The House Between The Tides by Sarah Maine
I was given the much feted novel The House Between The Tides by Sarah Maine as a Christmas Gift. I had heard many good things about the book so I was interested to read it.
The story is about a country house and its estate on a remote island in North West Scotland and the familes associated with it. The novel crosses a period of one hundred years and I found that it jumped backards and forwards a great deal.
The house on the remote Hebridean Island is inherited by Hetty Devereaux after the death of her grandmother. Hetty is the last of her line, having now no living relatives. She is unsure just what to do with her inheritance but
she is considering restoring the building and creating a modern resort. However, everything is halted when the human remains of an unknown person are discovered under an extension.
The novel is a debut mystery novel and some of the descriptions of the sea and of historic island life are vivid and atmospheric.
The House Between the Tides sets itself as a mystery of lies, secrets, passion and betrayal, but I found the story a bit pedestrian and predictable. The time changes and changes of points of view, sometimes within the same paragraph, were also confusing. There were also many characters with very similar names. This made it difficult to tell one from another.
The broad story held my interest but I found this novel disappointing, particularly in light of the amount of praise it has received.
Sarah Maine was born in England and emigrated to Canada with her family at the age of ten. A small northern Ontario community was home for the next two years before the family moved south, and Sarah went to high school in Toronto. She returned to England to study archaeology, stayed on to do research and work, married there and has two sons.
Books were always important. She grew up on a diet of Arthur Ransome and Robert Louis Stevenson but also the classics, Jane Austen and the Brontés and, of course, Daphne du Maurier – but now enjoys a wide range of contemporary fiction.
She has publlished three books – The House between Tides, Beyond the Wild River and Women of the Dunes and is currently working on her fourth, set partly in New Zealand.