My mother was never easy in the world of houses. She was a tinker, a traveler girl who had married a wealthy man. Her name was Agatha Sheehy....There are silences all around my mother's story.''
So begins The Nature of Water and Air, set on a patch of Irish coast where, amid a flurry of whispers, we meet Agatha's only surviving daughter, Clodagh. Determined to secure her mother's elusive love and the truth about her, Clodagh is swept into a relationship with a handsome, isolated man. He brings her to the heart of her mother's story, where she must confront the questions ''Does a truth change love?'' and ''What madness will come from chasing a secret?''
Powerfully sensitive, this startling debut novel about forbidden love will place Regina McBride among our most celebrated novelists.