Early Book Review: Dark Tides by Celia Ashley
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Haunting. Elegant. Chilling. Unexpectedly beautiful.
Dark Tides is a unique literary experience. Ms. Ashley’s prose sets a peaceful rhythm, steady and sedate, lulling her readers into falling right into the heart of the story. It flows so effortlessly, from character to environment to scene, that the book slips by in lazy snatches of time.
She lowered her lids against the glare of the sun. The constant sea breeze tugged at her hair, loosening strands from the barrette at the back of her head. She breathed in and out, evenly, deeply, trying to banish the emotion pushing toward the surface. Gulls circled overhead, crying in the wind, waiting for a scrap or two of food she did not possess to offer. The waves crashed against the wet sand of the shoreline, curling and foaming, the beach empty, as it often was this time of year.
Ms. Ashley’s voice for Meg is just lovely. Even if she never said a single line of dialogue, our heroine would still glide through the pages with the grace of a princess and the giving, caring heart of a mother. Caleb’s presence, while less skillfully refined, benefits from the author’s natural style while still emanating a sense of experienced capability and gentle strength. Their psychic connection to one another is an interesting twist that I found added an extra dimension of excitement and intrigue to the plot. That said, I did have some trouble really getting into the book. It felt somewhat dragging, partly (I believe) due to the author using very similar voices for both characters. While it did lull me into reading, it also didn’t inspire me to keep reading until somewhere in the second half.
The supernatural element alternated between creeping me out and inspiring a warm, cozy sense of home. I didn’t expect the ending, even though I’d dismissed it as a possibility earlier in the story, so I was pleasantly surprised by the turn of events at the conclusion. I would absolutely recommend this book to any reader looking for ghostly romantic suspense tales with gentle pacing and low-to-moderate heat.
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If you like a little paranormal activity of the ghostly variety with your romance, consider Nora Robert’s Blue Dahlia, the first in her haunting-yet-romantic In The Garden series. You may also enjoy Ghost Seer by Robin D. Owens. (affiliate links)
Dark Tides is…