#BookReview The Tides Between by Elizabeth Jane Corbett @OdysseyBooks @lizziejane


The Tides BetweenAbout the Book

She fancied herself part of a timeless chain without beginning or end, linked only by the silver strong words of its tellers.

In the year 1841, on the eve of her departure from London, Bridie’s mother demands she forget her dead father and prepare for a sensible, adult life in Port Phillip. Desperate to save her childhood, fifteen-year-old Bridie is determined to smuggle a notebook filled with her father’s fairytales to the far side of the world.

When Rhys Bevan, a soft-voiced young storyteller and fellow traveller realises Bridie is hiding something, a magical friendship is born. But Rhys has his own secrets and the words written in Bridie’s notebook carry a dark double meaning.  As they inch towards their destination, Rhys’s past returns to haunt him. Bridie grapples with the implications of her dad’s final message. The pair take refuge in fairytales, little expecting the trouble it will cause.

Format: Paperback, ebook (300 pp.)         Publisher: Odyssey Books
Published: 20th October 2017        Genre: Historical Fiction, YA

Purchase Links*

Amazon.co.uk ǀ Kobo  
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Tides Between on Goodreads

My Review

The author conveys in convincing detail the terrible conditions endured by those, like Bridie and her mother and stepfather, travelling in steerage: the heat below deck, the cramped accommodation, lack of privacy and risk of disease. Not to mention the terrible seasickness caused by the motion of the ship. There are particularly vivid descriptions of the terror experienced by the passengers as the ship rides out storms on the voyage, not least those in steerage where the order ‘batten down the hatches’ means them literally being sealed below decks.

For Bridie, the storytelling sessions she shares with Rhys and his wife, Sian, provide a welcome distraction from the privations of the voyage, her continuing grief at the death of her father and her difficult relationship with her mother’s new husband, Alf, that cause her to misunderstand and reject his attempts to guide her and prepare her for their new life in Australia. In addition, Bridie must come to terms with the signs that she is moving from childhood to being of marriageable age.

The emigrants undertaking the long and arduous voyage to Australia are doing so in the hope that a new and better life with more opportunities awaits them. But some, including Rhys and Sian, are also keen to leave behind the past and avoid discovery of secrets they wish to keep hidden. However, from time to time there are precious snatched moments of conviviality as the passengers come together to sing songs and listen to stories, especially those performed by Rhys and Sian.

Tragedy awaits many of those who undertake the voyage and even when they arrive at their destination it’s clear more challenges await them. The open-ended nature of the book’s conclusion means the reader can indulge their own imagination about Bridie’s future… or possibly await a sequel?

The Tides Between is an absorbing, skilfully crafted coming-of-age story that takes the reader – like Bridie and her fellow passengers – on an often turbulent and emotional journey.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author. Find out more about Elizabeth’s writing journey and the inspiration for the book in her Q&A with bookblogger, Linda Hill.

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In three words: Emotional, dramatic, immersive

Try something similar: Fled by Meg Keneally (read my review here)

Elizabeth Jane CorbettThe Tides Between TeaserAbout the Author

When Elizabeth Jane Corbett isn’t writing, she works as a librarian, teaches Welsh at the Melbourne Celtic Club, writes reviews and articles for the Historical Novel Society and blogs at elizabethjanecorbett.com.

In 2009, her short-story, ‘Beyond the Blackout Curtain’, won the Bristol Short Story Prize. Another, ‘Silent Night’, was short listed for the Allan Marshall Short Story Award. An early draft of her debut novel, The Tides Between, was shortlisted for a HarperCollins Varuna manuscript development award.

Elizabeth lives with her husband, Andrew, in a renovated timber cottage in Melbourne’s inner-north. She likes red shoes, dark chocolate, commuter cycling, and reading quirky, character driven novels set once-upon-a-time in lands far, far away.

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#BlogTour #BookReview Ike and Kay by James MacManus @Duckbooks

Ike and Kay Banner Medium-01

I’m delighted to be hosting the first stop on the blog tour for Ike and Kay by James MacManus alongside my tour buddy, Stephanie at Steph’s Book Blog. Thanks to Chaam at Duckworth Books for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my review copy.

I hope you enjoy reading my review of Ike and Kay. Do look out for more reviews by the fabulous book bloggers also hosting stops on the tour.

Ike and KayAbout the Book

It is 1942 and war-battered London plays host to the imposing figure of General Ike Eisenhower on a vital mission for the US army. Kay Summersby, an ambulance driver who survived the horrors of the Blitz, is chosen to be his aide, a role that will change her life forever.

Charmed by Ike’s affable and disarming nature so different from the stiffness of British military convention she accompanies him during the North African campaign against Rommel and the war in Europe against Nazi Germany. Amid the carnage a secret affair unfolds between the General and Kay but rumours of Ike’s infidelity reach across the ocean to Washington – and worse yet, to his wife. In a time where scandal and war threaten to break them apart, can Ike and Kay hold on to their love?

Format: Paperback, e-book (352 pp.)    Publisher: Duckworth
Published: 8th March 2018     Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Hive
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Ike and Kay on Goodreads

My Review

Ike and Kay is a fictionalized account of the real life relationship between General Dwight Eisenhower and Kay Summersby.

Thanks to the author’s insightful portrayal, I could well understand how Kay, assigned to be his driver, might be attracted to the intelligent and charming Eisenhower (whom she refers to from early on as ‘her’ general). The reader witnesses the gradual development of their relationship from mutual regard to easy familiarity (smiles exchanged in the rear-view mirror) to something more, helped along by a box of chocolates, an unexpected invitation to dinner and a puppy. Soon Kay is part of Eisenhower’s wartime ‘family’, a small group of his closest aides, and rubbing shoulders with figures such as Roosevelt and Churchill.

The way their relationship was portrayed felt utterly realistic: the highs and lows, doubts and fears, promises made and broken, hopes raised and then dashed. I found myself rooting for Kay – more in hope than expectation – at the same time wishing she had taken more heed of her friend Charlotte’s wise if down to earth advice.

As depicted by the author, Eisenhower’s superiors initially tolerate the obvious growing closeness between the pair because of his vital role in directing the Allied offensive. ‘Keep the general happy’ becomes the watchword. Yet once the war is over the relationship becomes an embarrassment – not least of which because Eisenhower is a married man – something to be airbrushed (in one case, quite literally) from history.

The book also contains some fascinating detail about the preparations for the Allied invasion of Europe and some particularly poignant and moving descriptions of D-Day. Kay recalls the eve of D-Day as ‘a series of jumbled images’.

The sun setting in a paint box of colours that evening, broad brush strokes of red, orange and purple. Faces of the paratroops blackened with charcoal and cocoa. The ghostly features of Eisenhower moving among these men in darkness, shaking hands, accepting whispered messages to loved ones… Camouflaged troops, silky shadows in the darkness, their voices those of the night… Wingtips flashing white lights as the aircraft took off and climbed to join the armada above. The sparkle of distant stars in a crowded sky.’

Ike and Kay is both an intimate, affecting story of a wartime romance but also a fascinating insight into the burden borne by those in positions of power during wartime. Why not make it one of your ‘Summer Reads’.

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In three words: Fascinating, intimate, absorbing

Try something similar:  The General’s Women by Susan Wittig Albert

MacManusAbout the Author

James MacManus is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. After studying at St Andrews University he began his career in journalism at the Daily Express in Manchester. Joining The Guardian in 1972, he later became Paris, and then Africa and Middle East Correspondent. He is the author of several novels including On the Broken Shore, Black Venus, Sleep in Peace Tonight and Midnight in Berlin. James MacManus has three children and lives in Dulwich, London.

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