This is not a book I would normally choose to read but I was intrigued by the setting as I live in Jersey in the Channel Islands.
It is rare to read a book set in such detail in Jersey and even rarer to find one that doesn’t focus on the German Occupation of the island during the II World War.
Against the tide is set in July 1939, a couple of months before war was declared but the effects of Hitler were already being felt in the mixed nationalities inhabiting the island.
The story is partly a coming of age story; Jack Renouf has taken his A levels and becomes torn between two girls. At the same time he is trying to discover his family’s secrets, in particular why his communist uncle is so hated by his father. The other part of the story is pure action thriller with Jack getting embroiled in a trying to stop smuggling, all of which made me feel like I was reading a grown up version of the Famous Five with boats and guns rather than secret passages and ginger beer.
The writing is great and the story moves along at quite a pace to reflect the dangers both personal and physical that Jack finds himself in although I did begin to find the endless Shakespeare references detratracted rather than added to the story at times, while I appreciated the cleverness of the links it began to feel a little like showing off (which of course was what Jack and his friend Saul were doing)
I would recommend this to anyone wanting a unique take on coming of age with well researched historical detail and writing that engages with the reader.