Running Against the Tide by Amanda Ortlepp
Published by Simon & Schuster Australia on March 1st 2016 b
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The past will always find you.
Erin Travers is running away from her life and taking her two sons with her to a small town on the ruggedly beautiful Eyre Peninsula. The close-knit township is full of happy childhood memories for Erin, but she’s bringing a whole lot of baggage with her.
When the peaceful community is disrupted by theft and arson, rumours fly about who is responsible. In a small town where lives are tangled too closely together, old grudges flare, fingers are pointed and secrets are unmasked.
From the bestselling author of Claiming Noah, Running Against the Tide is brimming with malice and threat and cements Amanda Ortlepp as one of Australia’s most compelling storytellers.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
A suspenseful story told with a distinctive Australian voice. Not so much though, that would put off an international reader, but it added an realistic tone to the story. More than one scenario has you wondering who’s responsible for the unnerving drama surrounding single mum Erin Travers, who returns to set up home in Mallee Bay. My inability to distinguish the good guys from the bad, had some of my early character assumptions way off. I would have never guessed the two characters that ended up being my favourite characters by the end of the book.
It takes resilience and courage for a mother to uproot her teenage children, leave her husband and resettle in a new state. When they set eyes on the run-down house they realise will be their home, Erin soon discovers the house is only the beginning of their struggles. Settling the youngest son, Ryan, into high school, her eldest Mike needing to job hunt and turning the house into a home proves to be a bigger challenge than she anticipated.
Ryan is a handful, he puts people off with his behaviour and it causes all sorts of tension at home and within the community. As a single mother, Erin is attracting a lot of attention from the locals in the small oyster farming town. When trouble begins, the first people the town look at are Erin and her sons.
Erin finds solace in a few social outings and her determination to get back into her painting provides a good distraction to the daily dramas constantly knocking on her door. Her artistic talents are recognised and it gives her hope she can make a go of creating the lifestyle that originally drew her to making the decision to move to Mallee Bay.
What made this story enjoyable were the layers of mystery that began to emerge. Just as I hoped Erin was finally getting a break, something would happen and the uncertainty returned. As the drama peaked, it all happened so fast it felt rushed. The catalyst for the ending and how it came together as it did revealed aspects to the story I hadn’t found a significant basis for previously in the story. There’s a good chance I was enjoying the story so much up until that point, I may have missed the subtle hints. Of course, I knew the character in question and wasn’t surprised when the drama unfolded, it was just the way it all panned out that unsettled me. Of course, the thought of this happening in real life totally freaked me out!
A good story, although a little slow in sections. As I neared the ending, I could see what was about to happen but still found some elements took me by surprise. A good find and glad I read Running Against the Tide!
Lily’s Rating: 3.5 Stars
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