The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine takes place in two time periods. Hetty Devereaux inherits her ancestral home Muirlan in Scotland and decides to visit, hoping to renovate and turn it into a hotel. She has grown disillusioned with her life and with her boyfriend Giles, and the old family home gives her an excuse to get away.
The house, however, is in dreadful shape, and the man hired to evaluate the situation and give an estimate of cost advises her to tear it down.
In addition to the sad state of the mansion, shortly before Hettie's arrival, a human skeleton has been unearthed. As Sarah tries to cope with the condition of the house and possible collapse of her plans, she also is curious about whose remains were buried and why.
The last occupant of the house was her distant uncle, Theo Blake, a painter who achieved early acclaim, but whose final paintings were distressing. Since Blake's death in the 1940's, the grand old home has been unoccupied.
The story shifts back and forth between 2010 and Hettie's visit and 1910 when Theo Blake brings Beatrice, his young wife, to his childhood home. Beatrice falls in love with the surrounding area and wildlife, but she is confused as her husband seems to cut himself off emotionally.
There are quite a few convenient/contrived coincidences, but the book has finely toned atmospheric and Gothic elements. "What's past is prologue...."
The House Between Tides is Maine's debut novel, but it was first published in 2014 with the title Bhalla Strand.
Read in April; blog post scheduled for July 22, 2016.
Mystery/Romance. 2014; Aug. 2, 2016. Print length: 400 pages.