Following the deaths of her last living relatives, Hetty Deveraux leaves her strained marriage behind in London and returns to her ancestral home, a crumbling estate in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, with the intention of renovating and reselling it as a hotel, much to the dismay of the locals. As she dives headfirst into the repairs, she discovers human remains beneath a rotting floorboard in the basement, with few physical clues to identify the body. Who was this person? And why the makeshift grave? Hungry for answers, Hetty sets out to unravel the estate’s secret—and those of its former inhabitants, including Beatrice Blake, a woman who moved there a century ago with her husband Theo, a famous painter who seemed to be more interested in Cameron, a young local man, than his own wife.
Sometimes, a book has seemingly all the ingredients to become a favorite of yours, but it simply doesn’t work. When I came across The House Between Tides I was super excited to dive into it (then again, when am I not excited?), as they said it was perfect for readers of Rebeca and Kate Morton. I love Rebeca and I’m a fan of all Kate Morton’s novels (the last one wasn’t as good, though), so what could possibly go wrong?
The book is very well-written, so it’s not that kind of issue, I just didn’t connect at all with the story or the characters. However, Sarah Maine is a great writer and creates a fascinating and eerie atmosphere, the kind of place that would be perfect for a great mystery.
The House Between Tides features a dual narration, with Hettie in 2010 and Beatrice in 1910. Beatrice inherits the Muirlan house where Theo Blake used to live. In 1910, Blake, a promising painter happily married to Beatrice, brings his wife to his childhood home, hoping that she loves it as much as he does. Meanwhile, in the present, someone’s body is found hidden in the old house… Who is it?
I know, this sounds super interesting, that’s why I’m so sorry I didn’t like it that much. At first, I just thought it would be one of those books where you need to be patient because the good stuff comes later and the ending will be powerful and emotional. So I kept waiting and waiting, reading chapter after another although I knew I wasn’t enjoying it like I should. In the end, I felt like the book was too long.
The final chapters weren’t very surprising and I think most readers could’ve figured out where the story would go. And yes, I know that reading a book is all about the journey, not just the ending, but I was hoping for a great conclusion that would make up for the rest, an ending that would leave a good impression.
As for the characters, Beatrice was kind of dull and I surely didn’t like Hettie at all. I loved Cameron (the one from the past) because he reminded me of Tom Branson from Downton Abbey (idealist, stubborn, kind) but he was the only one I found interesting. The other characters weren’t really present and the relationship between Theo and Beatrice wasn’t as compelling as I would’ve wanted from a story like this one.
I usually enjoy the books that I choose to read, so I’m very sad when a novel doesn’t grab me as I thought it would. And please, keep in mind that this is only me, as I’ve read plenty of other bloggers stating that they loved this book a lot. I just had to be honest.
I hope that you’ll enjoy it more if you decide to read it.
Freight Books, 2016
I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.