June 12, 2015

Fresh From the Bookshelf: London Tides {A Review}

I love inspirational fiction. I love romance. So I REALLY love good inspirational romantic fiction. When I was offered a chance to review London Tides, a new to the market (as of June 2015) book, and sequel to a book I had already read...I jumped on the opportunity and hoped it would at least meet up with my expectations from the previous book.
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London Tides Book Review by Farm Fresh Adventures
London Tides is the second book in the MacDonald Family Trilogy by Carla Laureano. London Tides picks up where the previous book Five Days in Skye left off, yet remains fairly autonomous. This book follows Ian MacDonald, older brother of James MacDonald (the main character of book one) and Grace Brennan, his ex-fiance, who left him practically at the altar ten years prior.

Grace is a vagabond war photojournalist, making a name for herself with her photos of the world’s war zones. But now after the death of her friend and colleague, and narrowing escaping a conflict with her own life, she is finally broken and suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, even though she doesn’t want to admit it. Grace in her brokenness returns to the one place where she feels she can come home…London. She is hoping that maybe, just maybe she can repair the damage of her relationship with Ian and have a second chance at love—for she can admit to herself that she never stopped loving him.

Ian is the COO of his brother's company, but it’s just a job to him. He gave up his first love of rowing, and a chance for an Olympic gold medal, when Grace left him. Now he’s just going through the routine, but not loving what he does. He doesn’t date because he’s never forgotten his first love, Grace.

When Grace comes back to London and seeks Ian out, both have to decide what they are willing to give up to make their relationship work. Will she really give up her calling and life’s work as a photojournalist to plant roots with Ian in London?

What Are My Thoughts?

London Tides was a very well thought out book that could actually stand on its own in the series. I felt that the story of Grace and Ian was really flushed out and exposed to show their weaknesses and their deep love for one another. Grace was such an interesting character, with her unconventional tattoos, tomboy behavior, and vagabond lifestyle. She was a strong woman with such sorrow kept locked up inside. It was interesting to follow her journey as she came to terms with her PTSD.

I feel like Ian was the weaker of the characters. The image I created of him from reading the first book, Five Days of Skye, did not quite match the one revealed in London Tides. I didn’t feel the conflict between he and his brother James any longer. It just sort of disappeared between the two books. I don’t think we learned enough about the wars inside of him relating to his dissatisfaction in his job.

Another thing that I wasn’t sure about—the fact that this was a book in the Inspirational Fiction genre, yet I didn’t feel like it truly qualified. Both characters have jaded pasts and a history with each other romantically, which is fine. But when they come back together, it seems like they are just going to pick up right where they left off, until a short quick couple sentences from Grace about how she wants things differently this time. I feel like the author should have made more of a stand about them having a second chance and NEW relationship focused on God and His standards, rather than just sort of glossing it over. I kind of got mixed signals from the book relating to this whole issue. I would have liked to witness more of the two characters turning their futures over to God.

How Would I Rate This Book?

The book had a great plot and the characters were well built. But I just really didn’t like the minimization of God and the Bible in a book that is supposed to be in the Inspirational Fiction market.

I look forward to sharing my review of book one in this series, Five Days in Skye, next month and I will (even though I didn’t rank this one as high as I would have liked to) look forward to reading the final book in Carla Laureano’s trilogy—which I am already predicting will be about the sister Serena and the mysterious boxer/manager/engineer Malcolm.

London Tides Book Review
London Tides: A Novel
by Carla Laureano
ISBN: 978-1434708229
Available as Paperback and Kindle

About the Author

Carla Laureano is the author of the RITA® award-winning romance Five Days in Skye as well as London Tides and the Celtic fantasy series The Song of Seare (as C. E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons.

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