Though the book starts out a bit confusing, with characters not clearly identified in a way that made sense to me, the story did still draw me in, going back and forth between 1941 and present day. Four women comprise The High Tide Club, a bunch of single friends ages 14-19, in 1941; three are white and one is black, which is significant both of the time period as well as later in the book. These women face adversity both in the past and in present day; the book does evolve and ultimately do a good job with character development, reeling in the reader with facts slowly doled out each chapter.
In summary, a lawyer named Brooke is hired by a 99 year old woman, Josephine, to save her property from developers and the state, after she passes. Along the way, we meet members of Brooke’s family, as well as the descendants of the High Tide Club, whom Josephine wants to bequest her property. In addition, Brooke begins to be wooed by a former mentor and a past relationship also turns up at the same time, which causes some confusion for all involved. What seems to initially be a straightforward story of legal drama and righting some wrongs, turns into a multifaceted, layered affair with twists and turnabouts few will see coming.
Though most likely considered general summer fiction, there is so much more in this story. Mystery, deceit, murder, rape, racism, and romance are all intertwined with so many details, you will want to savor each page, reading slowly to capture all of the nuances and anticipate what direction the story will take. Though some storylines are predictable, the majority are not and might surprise the reader a little, making the book even more captivating and thought provoking. I stayed up late finishing it, just couldn’t put it down. Definitely recommend for book clubs, and I already told my mom to read it, so we can talk about it.
Between the TidesWhile on vacation, I decided to read Between the Tides. However, this is not your typical beach read; instead, it is thought provoking and compelling. The main character, Cappy (nickname from Catherine), is 30 years old and facing life as a recent orphan, most recently losing her father within the past year. He requested his ashes be strewn in the river of her childhood home, a town she lived in till she was 12 and tragedy struck. The idea of returning to Seaboro 18 years later is overwhelming and beyond comprehension. However, after determining she must in fact do it, she and a friend (former boyfriend Forrest) take the trip, a five hour car ride away.
While in Seaboro, Cappy discovers she did not know her father nearly as well as she initially believed, learning about secrets and aspects of his life she did not foresee or fathom. She also faces her own identify crisis, coming to terms with the incident that drove the family from town. As an adult, Cappy has kept just about everyone at arm’s length, and those walls are forced to crumble upon learning information about her past and even her present situation. In less than a week, Cappy must make unexpected, life altering decisions regarding her own future, as well as those she loves.
Henry’s writing is well done; the sentences flow easily and she integrates prose and quotes effortlessly into the text. Cappy’s father speaks to the concept that one’s life is a story and that one can learn about your own life from different published tales as well. This lesson had been lost on Cappy for the past 18 years, but she comes to an understanding of him and his intentions as the plot unfolds. There are some plot elements that wil not surprise the reader and will actually validate the feelings about the characters; I think readers will find the storyline well constructed and appropriately designed. The book is left open to consider a sequel with some of the side characters, should Henry wish to explore their stories as much as Cappy’s.
Side note: I met the author in summer 2017 when discussing one of her newer books. She is an engaging speaker and captivated the audience with her authentic tone and stories about her family and childhood. I plan on reading Henry’s other books and sharing them with friends.
Filed under fiction, romance
A Mother’s Promise is one of the most difficult, yet well written books, I have read in years. Hepworth has a great talent and accurately captures the essence of a mother / daughter relationship with finesse and compassion. The main character, Alice, is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and has to figure out a way to take care of herself an her 15 year old daughter who suffers from severe social anxiety. Unfortunately, there is virtually no extended family support, so we are introduced to Alice’s primary nurse Kate and a social worker, Sonja, who is also assigned to the case. Though the story centers on Alice’s condition, each person has her own story to tell, and we are fortunate to be introduced to each one’s tale.
As a mom to a teenage daughter, I found it hard to read, because the topic is so difficult to process. Alice’s diagnosis is every mother’s fear and I did not want to consider the ‘what if’ that resonates throughout the book. However, I am so glad I persevered, because it is such a solid piece of fiction. The ending provides resolution and at the same time, keeps the door open for the next stage in the character’s lives. I highly recommend this book to anyone who finds real life books compelling. The story has a few predicable elements, but there are also plenty of unexpected moments, both positive and negative, like real life. I have already told friends about it and will continue to read Hepworth’s novels, as they make me think and help me slow down and appreciate the people I love the most.