Monday, 13 August 2018
The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine
This is an impressive debut from Scottish author Sarah Maine.
In 2010 Hetty returns to her family home on a remote island of the Hebrides after her parents die. She needs to decide the future of the house but soon realises that it is not her decision alone. Her story is interwoven with that of her distant relative Beatrice, a forward thinking socialist and her husband, the renowned naturalist and painter Theodore Blake, set in the early 20th century.
The various stories of the family of the house mix in with the stories of the other islanders. There is inevitable conflict between the house owners, the local community and the wildlife of the island.The stories from the two time periods reflect each other both in terms of these conflicts and also the specific relationships between Hetty and Beatrice with the islanders.
Beatrice, with her opinionated views and disregard for convention is a much stronger character than Hetty, who is far too passive.
The book is full of beautiful and well observed descriptions of weather, landscape and wildlife.
"They left the dunes and dropped down onto the beach, sending up a cloud of shore waders which rose only to settle again a few yards further on. And he guided her past a shallow scoop in the sand where three eggs lay camouflaged among the small stones, drawing her away as the parent bird appeared from nowhere, piping stridently, feinting an attack."
As well as the political insights and beautiful descriptions there is a beautifully drawn love affair and a mysterious dead body. It's a book that's well worth reading though perhaps one that isn't quite sure which genre it fits into.
The House Between Tides by Sarah Main published by Freight Books (2016)