• Jessie Wolf

Secrets of the Tides by Hannah Richell

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

**spoiler alert** I don't even know where to begin... this book is incredible. I was reading it on a train and the people around me must have thought I was having a heart attack or something. I was struggling to draw breath, tears welling up in my eyes. It is just so beautifully written.


The order it's written, going from present to past, makes it all the more incredible and gripping to read. You know something bad has happened to this family but you have no idea what until about halfway through. And then you get to see how each character deals with the guilt and loss in their own separate and heartbreaking way. And then what comes after, when the immediate hurt and pain has washed away. What are you left with then? It's interesting to see how each character develops, from being so utterly consumed by Alfie's death, and how they each feel to blame for it, to some semblance of happiness towards the end.


The story also deals with many other issues: coming of age, coming out, adultery, the feelings of complete isolation and lostness, self harm - things that I myself can relate to. I think that is one of the reasons I felt so drawn to the characters. To see their journeys past something terrible. I associate with Cassie's struggle the most as it holds a strong resemblance to what my own life used to be like but I also felt how Richard felt about not being able to smile or laugh after something like this. I have lost people, people extremely close and important to me and I remember thinking at the time how could we laugh or smile when the world has lost such a smiling, happy character, tragically and way too soon. But as it shows in the book we must live our lives to the fullest, for them as they will never get the chance to do so, they would not want us to be miserable in their name. It is lovely and lightening to see how they learn to move past it, not to forget him but to remember the love and light when he was there, not the black hole that he has left behind.


This story has everything: laughter, tears, reflection, family, love, lesbianism and even a tardis thrown in for good measure. An absolutely beautiful book, there aren't enough stars in the universe.

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