The House of Tides

Grand Central. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9781455521074. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781455521081. F
Opening with the scene of a an unnamed young women piercing her skin with an heirloom brooch, then throwing herself into the Thames River, this debut novel snags the reader's attention and holds it tight. We are then introduced to Dora Tide, a successful advertising agent, newly pregnant, struggling to come to terms with her family's misfortune and the broken relationships left in its wake. Dora, trying to mend those broken bonds, especially with her distant and cold mother, uncovers shattering truths about her family, who years ago seemed to have had it all until a horrific accident that left each member a dysfunctional mess. As Richell peels back the layers from this family, we explore their past and present—asking ourselves what level of crime can truly be forgiven.
VERDICT Richell has written a worthy family saga that revolves around a ramshackle English mansion by the sea. The characters are fully fleshed out, and their interactions with one another ring true. This will be a big hit with Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy fans.
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