Title ~ Time and Tide
Author ~ E.M. Lindsey
Published ~ 21st July 2015
Genre ~ Historical M/M Romance
"Sometimes the universe is chaos, and sometimes it’s kind. If we are meant to be together, we shall be.”
It's 1897, and fresh from Oxford University, William Owens returns to Maryland to find his mother has planned his entire future. His law practice, his home, and his wife. Unable to stand up to her, William resigns himself to living the life she's created.
Then one day the blind writer, Theodore Renard, stumbles into his life and changes everything. William must find the courage within himself to stand up to his mother and take his destiny into his own hands. But none of that comes without a price. Facing heartache and tragedy, William must learn to navigate through the chaos of time and the tide.
Much as I love stories that feature granite jawed alpha-heroes who face adversity with a quip on their lips and a knife in their boot there's something to be said for the type of hero who is allowed plenty of time and space to grow a vertebra.
Time and Tide is one of those stories - where, right from the start, William, our protagonist, is shown to be a man of integrity but of pitiful little self confidence and grit. Society, exemplified by his mother, morally upright in theory, loathsome in practice, dictates Williams' every action, taking the sweet character he had formed during his studies in England and steam rollering him into accepting and defending clients whom he knows to be guilty and into accepting and marrying a young woman who, he realises, is as unhappy and unenthusiastic about marriage as he is. William is most horribly stuck, poised between his contemptuous parent, his frigid wife and a profession that ignores justice in favour of supporting those with the deepest pockets. And let's not even for a moment consider those delicious liaisons enjoyed with young men at college and in the stews of London. Those definitely need to remain in the past.
Then he meets Theodore on the beach – a blind man, a writer, with a quirky and hopeful nature, who despite his affliction still sees more beauty around him that fully sighted William – and slowly the ice around William's hopeless life begins to thaw. Theodore is a wonderful character. He approaches his life with a gallantry far removed from William's passivity, and seeing this lends William the strength to begin to fight back.
Theodore's gentle philosophy of life is the greatest joy of the book. He is a survivor and I really enjoyed his honesty. I even gave him a little cheer when he laid it on the line for William:
"There's something about you I crave but should you leave me to die in the streets, I will heal myself and move on".
He challenges, inspires and gives William something to aspire to. He is also a loving soul, not just of William but of the world and everyone in it.
The details of life in turn of the century Maryland were well described and the details of the opportunities offered to the well to do, even those of an unconventional lifestyle, were interesting and plausible. A couple of times I was halted in my tracks by phrasing that felt far too modern but am well aware that such phrases are often of greater antiquity than one might think. Since the action of the story covers a quarter of a century and a lot of ground there are moments where it all feels a little rushed, but on the whole Time and Tide is a satisfying story where two men achieve a measure of long term happiness within the strict bounds imposed by society.