One winter’s afternoon, voice coach Sonia opens the door of her beautiful riverside home to fifteen-year-old Jez, the nephew of a family friend. He’s come to borrow some music. Sonia invites him in and soon decides that she isn’t going to let him leave.
As Sonia’s desire to keep Jez hidden and protected from the outside world becomes all the more overpowering, she is haunted by memories of an intense teenage relationship, which gradually reveal a terrifying truth. The River House, Sonia’s home since childhood, holds secrets within its walls. And outside, on the shores of the Thames, new ones are coming in on the tide …
TIDELINE – MY THOUGHTS
Tideline is my ‘book I own but have never read’ selection for my 2018 book challenge. It was another charity shop purchase for around 50p. I picked it up because I loved the cover (I’m so bad for judging books by covers!) and the blurb really intrigued me. It’s been sat on my bookcase for probably around a year now, but this challenged inspired me to pick it up finally.
I’m going to say from the start that this book made me VERY uncomfortable. At its core, Tideline is a tale of child abduction. One evening, 15-year-old Jez comes to Sonia’s door to borrow a music album. After getting him drunk, she decides to keep him.
Obviously the tale is not quite that simple as what follows is a complex story which follows Sonia’s mental state as the past mixes with the present with increasing frequency, and the turmoil that Jez’s disappearance causes within an unstable family dynamic.
It without a doubt beautifully written and extremely emotive. The natural connection with the Thames is both physical and emotional, and Tideline gives you a glimpse into the psyche of a very disturbed individual. Sonia is never overtly ‘bad’ though, and as a reader you cannot help but connect with and feel sorry for her. To a certain extent at least. She is so obviously dependant on The River House, you cannot help but be captivated as her past comes to life in the present and her perception of right and wrong becomes increasingly distorted.
Although slow to start, Tideline is a slow burner which – before you know it – keeps you gripped and turning the pages until the very end. A lot seems to be excused and forgiven in the book though and I can’t help but think that my reaction to this book would have been very different if Sonia were a man and Jez a 15-year-old girl. That made me sad, as regardless of gender, Sonia still abducted and abused Jez while he was in her care. That is what makes me uncomfortable about Tideline.
I can’t say I enjoyed it – that’s the wrong word. However, I will say it’s a gripping story, that is beautifully told and keeps you turning those pages until the very last secret is revealed. And there’s a lot of secrets that Tideline is hiding!
Tideline is currently available on Amazon (affiliate link) for £5.99.