When Beth Crowe starts university, she is shadowed by the ghost of her potential as a competitive swimmer. Free to create a fresh identity for herself, she finds herself among people who adore the poetry of her grandfather, Benjamin Crowe, who died tragically before she was born. She embarks on a secret relationship – and on a quest to discover the truth about Benjamin and his widow, her beloved grandmother Lydia. The quest brings her into an archive that no scholar has ever seen, and to a person who knows things about her family that nobody else knows.
Holding Her Breath is a razor-sharp, moving and seriously entertaining novel about complicated love stories, ambition and grief – and a young woman coming fully into her powers.
Eimear Ryan’s writing has appeared in Granta, Winter Papers, The Dublin Review and The Stinging Fly. She is the 2021 Writer in Residence at University College Cork. She is a co-founder of the literary journal Banshee and its publishing imprint, Banshee Press. A native of Co. Tipperary, Eimear now lives in Cork city.