Between the Tides: Book summary and reviews of Between the Tides by Susannah Marren

Between the Tides

by Susannah Marren

Between the Tides by Susannah Marren X
Between the Tides by Susannah Marren
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2015
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Lainie Smith Morris is perfectly content with her life in New York City: she has four children, a handsome surgeon husband, and good friends. This life she has built is shattered, however, when her husband Charles announces he has accepted a job in Elliot, New Jersey, and that the family must relocate. Lainie is forced to give up the things she knows and loves.

Though Charles easily adapts to the intricacies of suburban life, even thriving in it, Lainie finds herself increasingly troubled and bored by her new limited responsibilities, and she remains desperate for the inspiration, comfort, and safety of the city she called home. She is hopelessly lost - until, serendipitously, she reconnects with an old friend/rival turned current Elliot resident, Jess. Pleased to demonstrate her social superiority to Lainie, Jess helps her find a footing, even encouraging Lainie to develop as an artist; but what looks like friendship is quickly supplanted by a betrayal with earth-shattering impact, and a move to the suburbs becomes a metaphor for a woman who must search to find a new home ground in the shifting winds of marriage, family, career, and friendship.

Between the Tides is an engrossing, commanding debut from tremendous new talent Susannah Marren.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This contemporary novel, which seems dated with its initial premise of unilaterally making such a move without discussion, is lovingly tinged with the myth of the selkie and the nurturing properties of water as it reaches a surprising, rather abrupt conclusion. Still, some engaging characters and vivid settings indicate Marren's promise." - Booklist

"Marren has an irksome habit of writing exposition as stilted dialogue. With characters as unreliable as these, everything is left in question. To follow the theme, there's a depth of feeling here but the writing is adrift." - Kirkus

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Reader Reviews

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Kathryn B. (Bronx, NY)

Between the Tides
Between the Tides is a well-developed story of a woman, Lainie, whose life exists between a series of ebb tides and rip tides.
As the story begins,Lainie, a mother of four, is a happy, balanced person living in New York City. Her life and decisions revolve around water...the Hudson River, Cape May, Long Island Sound, etc. This all changes when her husband transfers to a new job in interior New Jersey.
Her new home is set in a Stepford-like scenario including a reunion with an old classmate, Jess. Jess, the "prima donna" of town directs and incorporates Lainie and her children into the neighborhood. It soon becomes obvious that Jess has ulterior motives.
The twists and turns of the plot are neatly divided into dialog sections: Lainie and Jess. The story evolves into a worthy page-turning experience.

Vicki O. (Boston, MA)

Fine First Novel
An impressive first novel, "Beneath the Tides" follows the intertwined lives of two women: Lainie Smith Morris, content with a enviable life in New York, who is forced to give up New York and move to Elliot, New Jersey for her husband's job; Jess, the would-be star of the "Housewives of Elliot, New Jersey, if such a reality show existed. These two knew each other as teenagers and the rivalry that existed then continues when their paths cross again in Elliot. One of them is clearly still harboring the animosity and that plays itself out over the course of the novel. The story is told in alternating points of view and that technique was very effective in developing the characters. It was well written with the tension building in a way that turned the novel into a surprising thriller. It's a fun read.

Roe P. (Massapequa Park, NY)

Between the Tides a page turner
Between the Tides by Susannah Marren starts off a little slow but quickly races to a dark finish. Lainie is a happy wife and mother of four who is an artist by choice. Suddenly her life is turned around when her husband announces they are moving to a new city. Lainie's new city will take her away from the water and landscapes she loves, to a new place where she finds it difficult to fit in with the other wives of affluent men. During her move her most prized work of art is broken to bits...is this a foretelling of her future. The store is told by her voice and the voice of her old friend (Jess) whom she meets up with in her new neighborhood. A good book that I found to pick up speed as it went along. This is the first novel by Marren and I look forward to her next venture.

Joan V. (Miller Place, NY)

Between the Tides
This is a wonderful debut novel! Ms. Marren's prose is beautiful, she reminds me a little of Virginia Woolf in "Mrs. Dalloway" because of the way she describes scenes from ordinary everyday life.

Your are immediately drawn into the story of the family's move from New York City to the suburbs of New Jersey. When "Lainie" encounters her old friend "Jess" the pace begins to pick up. Though the novel moves between two narrators it is not hard to follow, Ms. Marren very skillfully manages that.

As the book progresses the reader gets more involved in the story and I do not want to give away too much of the plot. This would be an excellent choice for a book club; there is a lot to discuss. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to pass it along to a friend so that I could talk about it with someone. I really am looking forward to reading Ms Marren's next book; hope she has already started writing it

Mary S. (Hilton Head Island, SC)

Mystery in Disguise
When I first started to read this book I thought it was going to be a "quasi" romantic novel. However, I was surprised it turned out to be an unsolved mystery. What happened so long ago? Who was the good guy? Who was the bad? What really happened at the end and why?
Although the lesser character development was somewhat lacking, the major characters kept one guessing until the end. The storyline was a bit jumbled, but on the whole, good for a first novel. Also would be good for a book club discussion group.

Lisa E. (Naugatuck, CT)

poetic writing, complex relationships
Would your marriage survive if you were suddenly uprooted from the place you loved? Would you pull together and make a wonderful new life? Or would you crash and burn? This novel is about what happens to Lainie and Charles when he announces that he is moving the family out of the city and into a quiet, suburban town. There's not much discussion, and it's all very sudden. Right away we start to see cracks in the marriage and issues with the children. Deep flaws in the characters start to emerge quickly, and it all quickly leads to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion.

Susannah Marren has created a story with a lot of atmosphere and tension, and I was always just a bit uncomfortable reading this book. The characters were unreliable and somehow "off". This was an intriguing read about complex relationships and betrayal. Gripping from start to finish. Well done, Susannah Marren!

...20 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Susannah Marren

Susannah Marren is originally from Long Beach Island, New Jersey. She currently lives in Manhattan with her family and still spends her summers on the Jersey Shore. Between the Tides is her first novel.

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