Sunday, 14 October 2012

I have just had to sit down and finish Secrets of the Tides by Hannah Richell

Writing experts are always telling us to write about what we know, and Hannah Richell has done just that in her compelling  first novel, Secrets of the Tides which is set in her beloved Dorset where she spent many childhood holidays with her family. This is quite poignant as she now lives in Sydney, and it's a long way to come back to visit her favourite spot on the south coast!
That is as far as the familiar goes in this story about a family tragedy which takes place on the last day of the summer holidays and plunges the Tide's into ten years of of guilt and regret for the events of that day.
The plot follows Helen, the mother, and Cassie and Dora, her daughters, as they come to terms with the tragedy. This may sound a little heavy, but Hannah tells the story with such compassion, that you feel for each of them as the years go by.
Centre to it all is Clifftops, the house which belonged to Richard, the father's, parents which sets the scene for the story and acts as a background through the years, and the Dorset coastline which is described in much detail, and illustrated at the end of the book with the author's notes.
The only quibble that I have with the book is that it switches backwards and forwards through time, which made me feel a little dizzy until I was able to begin to build up the story, however, this method acts as a teaser to make you keep reading!
So all in all, I loved it and as I said in the title to this blog, I just had to sit down and finish it!
Have you read a book recently that has had that effect on you?


  1. Nice post! It's funny, I haven't read the book but my first reaction was that the cover looked a lot 'frothier' than the story appeared from your review. Would you agree? That got me thinking about an absolute page-turner which I couldn't put down but would never have bought if it hadn't been recommended - as the cover smacked of chic-lit which isn't really my thing. It's Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, a love story based on a theme of disability and it had me crying and laughing but best of all, had me guessing until the end. So yes, that's my recommendation! A couple of others I've loved lately are Defending Jacob by William Landay and A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvette Edwards.

  2. Yes, I agree, Jaxbee. The cover makes the story look rather cosy, doesn't it? Which it definitely is not! I also agree about Me Before You which I've reviewed here recently on this blog. The cover doesn't do it justice either or prepare you for the emotional story. I suppose they do it to attract the bigger market of chic-lit lovers.
    Thanks for your suggestions, too, I'll have a look at those books.

  3. Wow, it sounds like a wonderful read! Thanks for the review, Jean.

  4. Lots of stories, luckily for me, make me want to ignore everything till I've got to the end. Just finished Dead Man's Grip, a thriller by Peter Jones, and am now racing through Ken McClure's Resurrection a tale finding the sourse of a smallpox outbreak.

  5. Of course, that shoulld be "source!"
    Jen, blushing

  6. Thanks, Jen.
    At least your didn't type 'sauce'! I'll have a look at your suggestions too.