1 June 2015

Review: London Tides by Carla Laureano

Excellent characters in a great location

London Tides is the much-awaited sequel to RITA Award-winner Five Days in Skye, which was about James MacDonald. It’s been too long, partly because the author has released two fantasy novels (as C.E. Laureano) in the meantime. I thoroughly enjoyed Five Days in Skye, so was looking forward to reading this sequel. I found it hard to get in to, but in the end it didn’t disappoint.

Grace Brennan is a photojournalist who’s spent the last ten years working in war zones. She’s produced some amazing photographs, but the personal cost has been too high, as illustrated by numerous tattoos commemorating colleagues she has lost … as well as the nightmares and the flashbacks. Now she’s back in London with no idea what to do, except reconnect with

Ian MacDonald is an ex-Olympic rower and Chief Operations Officer of his brother’s growing hospitality business, which includes several restaurants, a BBC TV show, books, and a hotel. He’s almost forty, and still single after since the love of his life left him ten years ago, six months before their wedding. He forgave her, he still loves her, and now she’s back.

The author has done an excellent job in researching London life and locations, particularly around rowing. But there were a handful of language glitches which reminded me the novel is written by an American, not a Londoner. Or perhaps the language was edited to make it more accessible to American audiences. Either way, these glitches meant I did have some trouble getting in to the story.

My other possible area of concern was around the Christian elements of the plot. It was obvious neither Ian nor Grace were practicing Christians ten years ago, and their present faith was also ambiguous. There wasn’t a distinct faith thread to appeal to the Christian reader, yet there were perhaps too many ‘God’ references to appeal to the general market reader. The low-key Christianity might appeal to British Christian readers (who prefer their Christian fiction not be too overt), but those readers will pick up on the language glitches.

These two issues aside, I enjoyed London Tides. Grace was a fascinating character, driven by forces she didn’t entirely understand. Ian was an amalgamation of many of the men I worked with in London, and I’m pretty sure I met his mother at least once. There was plenty of attraction between the two right from the start (and it was good to see in kept in check), but there was also plenty of conflict, mainly arising from Grace’s (understandable) personal lack of direction. This combination made for an excellent plot, with a variety of characters and a welcome cameo from James and Andrea (from Five Days in Skye).

Now I’m waiting for the final book, to see if Serena meets her match …

Thanks to David C Cook and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Carla Laureano at her website.

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