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of War is “one of the most assured literary debuts in years…the perfect answer to anyone who believes that the past is out of date” (Amanda Foreman, Financial Times).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?