Tides of War opens in England with the recently married, charmingly unconventional Harriet preparing to say goodbye to her husband, James, as he leaves to join the Duke of Wellington's troops in Spain.
Harriet and James's interwoven stories of love and betrayal propel this sweeping and dramatic novel as it moves between Regency London on the cusp of modernity - a city in love with science, the machine, money - and the shocking violence of war in Spain. With dazzling skill Stella Tillyard explores not only the effects of war on the men at the front but also the freedoms it offers the women left behind. As Harriet befriends the older and protective Kitty, Lady Wellington, her life begins to change in unexpected ways. Meanwhile, James is seduced by the violence of battle, and then by love in Seville.
As the novel moves between war and peace, Spain and London, its large cast of characters includes the serial adulterer and war hero the Duke of Wellington, and the émigrés Nathan Rothschild and Frederic Winsor who will usher in the future, creating a world brightly lit by gaslight where credit and financial speculation rule. Whether describing the daily lives and desires of strong female characters or the horror of battle, Tides of War is set to be the fiction debut of the year.
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"Tillyard is at her best with historical figures and when depicting the era; readers share Harriet's discovery of the waltz, Jane Austen, and ice cream, and witness cutting-edge battlefield surgeries under real-life Surgeon Gen. James McGrigor." - Publishers Weekly
"Dazzling - I love this book. It's beautifully written, the characters are deeply involving and the historical settings so right - in short, Tides of War is a triumph." - Simon Schama
"Love, betrayal, war and peace charge this powerful debut." - Fanny Blake, Woman and Home (UK)
"Seldom, since reading Jane Austen, have I wanted to slip between the pages of a book and become one of its characters. But in Tides of War, Stella Tillyard's first novel, the clever, messy heroine who prefers chemistry to needlework filled me with roughly the same longing I felt when reading Emma as a teenager " - Lucy Kellaway, The Financial Times (UK)
"Starred Review. This sophisticated, unusual portrait of Regency society will appeal to all readers of historical fiction, especially admirers of Bernard Cornwell." - Library Journal
"A remarkably instructive novel. Tillyard embellishes a plot too intricate for summary with a plethora of detail. Readers will find much to fascinate them... Tillyard is a fluent and attractive chronicler of historical detail and some of her imaginative liberties are ingenious An entertaining fictional debut." - The Telegraph (UK)
"Hugely enjoyable In its intelligent, classy, entertaining way, the book is reminiscent of that other fine novelist of the Napoleonic wars, Patrick O'Brian." - Angus Clarke, The Times (UK)
"This novel is packed with marvelous period detail Tillyard writes in fluid, largely understated prose, and her descriptions are wonderful." - Lucy Atkins, The Sunday Times (UK)
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Stella Tillyard has been described by Simon Schama as "dazzling... a phenomenally gifted writer." Her books include Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832; Citizen Lord: Edward Fitzgerald, 1763-1798; and most recently A Royal Affair: George III and his Troublesome Siblings. She has lived in the United States and Italy and now lives in London. Visit her at www.stellatillyard.com
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