Rachel Rueckert at Harvard Book Store


If the Tide Turns: A Novel

in conversation with MARIYA MANZHOS


March 27, 2024
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes RACHEL RUECKERT—award-winning writer, editor, and teacher—for a discussion of her debut novel If the Tide Turns. She will be joined in conversation by MARIYA MANZHOS—features writer for Deseret and co-founder of Kleio.

About If the Tide Turns

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 even 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. Separated by more than just the ocean, time slips by as Sam and Maria cling to their love for each other. 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.

Now, on a journey no less treacherous and eventful than Sam’s, Maria draws on every shred of her courage and resilience not merely to survive, but to honor her own yearning for freedom...

Praise for If the Tide Turns

"If the Tide Turns weaves together two fascinating worlds in a page-turning story of love, friendship, and self-discovery. It transports the reader to the time of witch trials and piracy, shrugging off popular caricatures and exploring real-life people—the hardships they faced and the hope that sustained them. A stirring and luminous read!" —Amanda Skenandore, author of The Nurse's Secret

"A delicious debut awash in lore and amazing historical detail, as wild and characteristically unpredictable as the sea that gives it life. Rachel Rueckert is a writer to be reckoned with. Maria and Sam's romantic travails grab you like a riptide and won't let go!" —V. S. Alexander, author of The Novelist from Berlin

Mask Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Mariya Manzhos
Mariya Manzhos

Mariya Manzhos

Mariya Manzhos is a Kyiv-born, Somerville-based journalist who writes about the complexities of communities and relationships. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Post Magazine, Slate, Deseret, The Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, Poynter, Business Insider, and a number of New England weeklies. Her essay on becoming a U.S. citizen was listed as a notable essay in the Best of American Essays 2022 anthology. She earned a master's in journalism from Boston University and is always on the lookout for good stories.

Rachel Rueckert
Rachel Rueckert

Rachel Rueckert

Rachel Rueckert is an award-winning writer, editor, and teacher who holds an MFA from Columbia University and an M.Ed. from Boston University. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Independent, and The Salt Lake Tribune, as well as literary journals such as River Teeth, The Maine Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and others. On her first visit to Provincetown, Massachusetts, she learned about the true story of Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and Samuel Bellamy and vowed to write their stories, returning to Cape Cod again and again over the years for research and freedom in the shape of solace. She splits her time between Salt Lake City and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and If the Tide Turns is her debut novel.

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1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

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