Twelve-year-old Ben has always felt that he was born into the wrong body. When Mary, his therapist, suggests hypsis as a way to help him understand why he doesn't identify as a boy, Ben finds himself the unlikely conduit for a herring girl called Annie, who lived over a century earlier in the same fishing port. Under the spell of hypsis, Annie comes alive through Ben, and with her the startling story of her life, and her mysterious death. As the events surrounding Annie's final days start to emerge - her secret affair with young fisherman Sam; the violent jealousy of his rival Tom; the pregnancy fears of her best friend Flo; the abject paraia of her brother Jimmy - both Ben and Mary find themselves embroiled in a puzzling saga from the past. And if - as psychoanalytic research suggests - souls tend to reincarnate in groups repeat-edly down the centuries, it could be that those close to Ben today were involved in the dramas of 1898, and a murderer could still be among them, waiting to strike again. Moving back and forth in time between 1898 and the present day, Herring Girl is an extraordinarily ambitious vel which evokes a long-vanished world and reveals how the secrets of our past hidden lives are never too far away.
Debbie Taylor is the founder and Editorial Director of Mslexia. She has worked as Editor at New Internationalist and Writing Women magazines and as a writer, research-er and project manager for many organisations, including Oxfam, Anti-Slavery, BBC 2, Channel 4, UNICEF and WHO. Her novels include The Fourth Queen and Hungry Ghosts. She lives in a decommissioned lighthouse at the mouth of the Tyne with her husband and daughter.