The House Between TidesBook - 2016
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Hetty Deveraux decides to leave London life behind and move to her ancestral home in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. Still grieving the death of her parents in a car accident two years ago, Hetty leaves a strained relationship behind after inheriting the ruined mansion. She dreams of renovating the home into a hotel, but her plans are halted when human remains are found. Few clues remain, but it is clear the death was not of natural causes.
As Hetty searches for answers she learns more of the life of her great-uncle, famous painter Theo Blake. His brief marriage to Beatrice over a hundred years ago was not a happy one. Beatrice was said to have left the island abruptly and to have never returned while Theo retreated from society and never lived up to the artistic expectations earlier in his career. The community gossip gives Hetty glimpses into the past and the identity of the victim, but it’s clear that someone in the remote Scottish community knew what happened and that the secret was known by more than just the killer.
This atmospheric tale is Sarah Maine’s first novel. While the discovery of the murder is the impetuous of the story, the focus is on discovering the characters and learning about the history of the estate. Chapters alternate from Hetty, Beatrice, and Theo’s perspectives so that the reader learns of the opinions and motivations of each of the major characters. We also see how the events in 1910 between Theo and Beatrice affect Hetty in 2010. All of this allows for a greater depth of character and story.
The setting also creates an unsettling mood in the story. The ruined home Hetty inherits is on an island in the Hebrides which is only accessible from the mainland certain times of the day. When the tides are low, pedestrians or cars can reach the home, but when the tide comes in, it is isolated from society. While Hetty hopes to escape to here from London, we read how it increased tensions in Theo and Beatrice’s marriage.
The detailed descriptions of the lives of the characters and the wildlife in this remote area will pull readers into this atmospheric mystery. If you enjoy Daphne de Maurier, historical fiction, or mysteries with depth, please try this book!
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