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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Book Review: Rising Tide by Susan Roebuck

Time, and most of Portugal, has almost forgotten Luminosa, a small fishing community on the Alentejo coast. A cluster of white and blue cottages huddle under the cliffs overshadowed by the great manor of Herdade Albatroz whose family has ruled the village since the days of Napoleon. Far off the tourist route, nobody visits Luminosa by chance.

When a ruthless American racketeer turns up, the peaceful village's way of life could be ruined forever. But will other visitors - Piper Pines, seeking news of her long dead Portuguese mother, and Leo Shine, bereft of a father and brother accused of terrible crimes - help or hinder his objective to drag Luminosa into the twenty-first century?


Image credit: Susan Roebuck / Mundania Press
This was my first Susan Roebuck book, and seeing as I won the book in a giveaway (thanks to the lovely people at DarkWorld Books) I really had no idea what to expect. I hadn't even read the blurb - I literally just opened the book on my Kindle and started to read.

And the book hooked me instantly.

Beautiful descriptions

Susan Roebuck has a way with words - her descriptions aren't overly long and don't drag on (I'm looking at you, Victor Hugo) but they immediately take you to the places she's writing about. She manages to capture the feel of the places and translate them across to the reader brilliantly. I've never been to Portugal or Alaska, but now I've read Rising Tide the two seem so familiar. I do know the Norfolk coastline though, and Roebuck has managed to capture its beauty perfectly. And coming from someone who loves that part of the world more than almost anywhere else, that's got to be high praise.

Apart from the great descriptions, the characters are Rising Tide's other strong point. The two main characters, Piper and Leo, come from opposite ends of the world, yet are more alike than they initially realise. I really liked both of them and found myself willing them to get together for the majority of the book! In fact, thinking about it, there was only one character in the whole book that I didn't like (and the least said about her, the better). Even the 'baddies' had redeeming features, and they were definitely all strong characters.

Too many coincidences?

The overall storyline of the book was good, and I enjoyed it. The beginning hooked me in right from the start, and things only got more interesting as we moved to Portugal. But then things started to lose their spark. I felt the story got a little lost around the middle and also lost its pace, but luckily things picked up again before the end. Some parts were also too unbelievable for my liking. I'm not talking about the slight magical - for want of a better word - elements, because I liked those and I would have preferred to have seen them explored more (why could Piper see the colours in the water; why could Leo sense the sea's moods?). I mean the whole coincidences of it being the Fletchers that Piper took to the airport, the likelihood of Piper and Leo being in Luminosa at the same time, the fact that everyone seemed to be related... This isn't to say I didn't enjoy it, because I did, quite a lot, but I just would have liked it more if these parts had managed to fit in better with the tone of the rest of the book.

But in all seriousness, this book is worth reading for the quality of the descriptions alone. Considering I'm not really a visual reader, the fact that I could see the places and the people in perfect detail in my mind's eye while reading goes a long way to showing Roebuck's worth as a writer.

Rating: 4 stars.

Rising Tide is available to buy now.

Will you be reading Rising Tide? Let me know in the comments below!

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