Set during the Golden Age of Pirates and the shadowy aftermath of the Salem Witch Trials, Rachel Rueckert’s vivid literary debut is an alchemical blend of high-seas adventure, star-crossed longing, the captivating real life of pirate Sam Bellamy, and timeless questions about social justice and freedom,  stirred into the emotionally satisfying tale of a young woman’s determination to charter her own course . . .
1715, Eastham, Massachusetts: As the daughter of a wealthy family, Maria Brown has a secure future mapped out for her, yet it is not the future she wants. Young, headstrong, and restless, Maria has no desire to marry the aging, mean-spirited John Hallett, regardless of his fortune and her parents’ wishes. As for what Maria does want—only one person has ever asked her that question.
Samuel Bellamy, an orphaned sailor searching for work, meets Maria by chance, enthralling her with talk of far-flung places and blasphemous ideals. But neither is free from the social order into which they were born. When Sam is banished from Maria’s parents’ home after asking for her hand, he vows to return a wealthy man, and Maria promises to keep the faith until then.
Sam is drawn into piracy and discovers a brotherhood more equal and fulfilling than any on land, despite its dangers. Beguiled by the chance to both fight for justice and make a fortune to bring home to Maria, Sam is torn between duty to his crew and his desire to return. Maria is determined to stay strong in her conviction in Sam, but as rumors swirl and her position in Eastham turns perilous, Maria is forced into an impossible decision—
If The Tide Turns strips away kitschy, whitewashed portrayals of pirates and Colonial America while yanking Maria from the shadow of Sam Bellamy’s famed history to give her voice and agency. Its meticulously researched, authentic historical details fully bring the past into the present, as do the questions it demands we confront: How do we support—or suppress—women’s intuition? What does freedom mean? How rigid is economic mobility in reality? What does it look like to stand up to oppression? Is change really possible? Where does treasure truly lie for us at the end of the day?