At the heart of this sweeping, panoramic novel, set in Regency London and Spain during the Peninsular War, stands the lively, outspoken Harriet, poised on the threshold of the adult world. Her new husband, James, is setting off to join the Duke of Wellington's troops in Spain. Left in London, she is taken under the wing of Kitty, Lady Wellington. ...
At the heart of this sweeping, panoramic novel, set in Regency London and Spain during the Peninsular War, stands the lively, outspoken Harriet, poised on the threshold of the adult world. Her new husband, James, is setting off to join the Duke of Wellington's troops in Spain. Left in London, she is taken under the wing of Kitty, Lady Wellington. While the women plunge into new worlds of politics, finance and science, the men face the bloody reality of the battlefield, testing their endurance to the hilt. There are betrayals on both sides, and at times it seems their love cannot endure. Their dramatic stories whirl us through the tumult of the Regency at home and abroad. Tides of War is drenched in an unforgettable atmosphere, from the mantillas and palms of Seville to gas lamps in foggy London. It carries us deep into the anguish of men at war, the taste of freedom offered to the women left behind, the passions of scientists, doctors and inventors and the burning drive of emigres in a society on the cusp of change. As Harriet and James pursue their destinies, facing hope and heartache in equal measure, this stunning novel returns us all to the vivid, lost world of the past.
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Publishers Weekly, 2011-08-22 In her first novel, historian Tillyard (Aristocrats) intertwines fictional newlyweds Harriet and James Raven with the historical duke and duchess of Wellington, along with other real and imaginary characters, to give a broad perspective on English society of the early 19th century. Captain Raven sets off to help Wellington drive elder Bonaparte Joseph from Spain, while his plucky bride heads for London in pursuit of science. Tillyard adds observations from Spanish artist Francisco Goya, investor/banker Nathan Rothschild, soldiers and scientists, and wives, widows, and mistresses to reveal the devastation of the Peninsula War and the evolution of London into a modern city where resourceful women can attain unprecedented freedom. Harriet explores science with Fredric Winsor, while the duchess invests shrewdly so that financial fortunes change with the fortunes of war. A better storyteller than inventor, Tillyard is at her best with historical figures and when depicting the era; readers share Harriet's discovery of the waltz, Jane Austen, and ice cream, and witness cutting-edge battlefield surgeries under real-life Surgeon Gen. James McGrigor. Tillyard needs only characters as complex as her historical figures, and relationships as intriguing, to rank among the best of the historical fiction scribes re-imagining women of the past. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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