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The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine - Review

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I heard of this book at a conference I went to last year and was intrigued by the setting in a remote island off Skye, so I ordered it and when my book club was looking for new books to read last autumn I suggested it. I had read the blurb as a kind of murder mystery and thought it would appeal to my book club members. A woman inherits a mansion on a remote island, which was owned by her relative, renowned artist Theo Blake. She's interested in refurbishing the house and setting up a bespoke hotel, but when she arrives on the island, the surveyor, a relative of the estate's tenants, has discovered bones that can have only been left there around when Theo himself was there in 1910.

But, it's not that kind of a murder mystery at all. In fact, there's not much mystery to it - there's a few red herrings but I guessed most of the ins and outs pretty much straight away. The narrative swaps between Hetty, in 2010, who has inherited the island and all its problems, and Beatrice, Theo's new young wife, in 1910. I liked Hetty but felt like she needed to stand up for herself more. I really liked Beatrice and would've liked a whole novel about her, to be honest. I found the geography of the islands confusing and would have liked a map, and I would have liked a family tree, too, because there were so many people with so many familiar names that I couldn't keep them all straight either. It took me over a week to read this, which is just a nonsense! I'm giving it four out of ten. I'm going to donate the book!

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