Sunday, May 10, 2015

Tides of Honour by Genevieve Graham

A novel of love, loss, and honour amidst the horrors of war and its aftermath.

In the summer of 1916, Private Daniel Baker marches into battle with the boys of Nova Scotia’s 25th Battalion. Out of brutal necessity, Danny has steeled himself against the trials and horrors of war, but he is completely unprepared to meet the love of his life in war-torn France.

Audrey Poulin has the soul of an artist. She lives alone with her grandmother in the quiet French countryside, where her only joy is in her brush and palette. When, by chance, she encounters Danny, the handsome young soldier captures her heart and inspires her painting. The young lovers believe that only together can they face the hardships the war brings.

But love is just the beginning. Mere months later, Danny is gravely wounded at the Battle of the Somme, and his future is thrown into uncertainty. Soon, he and Audrey find themselves struggling to build a new life in Halifax, a city grieving its lost men. As the grey winter of 1917 sets in, Danny’s lack of purpose and Audrey’s isolation continue to mount, pulling the two apart just as a new catastrophe threatens their existence.

Heartrending and enthralling, Tides of Honour is a novel of love and second chances set against Halifax’s most devastating moment of the First World War.

Review by Mirella Patzer

France, 1916. When Audrey Poulin encounters a troop of Canadian soldiers, she gives them shelter and food for the night. Among them is Private Daniel Baker. An instant enchantment arises between them and by the time he has to depart, they are deeply in love with each other. As the war rages, the young lovers exchange letters and they promise to wed as soon as Danny can return. But destiny intervenes and Danny is severely wounded. He releases Audrey from her pledge to marry him. But Audrey's deep love for Danny won't allow it. She travels from France to Nova Scotia, a vastly different life and setting from the French countryside where she grew up, and there she falls in love with the village and her new family. The aftermath of war is far reaching and Danny grows ever more despondent, bringing conflict and loss into their lives. It takes a major Canadian disaster for the two lovers to find themselves once more.

This multi-layered novel and its intriguing subplots makes this one of the best novels I've read this year. It's more than a love story. The tale successfully incorporates World War I, the Halifax explosion, and two different countries and blends it with subthemes of love, art, family, loss, PTSD. Rich, compelling, and totally engrossing - this novel is definitely one to read! Historically accurate and brilliantly researched, the story is alive and vivid. Loved this novel and I highly recommend it to everyone from all nations, but especially to Canadian readers!