Tides of War by Stella Tillyard
Publication Date: October 2011
Categories: Literary, Historical
Source: Thanks to Gabrielle Gantz at Picador
An epic novel about love and war, set in Regency England and Spain during the Peninsular War
Tides of War opens in England with the recently married, charmingly unconventional Harriet preparing to say good-bye to her husband, James, as he leaves to join the Duke of Wellington’s troops in Spain. Harriet’s and James’s interwoven stories of love and betrayal propel this sweeping and dramatic novel as it moves between Regency London on the cusp of modernity—a city in love with science, the machine, and money—and the shocking violence of the war in Spain. With dazzling skill, Stella Tillyard explores not only the effects of war on the men at the front but also the freedoms it offers the women left behind. A powerful rendering of the Napoleonic era and a brilliant examination of battles yet to come, Tides of War is “one of the most assured literary debuts in years…the perfect answer to anyone who believes that the past is out of date” (Amanda Foreman, Financial Times).
As soon as I started reading this I had a feeling it would be one of those sweeping, historical epic types of books that I adore. I wasn’t wrong.
One of the things that I love about historical fiction is that it teaches me something and it inspires me to learn more. When I’m furiously googling the people and places featured in a book I know it was a good one. The Peninsular War is an area in which my knowledge was seriously lacking. After reading this I feel like I have a better grasp of the life and times of people during that time.
Tides of War is full of characters, both historical and figures from the author’s imagination. If I had one problem with this book it is that there were almost too many people to keep track of. (Not until I was done reading it did I discover the Dramatis Personae listed in the back.) I felt a bit bogged down in the middle, my head was full of all of the people and I was trying to keep them straight. I think some background knowledge of this war would have helped me as well.
I would absolutely recommend Tides of War to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Read an excerpt here.
Have you read this one?
13 thoughts on “Tides of War by Stella Tillyard”
I love historical fiction when it is done well! I think the best historical fiction reads make me wonder which parts are real, which are fake, and propel me to google to find out!
Exactly!! That is the nerdy goodness about a good historical read 🙂
Historical fiction makes me start googling too. 🙂 I'm not too familiar with the Peninsular War, so I'd probably have to research it first before reading this book if not much background info is given. Great review!
Isn't the best? Being inspired to learn more about a subject? Man I love that! Thanks Diana!
I have this one on my stacks, but I haven't read it yet. Mostly because I have a big gap in my brain where The Peninsular War will go after I do some research. lol I love historical fiction, too. Especially when it's sweeping and epic and intrigues me into learning more.
Oh, and you, my dear, must be a SUPER FAST reader. It seems like just yesterday you said you were starting this one.
I think you enjoyed it more than I did although I did like it. I enjoyed the parts with Harriet but thought the war parts were a bit dull – I'm generally not into military history anyway.
I hear you there, I think the military parts may have been smoother if I'd known more about the particular war?
I really would like to find a few more books that tell the tale of the Peninsular war. I should make that a mission. This book was told from the other side of Napoleon/France..mostly from the point of view of the general who eventually beat Napoleon at Waterloo. Good stuff…I just want MORE.
Guilty as charged 😉
I will definitely be adding this one to my tbr pile. Thanks for the review.
I'm glad to hear it Melissa, I hope you like it!
I haven't read it, but I've seen the cover and love the sound of it. The second paragraph of your thoughts – I do that too. Wikipedia is great when you've finished a book and want to know more.