Thursday, 22 December 2016

TURN OF THE TIDE by Margaret Skea

3.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK HERE
On Goodreads HERE

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber's Review Team

Set in Scotland in the late sixteenth century, Turn of the Tide's central character is Munro, who is caught between his allegiance to the Cunninghame clan and his friendships with the rival Montgomeries, and also between his active part in this ancient feud and the demands of his family; his desire to protect them is at the root of all he does, but his dedication to those in power mean that he spends much time away from wife Kate and his twins.

Reading this story I felt transported back to the time, a necessity for me when reading historical fiction.  All aspects of day to day life of the era have been researched in detail, and written in such a way that adds so much to the novel.  Margaret Skea clearly has a great love for the history and the country, and this shines through in the writing.  

There is no doubt that this is well written in many ways, with Munro and young William Glencairn, in particular, becoming three dimensional very quickly.  The dialogue is written formally, in the style of the time (as far as I could see) and sometimes this adds authenticity, but at other times it halts the flow.  Also, there are so very many characters and I had trouble remembering who was who and whose allegiance was to whom, which made it flow even less well, because I kept having to refer back to previous chapters.  The other slight problem I had with it was a few instances of incorrect punctuation: missing commas and a few semicolons that should have been commas, but there are only a few and would probably only bother someone who is particularly picky about such things.

I liked the intrigue at court and the subtle humour in some of the dialogue, but I found this novel a little too slow and confusing for me to say that I really enjoyed it; I wanted to like it more than I did.  Margaret Skea is an accomplished writer who has won much acclaim and many awards, so if you like intelligent, detailed, literary historical fiction you may well enjoy this.  It just didn't quite tick the boxes for me.


  1. This sounds very reliable historically, Terry. I suppose authentic dialogue might well sound stilted to us now, so that might make it difficult to read but I'd give it a go based on the period and the place. I like Scottish history :)

    1. Me too. It wasn't so much the dialogue that made it difficult to read; I don't know, it just didn't flow. I was so looking forward to it, but then found I was looking at the percentage at the bottom of the page all the time.

  2. Your remarks explain my reticence to read this book. I am fascinated by the location and the era but I sensed that it would be slow and unexciting.