I don’t really know how many times I have read The Wayward Tide but my love for this book appears to be undying. It’s practically tied with Lady of Horses for me. Now, without intentionally sounding like a hipster, I doubt many people have ever heard of this book, but more should have.
What is it about? For anyone who loves the Victorian period this book is for you. It starts with Rachel Deen, a lonely child growing up in NewFoundland, Nova Scotia in an unhappy family. One day she is granted a reprieve from her lonely existence when a ship wrecks on the coast and an injured Adam Gaunt comes to stay. Rachel loves him in her childish way, but soon the wilderness calls Adam away and Rachel is left to alone again. The Deen family slowly begins to accumulate more wealth, and by the time Rachel comes to be fostered by her aunt in London fate steps in and she finds herself in Adam’s company once more. Rachel’s fortunes are always changing as travels to the American frontier, and back again, losing as much as she gains.
The ups and downs of this book are incredible. Love, romance, fortune, coincidence, fate, complicated family relationships all rolled up in the period. In its own way it’s as believable as it is stretched, but you never notice. It was beautifully written and intriguing.
I found this book in the library, that most hated place, around the time I found Lady of Horses and it has stuck with me ever since. I had to go through hell to track it down. They don’t exactly sell in book stores anymore, so if you want to read it, you might have to order it off a use book site. On the bright side that probably makes it really cheap if you live in the US. There is even an equally hard to find sequel that following another heroine who interacts with many whom you were introduced to in the first book. It will never compete with its predecessor but it’s a good read if you want to find out how Rachel’s life plays out after the final chapter.
Unfortunately if you want anything recent by Alison McLeay she died a while back, so you’ll never find another masterpiece of hers like The Wayward Tide (though if you come across Passage Home that is it’s alternate title). It may be a pain in the ass to track down but I suggest you do it. If you do, it may become one of your most read books too.