2 December 2014

Review #95: The Silent Tide by Rachel Hore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Your choices are your only freedom.”

Lailah Gifty Akita, a Ghanaian and founder of Smart Youth Volunteers Foundation, quotes this remarkable line.

Rachel Hore, an English best-selling author from London, has penned down a charming and alluring story about past and present entwined by a manuscript in her new book, The Silent Tide.

London, the present day: Emily Gordon has found her dream job, editor at a small publishing house. When the biography of a late great English novelist crosses her desk, she discovers, buried beneath the history, a story that simply has to be told...

London, 1948: Isabel Barber has barely arrived in the city when a chance meeting leads to a job offer, and a fascinating career beckons. But as she develops a close working relationship with a charismatic young debut novelist the professional soon becomes personal, and she finds herself fighting for her very survival...

I have heard that all of Rachel Hore's novels are very compelling because of her ability to create authentic characters against the historic backdrop. Her latest novel follows the lives of Emily and Isabel, two incredible women moving in the publishing world, separated by many years. Emily is given the opportunity to find out more about a recently deceased famous author, Hugh Morton, whose biography will be published by her publishing house. She is soon drawn into the world of this famous author when she comes across Morton's previous novel with a dedication to a woman named, "Isabel" rather than Morton's dreadful widow, Jacqueline. Emily is buckled down to learn more about Isabel's untold story. Isabel- the fragile, little determined girl, who ran away from her home to search for a job and by accident stumbled on the publishing world in the post-war London in the year 1948. Falling in love with Huge Morton was something extraordinary for Isabel but getting married to the same man was something equally horrifying for her. But what became of Isabel is a complete mystery to Emily. So could Emily learn about the last chapter of Isabel's life from Morton's terrifying widow?

I liked Emily and her publishing job right away. The author has given us a glimpse into the world of publishing which can sometimes be a tedious job, but a lot of fun while discovering new authors and their manuscripts. But I could not agree to her relationship with a struggling poet, Matthew, who used to treat her very poorly and still Emily, loved to hold on to his thoughts! I thought Emily was the epitome of a modern-day independent woman, instead I found that she is lacking from any self-respect since she clung to her boyfriend's memories even after her break-up. Hence that disappointed me a bit!

I not only loved Isabel's character, but also adored her as well as Rachel Hore for portraying her side of story as a memoir. The author did not fed us with Isabel's everyday life instead she gave us a glimpse into her life and that kept me on the loop to keep on anticipating about her mysterious life-story. And the way the author has written about her issues made me empathizing with Isabel's situation. The author addressed all the issues faced by the women back in the 50s from finding a job, to making a decision, to getting pregnant against her wishes, everything has been portrayed very sensitively by the author thus presenting us with a long, well-researched historical novel in easy and approachable prose.

The author moved coherently between the past and the present and right at the end of a chapter, I knew what I wanted to know next. The author's narration is smooth like a free-flowing river. And the mystery about Isabel's past will pull you into the depth of the river. The setting of Norfolk and London were done very strikingly, since I felt myself swaying from the contemporary London life to the 1950s life in Norfolk. And oh my! The beauty of the landscape was very well captured by the author.

Verdict: You can't miss out this sumptuously evocative historical masterpiece.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author and her publishers from Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a review copy of the book. 

Author's Info:
Rachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, Norfolk.
Rachel is the author of six novels, The Dream House (2006), The Memory Garden (2007), The Glass Painter's Daughter (2009), which was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Novel of the Year 2010, A Place of Secrets (2010), which was a Richard and Judy Bookclub pick, and A Gathering Storm (2011), which was a Sunday Times Top 5 bestseller and shortlisted for the RNA Historical Novel of the year, 2012. Her most recent novel, The Silent Tide, was published in 2013.
Her new novel, A Week in Paris, is published in paperback in the UK on 9th October 2014.
Visit her here

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