I totally judged a book by its cover with this one; The House Between Tides. Every time that I saw this one ready to be shelved at work, I contemplated reading it simply because of the cover. It is amazing! Then, I read that the synopsis about what takes place in Scotland, and I knew that I had to read it.
The story switches between two time periods; 1910 and 2010. Two stories have to be told in order to understand the present predicament. Hettie, mostly alone in this world, inherits an ancestral home in Scotland outer islands. Her thought is to refurbish this mansion and turn it into a hotel. However, when she gets to Murlain House before the tides come in, and she steps foot into her inherited mess, she is immediately dismayed at what awaits her.
She is left a home that is no longer inhabitable. It has fallen into such disrepair that it would obviously take millions to fix it and that is exactly what sullen James Cameron tells her when she steps foot into the falling down mansion. All around her she is getting immediate push-back about trying to fix it and you begin to wonder if it has more to do with the natives not wanting a high profile hotel on their land, rather than them looking out for Hettie. And not to mention, newly discovered human remains are found underneath the floorboards of the house. Whose bones still reside here and why?
Then we have get to switch back to the summer of 1910. Newly married Beatrice travels with her famous painter husband to the island so that he can paint, and so that she can spend time in his childhood home. Newly wed and barely acquainted with her new husband, she believes that they will have a chance to connect as newlyweds should. What she doesn’t count on, is Theo’s retreat into himself and marital neglect that leaves Hettie lonely and seeking out Cameron Forbes attentions. Cameron is begrudgingly Theo’s partner in crime and Hettie believes there might be more to that relationship than meets the eye.
There is so much more to the story than I believed there could be when I started this. It has a slow build, but is necessary for when things finally get going. The author, Sarah Maine does a fantastic job with her build towards the mysteries revolving around present day and past day tragedies. Her descriptions of Scotland and the outer islands leaves you wanting to travel there to see just how beautiful and wild the land truly is. Beautifully written and achingly heartbreaking. Love can do tremendous and wonderful things to people. Proof of that is in this story. Madness, love, infidelity, exquisite location and secrets make this story one of my favorites for the year. It really was quite breathtaking.
Buy it here: The House Between Tides/Sarah Maine