Sarah Maine's debut novel, The House Between Tides, last year. I noted at the end of my review that I was looking forward to Maine's next book. Well that next book is here - Beyond the Wild River.
1888. Beyond the Wild River opens with a heartbreaking prologue - and death - on the Ballantyre Scottish estate.
1893. Nineteen year old Evelyn Ballantyre lives with her widowed father on their somewhat isolated estate in Scotland. Her father is often away for business and Evelyn finds herself somewhat bored. But when she begins an innocent friendship with a servant, it is seen as dangerous - in many ways. Evelyn will be accompanying her father on his next trip. That trip takes them to New York City, The World's Fair in Chicago and up to the wilds of Canada to fish in the Nipigon area. But that event from 1888 has reverberations that cross years and oceans.
I enjoy historical novels and their sense of propriety and manners as well as the language. But those same mores are confining. I appreciated Evelyn's questioning and quick mind, but her naiveté is worrying. She could easily be taken advantage of. And of course there is someone quite prepared to do that - after all as the only child, she will have quite the dowry and inheritance coming to her. But fate steps in in the form of James, a favourite groom from Evelyn's childhood who now works as a fishing guide in Canada. But how did he end up here and more importantly why? That night in 1888 holds the answers.
At the heart of Beyond the Wild River is the secret of that fateful night in 1888 and it's repercussions. The who, why and ending were well executed. But there's also a young woman's coming of age as well as a romantic thread.
Maine does a lovely job of weaving history into and throughout her story. I especially enjoyed those scenes set in Canada, having visited the Lake Nipigon area.
Historical novels such as this take time to tell their story. Those looking for a fast paced read won't find it here. Those looking for an atmospheric tale to savour will want to pick up Beyond the Wild River.
Read an excerpt of Beyond the Wild River. And yes, I will be looking forward to Sarah Maine's third book! You can find Sarah Maine on her website, follow her on Twitter @SarahMaineBooks and like her on Facebook.