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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.
Laura P. (Atlanta, GA)
Tides of War
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.
I really wanted to like this book. It deals with a period of history about which I know little, and Its mix of real and fictional characters seemed intriguing. However, the book suffers from an overabundance of characters (all of whom seem to be primary) and the absence of a compelling theme. The result is a novel that, while it has its moments, is generally way too easy to put down. I felt like it was never going to end - and not in a good way.
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.
Christine B. (Scottsdale, AZ)
Tides of War
I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical novels. It's a great read.
I enjoyed this book very much- mostly after the first 100 pages. The author introduces so many characters in the beginning that it is hard to keep them all straight particularly since she is alternating between the war and home front. That said, after that point I really looked forward to reading it and learned a tremendous amount about the Peninsular War and aristocratic England. The characters are all quite genuine - some enigmatic and some quite likable. I would recommend this book.
Jill S. (Eagle, ID)
Tides of War
This is a great book for those who love historical fiction. Although it the story can be bogged down in characters and details, Tillyard did a great job in her research and portraying the reasons for the English entering the Peninsular War. I particularly liked this story because this is not a much written about time period.
Diane S. (Batavia, IL)
Tides of War by Stella Tillyard
I did the enjoy the historical portion of this novel having little knowledge on the Peninsular War and the war scenes are very powerful. Her depiction of the cruel Wellington was enlightening and I applaud the author for portraying the lives of the women left behind while all the men are off fighting. That said I found it at times difficult to keep track of all the characters and all the different story lines, I think there were at least seven, and in the conversations between the characters seemed forced and oftentimes stilted and awkward. I did like that she included a cast of characters in the back of the book.