Tag Archives: “The Silent Tide” “Rachel Hore” “Van Demal” “Book Review” “review”

Van has finished reading…The Silent Tide by Rachel Hore

25 Nov

There was much talk of Rachel Hore’s The Silent Tide at the Curtis Brown Book Group when we discussed The Glass Painter’s Daughter recently so it was nice to have a reason to shift it up the TBR pile. There are distinct similarities between the two: the dual timeline; the uncovering of documentation from the earlier era; the modern day protagonist trying to forge her path both emotionally and professionally. Following one so hot on the heels of the other I half expected this to clang but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Indeed, to suggest some overriding pattern would be like boiling down a library into seven identifiable plots. It would also be to miss Rachel’s adeptness in weaving her threads together; her skill in placing what is revealed precisely when it’s revealed; the depth of and interplay between her characters.
This last point is for me what I enjoyed most about The Silent Tide. The opening chapter is atmospheric and melancholic, casting a long and tantalising shadow over the rest of the book. We are as a result on side with Isabel from early on. I found it very interesting that my sympathies for the other characters wavered quite as much as they did, and all this without my feeling manipulated into it. There are no becloaked villains nor white-hatted heroes. Instead we have a finely drawn cast of humans, all damaged to some extent. Even at his most infuriating I had to remind myself that while I could allow a little rant at Hugh every now and then his behaviour, his demeanour is well within the norms of his time.
The earlier timeline would easily have stood on its own without the present-day element but what this addition gives us the lens through which we can look back and gauge what’s changed. And of course how much has not changed at all. There are some wry asides regarding the tastes of the public both then and now (how many of us groaned together at Mermaids and Zombies?) but also how much of a gamble it is to publish any book, no matter how good. Recognisable too are the cast of hopefuls and their delicate nursing of their work.

The Silent Tide is a really engaging read, easy to lose yourself in and increasingly harder to put down towards the end. Despite that first chapter foreshadowing the end, and thus a deal of the story heading where you’d expect it to, it’s the investment in the characters that truly carries the tale. Not that there isn’t a surprise or two thrown in to boot! This is one to save for those moments when you can squeeze in some good, uninterrupted reading time.

The Silent Tide was originally published by Simon & Schuster in 2013. ISBN:9781849832908
You can find Rachel Hore on Twitter @RachelHore or at her website: rachelhore.co.uk