20 Jun 2021


 Having read and really enjoyed the first book in this series, Tidelands, which, in a departure from her usual books set in the royal courts of various kings and queens, told the everyday story of a 'mere' woman; a midwife and herbalist, what would I make of ...

Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory.

GENRE: Historical Fiction


PUBLISHER: Atria Books


{Contains what may be considered spoilers. In order to view the full text simply scroll over the hidden text}

Midsummer Eve 1670. Two unexpected visitors arrive at a shabby warehouse on the south side of the River Thames. The first is a wealthy man hoping to find the lover he deserted twenty-one years before. James Avery has everything to offer, including the favour of the newly restored King Charles II, and he believes that the warehouse's poor owner Alinor has the one thing his money cannot buy—his son and heir.

The second visitor is a beautiful widow from Venice in deepest mourning. She claims Alinor as her mother-in-law and has come to tell Alinor that her son Rob has drowned in the dark tides of the Venice lagoon.

Alinor writes to her brother Ned, newly arrived in faraway New England and trying to make a life between the worlds of the English newcomers and the American Indians as they move toward inevitable war. Alinor tells him that she knows—without doubt—that her son is alive and the widow is an imposter.

Set in the poverty and glamour of Restoration London, in the golden streets of Venice, and on the tensely contested frontier of early America, this is a novel of greed and desire: for love, for wealth, for a child, and for home. {Inner Front Cover Blurb}

The ramshackle warehouse was the wrong side of the river, the south side, where the buildings jostled for space and the little boats unloaded pocket-size cargos for scant profit. {First Sentence, Midsummer Eve:1670, London}

Sarah gave a little hiss, and found that her hand was clenched in the old sign to ward off witchcraft, her thumb between her first two fingers. {Memorable Moment, Page 209}

MY THOUGHTS ... With three threads; one in which we find mother and daughter, Alinor and Alys, making a living in a ramshackle warehouse on the London docks, another set in the 'New World' where, Alinor's brother, Ned, had made a new life for himself and, yet another, in which events in London, take us to Venice ... and back again. 

A book I enjoyed though not nearly as much as I'd expected to. After Tidelands {the first book in the series}, I found Dark Tides rather disappointing.

Rather disappointing in that ....

Set twenty one, twenty one, years after the events in the first book. Why such a huge gap? 

Rather disappointing in that ...

Driven by plot rather than characters. As an author renowned for her strong female characters, I thought the main female leads rather weak.

Alinor, wise woman, midwife and herbalist {some would say witch}; a character I had loved, here, seemingly relegated to little more than a secondary character, I was greatly saddened that we only caught the odd glimpse of her former self. 

Alys {Alinor's daughter}, raised solely by her mother and having lived her life as she did on a London dockside, I'm afraid I just wasn't buying into her naivety and gullibility, of how easily and quickly she was duped. 

And talking of not buying into things ...

We have Sarah {Alynor's granddaughter/Alys' daughter}, a young woman, an indentured apprentice in a milliner's shop in seventeenth century London who knows more than one language. Really!!! I just about found it believable that she she was highly literate.

Then there's Livia. A character I had expected to love to hate but as it was, supposedly mysterious, as my nana was won't to say 'a blind man galloping past on a horse' would have instantly seen right through her ... as I did.

Rather disappointing in that ... 

Pointless to the larger narrative to which it proved something of a distraction but more than that, very much a secondary consideration; vividly depicted, I felt Ned's story warranted so much more. 

However, that said ... 

Not entirely put off, whilst Dark Tides didn't end on a cliff hanger, its obvious that there is more of the story waiting to be told {maybe's with Alinor and Ned's world's coming together? Who knows}.


PURCHASE DARK TIDESUK ~ USA ~ Canada ~ Australia & New Zealand ~ India


Kelly said...

I know I have Tidelands on my wish list, but I don't feel any hurry to add this one.

My younger daughter was at our house recently and decided to dig through some boxes of books still stored in her closet. She found exactly what she was looking for, but in the process unearthed three Philippa Gregory books I haven't read! They are now sitting on my shelf, waiting.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I enjoyed the first book so I'll temper my expectations for Dark Tides. I appreciate your review (and I didn't read the hidden text).

nightwingsraven said...

I am sorry that this book was a
disappointment for you in several
ways. For my part, I was already
uncertain about Tidelands and I am
also uncertain about Dark Tides.
And thank you for your honest and
excellent review.

Tanza Erlambang - Every Day Issues said...

I wish to read the book...
Thank you for your review

Karen said...

Hopefully there will be more and that will help bring the story together?

Karen @For What It's Worth

the bookworm said...

That's too bad this disappointed. I used to read Philippa Gregory often, mainly her Tudor books.
Thanks for your thoughts on this one!

Suko said...

Felicity, I always count on you to post honest reviews. Tidelands sounds like an exceptional book. I hope you are doing well.

So many books, so little time said...

I haven't read any of this author, I do have two I think of hers on my tbrm. Hope your next read is better for you xxx

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

DMS said...

That is a big gap between storylines. Interesting to hear your thoughts on this one. I haven't read Tidelands or this one- but I have read many books by Gregory. :) Thanks for the review.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

I've not yet read any of Philippa Gregory... Maybe I'll start with the first one in this series.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Sorry this one didn't quite stack up for you, especially as you enjoyed the first book in the series.

Way back I read Phillipa's early 'Wideacre' series, which I remember enjoying, but I haven't read any of her 'period' historical books.

I might add the 'Fairmile' series to my list, but I shan't be in too much of a rush to read it.

Thanks for always being so honest with your reviews, they are always a joy to read :)