Holy time jumps, Batman. Dark Tides picks up with Alinor, Alys and Rob twenty years after we last left them. They have had many changes to their circumstances. Alinor has never recovered from her dunking and Alys is now our strong female lead running both of their businesses. Her two children are adults and trying to make a new life for themselves as apprentices. Quickly we learn that Rob, who had become a doctor in Venice is now dead and his widow, Livia, and son have arrived looking for shelter. Immediately, Alinor is suspicious.
The strength of the character development was the best part of the story for me. I must say, Livia is one of the most manipulative characters I think I’ve ever come across. She was so fun to read, the intrigue about who she really was, what she was trying to achieve and if she’d get away with it were fabulous. Sarah, Alys’s daughter also became a favorite of mine. Her strength, conviction and curiosity are everything I loved about Alinor in book one.
The Venice section was a great addition, the intrigue of Italian politics and the backstabbing suspicion and betrayals of the time added lots of drama. I also love books that take place on the sea so having the scenes with the Captain, discussions of merchant trade vessels and the fears about the plague really enriched the story for me. Reminded me a little of The Devil and the Dark Water, my favorite read of 2020.
My one criticism is that I did not understand the need for Ned’s story. As someone who loves reading about pre-colonial America, I enjoyed the story she was telling but felt it supremely unnecessary to move forward the Reekie family story. It should have been its own book where Ned and his pre-American friends could have been more well developed.
Tidelands was one of my favorite reads of 2019 so I had high hopes for Dark Tides. I think if this were a standalone historical fiction I may have rated it slightly higher. I was disappointed by the lack of page-time for Alinor and James. I had higher hopes for their reunion after all these years and there were very few scenes between the two. I had hoped for much more passion and anger. He got his comeuppance in the end but I really hated Alinor not giving him what he deserved. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Do you like a big time jump in a sequel? It’s always a huge disappointment for me.