The House Between Tides, by Sarah Maine
Published by Hodder & Stoughton, 7th June 2018 (first published 24th March 2014)
Genres: Historical fiction
Source: Purchased (second-hand)
Following the death of her last living relative, Hetty Deveraux is left with an intriguing inheritance, Muirlan House. This ancestral family home, located on a remote Scottish island, is now a crumbling ruin. Hetty sees in this house the opportunity for a new start, away from London and her strained relationship.
She journeys to this isolated Scottish island to establish the scale of the repairs. But when a skeleton is unearthed under the floorboards, the past is now right in front of her. What happened at Muirlan House all those years ago? And how will this new information change Hetty’s plans for the future?
Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres and, as I am currently living in Scotland, this one instantly caught my eye in my local charity shop. Having visited some of the Scottish islands recently, I found the location created by Sarah Maine to be utterly believable. She has really captured the rugged and unforgiving beauty of the Scottish coast, as well as the deep-rooted traditions and bonds formed within the remote island communities. I could picture the scene straight away and I thought that was very well done.
I also really enjoyed the two timelines, running in parallel. On the one hand, we have Hetty, trying to come to grips with this new responsibility and her plans for the future. And on the other is Beatrice, a newly-married young woman arriving at Muirlan House and trying to navigate not only the intricacies of local customs but also her new relationship with an enigmatic painter.
The mystery of the bones kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through the book as well. I had my suspicions early on, but I was proved wrong!
This is a beautifully written and very evocative work of historical fiction and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any fans of the genre. It has everything: a stunning setting, intrigue, romance, drama, past and present timelines, interesting history, art, wildlife…
My rating: 4/5