Sara Sheridan to give talk on Edinburgh-set historical novel at the Botanics
Sara Sheridan will give an afternoon talk as well as signing copies of her new book, The Fair Botanists, at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) on Sunday.
Set in 1822, the novel features the Botanics’ move from its location at Leith Walk to Inverleith.
The old whisky distillery on Glenogle Road, the Water of Leith and Tanfield all get a mention although most of the mischief occurs in the Botanics itself.
Edinburgh-based writer Sheridan has been writing both fiction and creative non-fiction for more than 20 years and has been named one of the Saltire Society’s 365 Most Influential Scottish Women past and present.
“Writing this book set in a key era in the history of my home town and having the opportunity to peer into the lives of some of people who lived here before me was a treat – especially the women,” says Sheridan.
“I wanted to create a romp that would intrigue the reader and reflect the hearty and exciting decade that drew the Enlightenment to a close with all its rambunctious pleasures and intellectual vigour.”
In the novel, newly widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband’s aunt and meets Belle Brodie, a vivacious young woman with a passion for the lucrative, dark art of perfume creation.
The two women bond over their shared interest in botany, although Belle is determined to keep both her real identity and the reason for her interest in the garden secret from her new friend.
Yet as Elizabeth and Belle are about to discover, secrets don’t last long in this Enlightenment city, and when they are revealed, they can carry the greatest of consequences.
Paula Bushell, Head of Marketing and Communications at the Botanics said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Sara and her reimaging of a time which was very significant for the Garden is fascinating and entertaining.
“It is true that, when the Garden moved location, large mature trees were transported across the city in a procession consisting of carts, horses and horticulturists, a spectacle that delighted the residents of Edinburgh.
“These facts, now merged with fiction and much plotting and mischief, will delight readers.”
Sara Sheridan, Science Buildings: Lecture Theatre @Royal Botanic Garden, Sunday 5 December, 2pm, tickets £5