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Monday, February 12, 2018

Moody, Broody Hebridean Mystery Atmospheric and Engrossing

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When Hetty Deveraux inherits her crumbling ancestral home in Scotland's Outer Hebrides, she decides to transform the dilapidated edifice into a hotel.  Never having seen the property before, she's shocked at the ruinous state of Muirlan House.  Even if she sinks every penny she's got into the place, it won't be enough.  With potential backers in London, Hetty decides to go forward with the plan anyway.  

Hetty's project goes awry almost immediately.  She's meeting resistance from locals who don't want their quaint island turned into a fancy tourist destination.  Then, bones are discovered at Muirlan House.  With police crawling all over her property, she doesn't know what to think.  Who could possibly be buried in the old house?  

As Hetty digs into the house's history, she learns it once sheltered Theo Blake, a distant relative and a skilled painter of some renown.  She also discovers that the bride he brought to Muirlan House disappeared without a trace in 1910.  Could the bones be those of Beatrice Blake?  If so, what happened to the couple's seemingly happy marriage?  By listening to local gossip and studying Theo's increasingly dark, disturbing paintings, Hetty hopes to find answers to explain the past and guide her future.

Thanks to Peter May, I'm all in for novels set in the wilds of the Outer Hebrides.  Initially, that's what drew me to The House Between Tides by English author Sarah Maine.  The novel's premise did the rest—I'm always up for a family secrets novel set in a mysterious old house in the middle of a moody, broody landscape.  And you know what?  The House Between Tides did not disappoint.  With it's atmospheric setting and tense, suspenseful plot, it sucked me right in.  Yes, I saw the big reveal coming, but there were other twists that caught me by surprise.  Overall, I enjoyed this one and will definitely be checking out Maine's previous (and future) books. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz as well as Hebridean mysteries by Peter May and novels by Kate Morton)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The House Between Tides from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.
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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain



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