Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Review: Sidney Sheldon's The Tides of Memory by Tilly Bagshawe

On the jacket:

An addictive, edge-of-your-seat thriller filled with the hallmark elements that made New York Times bestselling author Sidney Sheldon—"the master of the story-telling game" (People)—an international legend: shocking twists, money, power, and betrayal involving an influential family and the beautiful and formidable woman at its center whose dark secrets can destroy them all.

The conservative party's newest superstar, Alexia De Vere has worked hard to realize her political ambitions. The brilliant and ruthless wife of wealthy aristocrat Teddy De Vere, Alexia relishes her power and the control it gives her to shape and destroy lives.

Yet success has also demanded sacrifice. Her daughter, Roxie, a bitter young woman confined to a wheelchair after a failed suicide attempt, blames Alexia for ruining her life. Alexia's dashing son, Michael, is risking the family's good name to jump-start his entre-preneurial dreams. Thankfully, Alexia has Teddy, her devoted husband who will stop at nothing to protect her.

But beneath Alexia De Vere's gilded life and formidable facade lie secrets that are ugly, dirty, and deadly. When long-buried mistakes of her youth begin to resurface, old hatreds are rekindled and Alexia finds herself on the brink of losing everything—her power, her family, and even her own life. Now the woman who rose so high is on the brink of a perilous fall. For when the tides of memory rise, the only thing that might save her is the truth. . . .


Wow! That was my first reaction when I had finished reading just half the book. Because, this is where the first twist in the plot hits you hard. Mind you, there are numerous twists even before, but this is where you go 'Whoa!' for the first time. 

I have grown up reading Sydney Sheldon's books and I have no qualms in accepting, he is one of my favourite authors. By the time I had finished grad school, I had read all the books he had written himself. Then came a lull. He died. I haven't read the other 3 books co-authored with Tilly Bagshawe, so this was my Sydney Sheldon read after almost a decade! I have loved the tv series he wrote and I absolutely love his books.

But, The Tides of Memory is not all his and it shows. A typical Sidney Sheldon book doesn't let you rest, there is excitement in every page. Also, this book has no sex. I mean, wasn't he known as the author of steamy novels? What the book does have is strong women characters; Sheldon had himself confessed to writing all his books about women as he believes they are strong and that's how he wants to portray them. 

The Tides of Memory is mainly about Toni and Billy, two teenagers. A child had died while in care of one of them and the other takes blame and serves 15 years behind bars. The story moves to about four decades after this, with more characters joining it. All characters, except maybe Summer and Arnie are flawed, but once you finish the book, you can hate none of them. Big crimes are committed, a lot of deceit, a lot of evil - all to protect the loved ones. One cannot decide who was wrong and who was right, but this is how the characters are. 

The book progresses at a steady pace till about half of it. Being a Sheldon novel, I kept expecting something to happen, but nothing major did. It was a regular story. However, suddenly, out of nowhere, a twist pops itself up. And how? And the twists keep coming! 

Rating: ****/5

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