The House Between Tides
Sarah Maine Pages: 389 Published: 2014
The book: Hetty Deveraux inherits an old mansion on an island in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. Leaving a strained relationship behind her in London, she heads for Scotland. She plans to renovate her ancestral home. The discovery of human bones in the old house stymies her plans. It’s not clear whose remains these are, but it is clear the person did not die of natural causes. Will Hetty discover whose bones these are? What will she do with the house she inherited? And what of the relationship she left behind in London?
You might like it because: Maine crafts a good story, which will keep you guessing till almost the end of the book. She conjures beautiful and vivid imagery of the Outer Hebrides.
What did other people say?
“Scotland’s Outer Hebrides provides the sensuous setting for [this] impressive debut…[a] beautifully crafted novel.” – Publishers Weekly
“There is an echo of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca in Sarah Maine’s appealing debut novel” – The Independent (U.K)
How quickly will you get into the book? The short prologue was really interesting. Halfway down page 5, (Chapter 1), I was hooked and knew I would have to read on.
You might not like it because: The story jumps between 1910 and 2010. Some readers might dislike this back and forth.
Hetty is exceptionally weak willed. For most of the book she seems unable to stand up for herself and frequently appears to capitulate to men. This might irritate some readers.
What might you read next?
In Maine’s story, several families are forcibly removed from their homes and their houses leveled for the construction of the fictional home that Hetty inherits. In real life, during the mid to late eighteenth century, many Scottish families were evicted from their homes in the Highlands to make way, mostly, for sheep. Read Iain Crichton Smith’s Consider the Lilies, a fictional story of an old woman evicted from her croft.
Or read another novel set on a fictional Scottish island, George Mackay Brown’s Beside the Ocean of Time, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994.
Alternatively, fancy a murder mystery set in the modern-day Scottish Highlands? Pick up Follow the Dead by Lin Anderson.
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