9780451418784Reviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Because I love anything with a beach setting and decades-old mysteries, I knew I had to read The Wishing Tide by Barbara Davis. The heroine of the story, Lane Kramer, is the owner of a charismatic inn along the store in a quirky town called Starry Point. She is young, but she has suffered much heartache due to her divorce and keeps mostly to herself. But when she finds herself with an unexpected guest during the off-season at her inn, Lane will be forced to confront her past and redefine her future.

There is more to Michael Forrester, Lane’s mostly-unwelcome visitor, than meets the eye. At first she wants to turn him away, but she finds a kindred spirit in the professor, who is writing a book. Perhaps it is only in Lane’s head, but he seems more familiar with the layout of her inn than she would expect of someone merely passing through town. Their already tentative relationship becomes even more complicated when Lane’s mother comes for a visit and Michael gets sucked into pretending to be Lane’s new boyfriend.

The Wishing Tide started out so promising, with eerie hints of a possible ghost story, a mysterious past involving Dirty Mary (the beach town’s local “crazy” lady), and a budding romance between Lane and Michael. Unfortunately, there were just too many things going on in the book all at once, and I found myself wishing that Davis hadn’t focused so heavily on certain arcs in the book over others.

When the story opens, Lane is freaked out over lights turning on in the empty house next door. I thought this was an introduction to a supernatural plot, but this was soon cast aside when Michael was introduced as a character. The pretend relationship between Lane and Michael and Lane’s mother’s presence caused parts of the novel to drag on for me. The novel veers off again when Lane becomes involved with Mary after she is falsely accused of the break-ins occurring all over the island.

There were numerous times as I was reading where I paused, remembering that I had thought this was going to be more of a ghost story, and wondered when Davis would touch once again on those aspects. In a more abstract sense, this is a sort of ghost story—one in which the characters are haunted by their own past and the decisions they have made throughout their lives. I, however, had hoped for a ghost story in the more literal sense of things, and as a result was left a bit disappointed.

Despite The Wishing Tide developing in ways other than what I would have liked, I cannot deny that Barbara Davis has a beautiful writing style, pens flawed and intriguing characters, and is an author who I will likely seek out again to read.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by NAL. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.