Ahh, historical fiction in times of war - a favourite of mine. The tagline on the cover of Genevieve Graham's new book Tides of Honour made this a must read for me - "Halifax 1917 - Love in a Time of War. Canadian historical fiction!
Tides of Honour opens in 1916 with Danny Baker returning home from WWI to the small fishing outport of East Jeddore, Nova Scotia - minus a leg. While in France, Danny had met a young woman named Audrey. Both smitten, they had struck up a written correspondence that sustained them both through troubled times. They plan to marry when the war is over, but with the loss of his leg, Danny tries to end it. Tides of Honour is told from both Danny and Audrey's perspective, with both protagonists having their own chapters.
Graham has woven a lovely historical piece around war, the aftermath and it's effect on individuals, communities and society. The Halifax Explosion is part of history every Canadian should know about and Graham depicts it very well. But, it is romance that is at the heart of this novel. Graham hits all the right notes for a love story - love found, love lost, barriers (social, mental, physical and there's a well drawn antagonist it's impossible not to dislike) and a rocky path to resolution. I became caught up in Danny and Audrey's story - hoping for a happy ending. I did find that there were perhaps one too many 'push me, pull me, yes or no moments' near the end of the novel. And, I question a plot point involving Audrey, given her interest and support of the Suffragette movement. But that aside, I was caught up in their story from start to finish.
I loved the setting - I've traveled to Nova Scotia and visited both Halifax and the area around Jeddore. Graham did a wonderful job bringing these locations to life - I was able to easily envision them. The easy community, friendliness and perseverance of the Nova Scotians is just as well portrayed through the supporting players. Graham herself makes her home on the island - her first hand view shows in her work.
Tides of Honour is an easy, enjoyable read perfect for the back porch after dinner. Read an excerpt of Tides of Honour.
Readers can keep up with Genevieve Graham on Twitter as well as on Facebook.
Canadian readers, you can join Susanna Kearsley and Genevieve Graham on the "Timeless Tour" from May 9 - May 13th. More information can be found here.