Maria McCann’s literary debut novel AS MEAT LOVES SALT is a study of obsession and sexual jealousy set against the painstakingly researched backdrop of the English Civil War. The hero is Jacob
Cullen and we witness the effects of his destructive behaviour on others as, soldier, brother, member of a Digger colony, husband - and lover of another man. A brutal, earthy and captivating
read. Flamingo W/Eng Lang Feb 2001. USA: Harcourt Brace, Germany: Econ & List 2001. Translation rights - Marsh Agency.
Maria's second novel THE WILDING, also set in the 17th Century, was published by Faber. It was longlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize and went on to be a featured book in the 2010 Richard and
In THE WILDING Maria returns to 17th Century England, where life is struggling to return to normal after the horrific tumult of the Civil War. But the scars of bloody internescine conflict still fester,
and past jealousies, infidelities and terrible acts of filial betrayal cast a black stain over hopes for the future.
In the village of Spadboro Jonathan Dymond, an apple-presser who lives with his parents, enjoys a quiet, harmonious existence. As the novel opens he has just returned from a wedding, utterly unaware that the afterglow of festivity and celebration is about to be clouded by the arrival of a letter from his uncle with a desperate request to speak with his father. But when his father returns from the visit the next day, all he can say is that Jonathan’s uncle has died. It is only when Jonathan finds the merest fragment of a letter in the family orchard, with talk of inheritance and vengeance, that his nightmare begins.
Why is the beggar-woman so brutally abused by Jonathan’s Aunt Harriet? What should he make of the beautiful but distant maidservant Tamar? And what death-bed revelation was his uncle so determined to make at any cost? Resolving to unravel the mystery that has wrapped itself around his family, Jonathan disturbs secrets that have lain dormant since the Civil War, but which now unleash obsessions and madness that threaten the lives and happiness of Jonathan and all those he holds dear.
THE WILDING is a ceaselessly compelling and powerful novel of family secrets, casual violence, explosive passions and love at the end of its tether
Maria's third novel also published by Faber is ACE, KING, KNAVE.
London, 1760s. A city whose veneer of genteel civility is cracking from the hypocrisy and violence bubbling underneath - and where two women are about to discover what really lies beneath their own lives.
In her cramped rooms, Betsy-Ann shuffles a pack of cards. A gambler, a dealer in gin and stolen goods, and living with a grave robber, she knows there's no honour amongst thieves but desperately wants to make a fresh start.
Sophia, sitting in her Bath parlour, is newly married to the charismatic Edward. Shy and demure, she can hardly believe her luck, especially since she is hiding 'a little weakness', one she is determined to conquer.
When both women uncover horrifying secrets about the men they thought they knew, their lives interweave through a dramatic series of events. Who will come up trumps?
Ace, King, Knave is a rich and involving novel of deception, power, sex and gambles of many kinds, and an unforgettable portrait of eighteenth-century England.