HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!!
As the Tide Comes In (2018) by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall is the second novel in their contemporary Christian fiction series. (The first book in this series is The Gift of Christmas Past.) This book comes in all forms including eBook, and is 352 pages in length. With a full-time job and a very busy six-year old at home, this novel took me four days to read. I received a copy of this book in ARC paperback form from the publisher, WaterBrook. In no way has this influenced my opinion of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give As the Tide Comes In 5+++++ STARS. This story is a Contemporary Christian Fiction novel.
About the Book
After an unthinkable loss sends Tara Abbott’s life spiraling out of control, she flees North Carolina for Georgia’s St. Simons Island. Although confused and scared, she hopes to find answers about her past — her life before the years of foster care and raising her two half brothers. But there among moss-clad live oaks and along pristine beaches, her disorientation causes the lines between imagination and reality, past and present, to blur.
Will she find steady ground on the island, surrounded by an eccentric but kind-hearted group of older women called the Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter? Or will the truth take what’s left of her identity out with the tide?
As the Tide Comes In is a stellar novel. It is superbly written — the prose flows so beautifully. The characters are realistic and endearing. And, the plot is highly engrossing, so much so that I found I just could not put the book down. I enjoy Cindy Woodsmall’s novels, but the ones she has written with her daughter-in-law, Erin, are my favorite. And, As the Tide Comes In is without a doubt my favorite of their novels so far. It’s such a phenomenal story!
Tara is the best written grieving woman I’ve ever read. She is SO realistic. In this novel, Tara undergoes one of the worst losses a woman could ever experience in her lifetime. Her loss is completely unexpected and shocking. Two and a half months ago, I lost a man who was like my older brother. This loss, too, was completely unexpected and shocking. As Tara goes through her devastating grief in As the Tide Comes In, I felt like I was able to grieve with her. I felt like I wasn’t alone in these awful feelings I am experiencing. In my circle, no one seems to want to talk about Tim’s death. It’s like everyone is putting his death behind them and moving forward. I know everyone deals differently, but it’s only been 2 1/2 months. He was a HUGE part of our lives. I don’t understand how it can just be another event in the past already. Reading this novel has been one of the most beneficial and cathartic things I’ve been able to do since Tim died because it reinforces that my grief isn’t stupid, misplaced, or untimely.
My most favorite moment in the book came during a conversation between Tara and Gavin. Side note: Gavin is an exceptional hero. He may even be the perfect hero. Gavin is caring, patient, calming, genuine, and thoughtful. I found him to be the ideal hero to Tara’s deeply broken heroine. Now back to the original topic — at this point in the novel, Tara has reached the “why?” part of her grief. It’s the moment when one starts asking, “Why would God allow this?,” which is a perfectly natural question to ask. Tara tells Gavin, “I’m being told a lot of things, but a clear favorite is that all things work together for good to those that love God. So what are they saying? That [the death of my loved one] will work out for my good more than if [he’d] lived?” (234). I’ve purposely changed some words so as not to spoil anything, but what Tara is asking is what I’ve been asking. I’ve heard a lot of well-intentioned people say some of the most hurtful, asinine, and annoying things to explain away Tim’s death over the last two months. If I hear one more platitude, I will scream. God isn’t a murderer. He doesn’t take people away from others in order to make someone a better person. That is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. The best part of this fictional conversation, for me, is when Gavin answers Tara’s question with “I don’t know the answer.” YES! We don’t know the answer. Instead of trying to answer, maybe we just need to draw closer to one another and to God. We need to live life for a while like the one week in Job where his friends just sat next to him and didn’t say a thing. They just comforted their hurting friend by being there.
I really, really love how Tara and Gavin’s relationship developed. I like that it didn’t really go anywhere for a long while because Tara was so badly broken and Gavin is such a respectful guy. Gavin became Tara’s friend. Nothing more. He was able to be there for her when she needed him, and then he would go away when Tara needed space. He let her be her. Gavin respected Tara’s boundaries even when they didn’t make sense to him. Through this interaction, true, real friendship is able to blossom. Gavin was the right kind of friend for Tara. Yes, the relationship between Gavin and Tara develops further, but in due time and out of real love. It may actually be one of the most satisfying fictional relationships that I’ve ever read.
I very much appreciated the message of this novel. Woodsmall and Woodsmall point out throughout this excellent story that we are all vessels — broken vessels actually. Grief, in any form, doesn’t have to own us if we allow God to pour His love into our broken vessels. And, He wants to so much. It’s God’s heart to fix us! Once Tara realizes this she begins to take back her life. Her loss will always hurt, but LOVE will help her to a new day, a new experience, a new life. It’s all about love. I’m currently working on taking my life back from the clutches of grief. I’m going to God daily. I’m pouring my heart out to Him, and He is pouring His love into me. Some days I’m all good. Some days I’m not good at all. But, I am 100% positive that God’s got me and He will see me through just as He will see Tim’s wife, children, family, and friends through this time.
Phew! I am really sorry for such a LONG post. There is actually more that I could discuss because this book is just that good, complex, and beautiful, but I won’t because I want you to go read the book. As the Tide Comes In is a novel that will stick with me long after having read the final page. I truly feel this novel is a must-read for 2018!
I am giving away TWO (2) paperback ARCs of As the Tide Comes In by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall. The giveaway begins today, 8-21-18 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Friday, 8-24-18 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!
CONGRATS TO Mindy H. and Cassandra D.!
YOU HAVE WON THIS GIVEAWAY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION.
IT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway, and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.