Title: Yesterday’s Tides
Author: Roseanna M. White
Major Themes: Split-Time Fiction, World War I, World War II, Family, Romance
Synopsis: After coming across an injured British spy on the beach, Evie Farrow must decide whether to help him in his quest to uncover a German operative or not.
If you’ve read many of my reviews on this website over the past few years, you may have picked up that I’m quite a fan of Roseanna M. White’s books. It’s been close to a year since I read any of her works, though, so I was really looking forward to diving into Yesterday’s Tides when I had the chance. And what a story! It’s not my top favorite of her books…I don’t think…but it’s a close call at this point. I’ve often admired her way of bringing out rich characters and strong plots with intriguing historical details, and this book was no exception to the rule.
In 1914, Louisa Adair has plenty to keep her busy as she helps her mother run an inn on Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks. When a troubled young British aristocrat, Remington Culbreth, arrives on the island and he and Louisa fall in love, both young people know that they have significant challenges ahead of them. Remington has never been able to live up to his parent’s expectations, and with World War I starting in Europe, his father is demanding his return to England to help with the war effort. Louisa is poor, uneducated, and part-Black—all marks against her as far as his family is concerned. When they decide to marry anyway, and then get separated mere weeks after their wedding, can family problems and the war collude to keep them apart?
In 1942, Evie Farrow is helping her grandmother keep the inn going, despite World War II knocking at their doorstep. The ocean in front of them is quickly earning the nickname “Torpedo Junction”, and when an injured British spy is washed up on the shore, she does what anyone else would—tries to help him. When she realizes he didn’t just happen to come on shore, and is seeking a German operative he thinks might be hiding out on the island, she must decide whether or not to lend him her aid. But will she be okay when he starts to uncover secrets from her family’s past?
I loved all the layers of mystery and intrigue that Mrs. White brought into play in Yesterday’s Tides. Though I feel like the split-time genre could be getting to be a little over-used right now, I did love the way she did things here. I was kept guessing through most of the book about a variety of things, and I loved that—it’s been ages since I was able to read a good mystery!
There were other things to love, too. The history was fascinating, and included some codebreaking, which I thought was pretty fun! There were a couple of romances in the story, so if you don’t like to read much romance, this might not be a book for you, but I thought it all tied together rather well. I enjoyed getting to “experience” Ocracoke Island through the lens of this story—it is a place I’d love to visit one day, if I get a chance! I was also delighted that White pulled in a lot of the other characters from her previous series, giving us a rare glimpse into their lives after their books ended.
Apart from a few scenes of the war, this was a fairly relaxing, engaging read. Recommended, especially if you have enjoyed other Roseanna M. White books. It’s a goodie!
I was given a review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: Blast or a variant is used in ch. 1, 4, 7, 12, 15, 21, and 23; gee is used in ch. 1; “heaven help them” is used in ch. 2 and 18; heavens is used in ch. 4 and 19; swear, swore, or a variant is used in ch. 5 (twice), 6, 8, 13, 15, 17 (four times), 23 (twice), and 25 (twice); geez is used in ch. 5; “like the dickens” and blighter is used in ch. 6; gracious is used in ch. 7, 14, 17, and 21 (twice); “hang it all” or “be hanged” is used in ch. 7, 13, and 15; blighted is used in ch. 9, 14, 15 (twice), 16, and 20; blimey is used in ch. 9; curse or a variant is used in ch. 9, 12, 23, and 26; “what in blazes” is used in ch. 10 and 16; dratted is used in ch. 12; blamed is used in ch. 13; and “what the devil” is used in ch. 19. There is lying in ch. 2 and 8, a continued lie throughout the book, and people have falsified papers in ch. 25.
Several times, there are mentions that a Catholic character prayed while holding beads. Characters pray for dead people’s souls in ch. 8.
Drinking beer is mentioned in ch. 2 and 4, and a drunkard who ended up drowning is mentioned in ch. 3.
A man is nearly caught in an explosion in ch. 2, and is badly burned, and someone threatens him with a gun. In ch. 3, a woman thinks about a friend who had an abusive father. In ch. 5, there is a description of people rescuing bodies after an explosion. In ch. 7, there is a comment: “ . . . everyone had known the master was Grann’s father.” In ch. 15, a story is recounted about a man who died when his house was set on fire, and the story is told in a little more detail in ch. 17. There is a mention of a man who was killed in ch. 18. A man goes to a bombsite to help people in ch. 21 (just a brief description of the destruction). In ch. 23, a character talks down at another character: “ . . . given your Negro blood,” and a woman fears for her life. In ch. 24, there is a story of a woman who gave herself as a mistress to an army officer (who killed multiple people and almost killed her). Two people are shot in ch. 25. There is a story of someone who died in ch. 27. People hold a man at gunpoint in ch. 28.
A man studies a woman’s figure and she accidentally stumbles into him in ch. 3. A man thinks about a woman’s figure in ch. 4 and 16. Unmarried characters touch in ch. 6, 7, 9, 10 (some kissing), 11, an unmarried couple ends up staying out late in a hideout trying to track down a man in ch. 14 (nothing happens, but it isn’t a great situation), and there is more touching in ch. 19, 22, 24 (a kiss), 25, and 28. A married couple kisses in ch. 12, 23, and 25, and a woman is pregnant in ch. 17. An estranged marriage is mentioned several times in the story.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults