Charlene M. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
Tides of War
The historical setting was what first attracted me to Stella Tillyard’s Tides of War. I especially like reading about 1800 England. When I first met Harriet, in the opening chapter of the book, I thought this is a person I would like to know more about. Her character was just complicated enough to intrigue me and her relationship with her James was slightly off kilter. The plot, though interesting, was convoluted and filled with sub-characters. I enjoyed reading the book but felt I needed a who’s who notebook. A very enjoyable and well written story.
Nicole E. (High Point, NC)
A Tad Tedious
I began reading this book with anticipation. I typically enjoy historical fiction, especially a period like the Peninsular War in which I am unfamiliar. After the first few chapters I found I was increasingly losing interest in the plot. I found it difficult to "bond" with any of the characters. The story itself contained interesting historical narratives, but the number of characters made it difficult to follow and somewhat confusing.
Michele J. (Port Orchard, WA)
Good Historical Fiction
The Tides of War is a very nice historical fiction novel which is set in England during the Peninsular War between 1812 and 1815. This is an era frequently ignored by historical fiction writers, so it was a refreshing setting. Be warned: there are a LOT of characters that pepper the pages, many of them actual historical figures, but it does make it difficult to keep track of everyone initially. Keep reading, though. As the story progresses, the characters become easier to manage and the storyline starts to take precedence. All in all, this is a lovely effort and the only thing I might have changed is moving the List of Characters page from the back of the book to the front.
Joanne V. (Towanda, PA)
Tides of War
For those of us who know practically nothing about the Peninsular War, this could have been a most interesting book. The characters (some) were interesting, although there were far too many and I kept losing interest in most of them. The author does do a good job with setting the historical stage, but overall I thought the novel was unfocused and had a lot of unnecessary detail, at least in the first half of the book. I wanted to really like it, but it didn't hold my interest and it took me longer than usual to get through it.
Shirley L. (Norco, LA)
Better At History Than Fiction
This book provides an excellent history of the British fight against Napoleon in the Peninsular War. The characters are well developed and the writing (particular the section where the soldiers describe their sense of unfamiliarity upon returning home) is often exquisite. The author does a great job setting the historical stage for this story. Therein lies the main weakness of this work of historical fiction. The story is unfocused, cluttered with details, and often wanders vaguely from character to character for at least the first half of the book. Sharper editing would have greatly improved this otherwise worthy work.
Vivian H. (Winchester, VA)
Love & War during the Regency
"Tides of War" is an ambitious historical novel that tries to be a sweeping epic, but just falls short. I very much enjoyed the fictional Harriet Raven, Robert Heaton, David McBride X& Anne Cobbold as well as the portrayals of Kitty Wellington and Frederick Winsor, who lit up London with gas lighting. Whenever the story focused on these characters, the book kept me absorbed.
However, I skipped through many pages involving the Rothchilds, Lord Wellington and James Raven. The book could not keep me engaged with these characters.
Overall, I enjoyed the book which really explored the fact that during this time in history, women had an opportunity to experience a modicum of freedom and independence while their husbands went off to war. And widowhood could be a ticket to a life of comfortable independence. About 50 pages fewer and I would have rated this book very good.
Mary Lou C. (Shenandoah Junction, WV)
Tides of War
I had a little difficulty getting into this book because the author introduced so many characters and stories initially, and she moves from one character's story to another so quickly. I thought I'd lose interest. It didn't take long however, to become totally immersed in plots and characters. I didn't know anything about the Peninsular War before I read this book. I found it fascinating. I especially enjoyed how the author intertwined some of the new discoveries of that period, e.g., gas lights and blood transfusions. It was very enlightening.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical novels. It's a great read.