Sunday, 25 March 2012

Orange 2012: Tides of War (Stella Tillyard)

I remember a great deal of publicity when Tides of war came out last year, the book itself didn't really interest me as it is a historical novel, but I've gritted my teeth and got on with it as it is on the Orange longlist.

It's a tale of two halves essentially, we learn about Harriet's life at home in Regency England interspersed with her husband James' life in Spanish fighting in the peninsular war. It's obviously well researched as there is enough detail to give one a good sense of life back then, always very much more important in a historical novel where the reader isn't necessarily au fait with the circumstances.

Whilst I enjoyed reading about Harriet's life in London, attending lectures at the Royal Instution and developing a fascination with chemistry, making friends and so on, and found her to be a likeable character, I was disinterested in the battle scenes and descriptions of the war.

If you like historical fiction, then do pick this up, I am sure that it is an excellent example of the genre. It is just that I don't.


  1. You read History at university didn't you, Verity? Do you think that studying history turned you against historical novels or is there some other reason? I too studied history, but I really like good historical fiction.

    1. I never had much affinity with with history before the start of the 20th century so although I don't mind novels set up to a hundred years ago I am just not interested really before that. So I think it's more to do with where my historical interests don't lie than anything else.

  2. I'm struggling with this & I do like a good bit of historical fiction. Can't quite put my finger on why I'm not gelling with it at the moment. Will persevere.

  3. Nope. Definitely didn't do it for me. Too much detail overwhelmed the characters.


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