Thank you so much to Terminal Tours for the opportunity to be on this blog tour!
Title: Hold Back the Tide
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Genres: YA Fantasy Horror
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
From internationally bestselling, acclaimed author Melinda Salisbury comes a darkly seductive story of murder, betrayal, love, and family secrets in a small town in the Scottish Highlands.
Here are the rules of living with a murderer.
One: Do not draw attention to yourself.
Of course, when you live with a murderer, this is impossible. Even the subtlest of spectres is bound to be noticed. Which leads to the next rule.
Two: If you can’t be invisible, be useful.
Everyone in this quiet lakeside community knows that Alva’s father killed her mother, all those years ago. There wasn’t enough proof to arrest him, though, and with no other family, Alva’s been forced to live with her mother’s murderer, doing her best to survive until she can earn enough money to run away.
One of her chores is to monitor water levels in the loch-a task her father takes very seriously. Their family has been the guardian of the loch for generations. It’s a cold, lonely task, and a few times, Alva can swear she feels someone watching her.
But the more Alva investigates, the more she realizes that the truth can be more monstrous than lies, and that you can never escape your past . . .
The premise of this novel is ultimately what drew me in–a teenage girl living with her murderous father. What could be more intense than that? But what this novel ended up being was so surprising. There are twists and turns that I never saw coming. It’s a slow-burn suspense that became the fantasy horror I didn’t know I needed.
One of the book’s main strengths is it’s use of setting and atmosphere. Set in the Scottish highlands next to a dreary, cold loch, Alva’s story is immediately spooky. The isolation of our main character, as well as the town she lives in, really brings out the goosebumps.
Alva is such a great character. I enjoyed her voice and point of view, as well as discovering all the secrets of the loch she grew up living next to. Her relationship becomes more and more complex further into the story, and I also liked the few friendships she had.
The thing I loved the most was how compulsively readable the writing is. I just wanted to know more, to devour the story whole, to soak in the setting and the emotions.
Overall, this book is all sorts of spooky and scary and fun. I enjoyed every moment, of reveal, every twist. I’d recommend this to any light horror fans, or anyone who needs to disappear into an immersive and enjoyable story.
Melinda Salisbury was born in the 1980s in a landlocked city, before escaping to live by the sea. As a child, she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography. When she’s not trying to unlock the hidden avenues of her mind, she’s reading, writing, or traveling. She lives in the UK and can be found on Twitter as @MESalisbury, though be warned she tweets often.