Following the death of her last living relative, Hetty Deveraux leaves London and her strained relationship behind for Muirlan, her ancestral home in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. She intends to renovate the ruinous house into a hotel, but the shocking discovery of human remains brings her ambitious restoration plans to an abrupt halt before they even begin. Few physical clues are left to identify the body, but one thing is certain: this person did not die a natural death.
Hungry for answers, Hetty discovers that Muirlan was once the refuge of her distant relative Theo Blake, the acclaimed painter and naturalist who brought his new bride, Beatrice, there in 1910. Yet ancient gossip and a handful of leads reveal that their marriage was far from perfect; Beatrice eventually vanished from the island, never to return, and Theo withdrew from society, his paintings becoming increasingly dark and disturbing.
What happened between them has remained a mystery, but as Hetty listens to the locals and studies the masterful paintings produced by Theo during his short-lived marriage, she uncovers secrets that still reverberate through the small island community—and will lead her to the identity of the long-hidden body.
I love the idea of the Scottish Western Isles as the setting for this story. Imagine a house on a small island and the only way to get out to it is at low tide. Historically the land is reported to have prehistoric structures. Though the House Between the Tides is a modern story that blends with a story in the not too distant past.
Hetty inherits a house that was owned by her relative and painter Theo Bake. When she travels to the area she is immediately drawn into the houses past. This opens up much doubt if it is wise to renovate the house. The house is in ruins and is crumbling. Not only that human remains put a halt to her plans. Then begins the mystery of whose body it is and brings past secrets to life.
I was so intrigued with the premise and title. When I began to read the story, it did not disappoint me. I found the characters’ lives extraordinary and the family connections fascinating. The description of the small community, their surroundings, the Island are beautifully told and so mysterious!
I love these kind of stories and hope to see more like this from the author!
I rated this book four stars and have obtained a copy through NetGalley for an honest review.
Stephanie M. Hopkins