A house on an island separated from the main island by a causeway only open at low tide is the focus of this novel set in the Outer Hebrides. It’s a dual timeframe novel, which format I have to admit I am tiring of.
In 1910, Beatrice Blake arrives with her new husband, the famous artist Theo Blake, to his home on the island for the summer. In 2010, Hetty Devereaux has inherited the house and is considering turning it into a hotel.
Neither woman has made a good choice of partner. Theo thought Beatrice would drive away his thoughts of his first love Mailí but realizes very soon that she cannot compete and begins to neglect her. Hetty’s fiancé Simon has forced his way into her plans and has hired people to do surveys and look into such issues as financing before Hetty has even seen the property.
Both of these stories deal with how the property should be handled and how much claim the crofters have to the island, but in 2010, bones have been discovered under the foundation of the house. The 1910 story eventually reveals whose bones they are.
I found this novel interesting, and the descriptions of the island are lovely. However, even though I saw complaints about Hetty’s lack of backbone, I was more interested in the modern story than the older one. Possibly it’s because it was obvious to me why Theo is so interested in his factor’s son, Cameron, and also because I wasn’t interested in Beatrice’s romance. The final twist was obvious to me, although I didn’t figure out who the bones belonged to.
This novel is atmospheric but a little hackneyed, I think.
12 thoughts on “Review 1827: The House Between Tides”
Ooh, thanks for putting this on my radar — I might be going to the Outer Hebrides on a vacation in June and I’m looking out for relevant reads to take along. I know what you mean about dual timelines; it seems like every other novel has them (or a triple timeline!) these days, and I am almost always more engaged with the contemporary storyline. The premise reminds me a bit of Nightwaking by Sarah Moss, if you know that one. I might reread it instead; we’ll see. Or I could read both!
I haven’t read that one. There was another one set in Scottish islands that I thought was a little better than this one. Let me look it up. I’m not sure if it was the Hebrides. Oh, yes it is! The Sea House by Elizabeth Gifford. I think there might be a link to it from my page for The House Between Tides.
Sounds perfect, thanks. For some reason its UK title is “Secrets of the Sea House.”
That’s such a minor change. How odd.
I’m fed up with dual timelines too, especially since one is almost always more interesting than the other. However the Hebrides setting sounds interesting.
Yes, that’s why I read it.
It’s not often that I find the modern storyline more interesting than the past storyline.
They renamed it, right? I hate when they do that.
They added “Secrets of” to The Sea House for the UK title. The author is British, but it looks like the book was published in the UK and USA on the same day. I’m not sure why they decided to tweak the title!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally bought both copies of a renamed book!