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Debra P. (Belmont, NC)
I had a difficult time staying with this book, it just didn't grab me or keep me like other historical novels.I do believe the author did a great job researching the time period for accuracy, but it became choppy and disconnected because the settings changed so often. I would have preferred a little more of the story around the women featured and less about the actual battle scenes. Maybe it just wasn't a subject I was necessarily interested in and the book will appeal more to others.
Mary B. (St Paul, MN)
Tides of War
I enjoy reading historical fiction and I liked this book very much. For me, it was not the type of book to read cover to cover in one sitting, but one that I could read over a period of time and savor. There were interesting characters both real and fictional and good interwoven stories. I enjoyed the strong female characters.
Tillie H. (Baltimore, MD)
I thought this book was very slow moving and often confusing. So many characters to keep track of when going back and forth between home and the war setting.
Sheryl M. (Marietta, GA) Do not use full last name
A Time of Turmoil and Opportunity
Not one of the better books I've read this year.
Tides of War has all the elements that create deeply moving and compelling historical fiction. Its wartime London crackles with new possibilities, especially opportunities for women who are released from the constraints of conventional family life. Balancing London’s briskness is the sultry seductiveness of Seville whose ladies provide distractions from the brutality of the battlefront for the soldiers and the reader.
Therese J. (Alvarado, Minnesota)
Know Your History
With a historian’s fine attention to detail, Tillyard paints word pictures that become fully realized for the reader—and with words that are fresh and innovative. She develops a vast cast of players that allow us to see a broad cross section of society, both in England and Spain; events are depicted in meticulous detail, ensuring that we grasp the full scope of the novel’s history.
However, the central fictional figures around which the places, events and historical figures should swirl and be spun into a meaningful complete jigsaw puzzle are strangely unaffecting—neither likeable nor so despicable that the reader is curious to see what mayhem they might provoke.
I have read compelling non-fiction that read like fiction. Unfortunately, Tides of War is a novel that reads more like non-fiction. While the narrative was informative, it was not compelling.
Tides Of War is well written for those who are familiar with British nineteenth century war history, and with British idiom. Not knowing background was a handicap as I read this book, as the author plunged into the tale, moving rapidly from one venue to another, one person to another without making connections. A good novel for me is one I don't have to struggle to read, and this was tough.
Carolyn G. (South Pasadena, CA)
A very slow read
I volunteered to read Tides of War because I like historical fiction and I hoped to learn more about this period of history. If I had just gotten this book out of the library or had decided to buy it, I would not have finished it. Out of respect to the author, I read the book to the bitter end. I kept wishing the writer would find her story teller voice and that the book would get better. Sadly, it never did. This is a complex story with lots of characters; however, none of them are fully developed. Rather than a novel, this is a collection of small vignettes of several different stories. Just when a scene began to have some drama and characterization, the author dropped the curtain and moved the action. Neither of the main characters, Harriet or her new husband Captain James Raven is especially likable. Their infidelities do not inspire passion or even much interest. As a reader, I felt disappointed that there wasn’t more about the Irish involvement in the conflict. There were bits and pieces of battle field scenes, medical history and development of gas lighting in London which seemed unrelated to the plot.
Steve B. (Spring, TX)
This historical novel, framed in the time period of the Peninsular War (1812 - 1815), deals with the military action in Spain and the civilians left behind in England. There is more attention paid to the romance and dalliances of those left behind than to the military action. I would have preferred more history and less romance.
Leslie D. (Le Roy, NY)
"Tides of War" reveals true heroes--and imposters
Although slow starting, this superb historical piece depicts the Peninsular War in rare depth. From the home front to the battlefield, it’s an honest, raw view of war and its effects, where intensely sad scenes are countered by little rays of hope.
The portrayal of real people, including Wellington and his wife Kitty, financier Nathan Rothschild, and inventor Frederick Winsor, is outstanding and provides rich fodder for discussion groups.