Author: Alexandra Brenton
Rating: 2.50 out of 5 Stars
Genre: Satire (Romance ???)
Publisher: Manroot Romance Limited
Recommended Reading: 18+
1st Time Author: RECEIVED A FREE COPY IN EXCHANGE FOR A REVIEW
***THERE ARE NO SPOILERS****
About three weeks ago I received an email from Alexandra asking me if I would read her contemporary novel about a heroine looking for her happily ever after. Sure I thought…sounds good. About two weeks later I received an amended description warning me that the book was more like “The Hangover meets the romance genre”. Even better, I thought. I love The Hangover. But then I started thinking…what would prompt her to send me an amended description? So, after a brief search of online reviews, I recognized a pattern that dealt mostly with reader expectation and it wasn’t until I read the book that I realized, readers expected a romance and the author expected readers to ignore the fact that Tides Ebb is anything but.
This book is no more a contemporary romance than Twilight is a masterful piece of literature. In fact, I found it to be crude and vulgar without even a touch of romance (unless you consider auto-asphyxiation and transgender fetishes amorous). I am not one to shy away from vulgar, but Tides Ebb takes gross to another level entirely. This book makes Samantha from Sex and the City look like an abstinent do-gooder who winces at foul language. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a poorly written book, but it wasn’t great and the fact that it was wrapped up in a deceptive package didn’t make it any better. I can see why there is anger surrounding it. It’s like buying a coffee from Starbucks and getting chamomile tea. It’s not like tea sucks, it’s just not what you ordered.
So let me give you an idea of what this book is about and maybe I can correctly define it so that people won’t be wholly disappointed if they purchase it.
The lead character (not protagonist – everyone in this book is an antagonist) is a racist, elitist, uptight New York caricature that is in a relationship with the man of her dreams, a self-absorbed, rich rugby player. She is a Harvard educated lawyer who works for a law firm and spends 15 hours a day overseeing the placement of comma’s in law briefs. Now, since I went to law school I can see where one could find this humorous; however, jokes shouldn’t require a law degree for comprehension. After an unfortunate misunderstanding, the heroine (that hurt to write that because that insinuates she is likeable) finds out that her perfect boyfriend is really a creep that indulges in bestiality.
I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to.
Then the book slides through several sticky situations that are both crude and over the top (not laugh out loud) funny as the leading troglodyte (she is no lady) moves out of NY to Rhode Island in the hopes of finding true love. That, people, is about as romantic as this book gets.
Look, I get it. I understand what Alexandra is getting at. I am in on the joke, it’s just I didn’t think it was as funny as it could have been. It was trying a little too hard. But, if you like tongue-in-cheek, over the top outrageousness, you might like it. However, if think you are expecting a funny contemporary romance you will be absolutely insulted. So much so that I wouldn’t be shocked if most readers returned the book after the first chapter. Not because it is poorly written…it isn’t, but because it is not a funny romance. It is a farcical and raunchy book about the upper crust NYC dating scene. It pokes fun at the high society snobs that can’t see beyond the end of their turned up, pinchy faced, nose jobs. (Hey I am a recovering New Yorker…I can say that).
Problem number three (hundred): I didn’t care. The characters are so deplorable, it didn’t matter who they ended up with long as she got out of my brain.This is no Hangover and definitely, no Seduction and Snacks (as she originally pitched it). It is more like Something About Mary or 50 Shames of Earl Grey. Nothing in this book resembles real life or actual struggle, there is no heart or genuineness, it is simply a parody of all those erotic-esque books that are so popular right now. For instance, The Hangover is about real friends who set out to have fun, but wake up to a nightmare. As far out as the scenarios were, we like the characters, you had someone to root for. However, Tides Ebb presents utterly unrealistic caricatures of idiots who act as no one I have ever met would, finding themselves in bland and uninteresting situations. On top of it, the storyline is trite with no real substance.
I hate to give this book such a low rating, because I feel like Alexandra’s writing has a lot of potential. There is a great story in her and she has a strong voice. In fact this would have been better if there was actual redemption (which can still be funny) or a stronger story to balance out the schtick, but honestly, two and a half stars is generous. Perhaps, if I had a true description beforehand about what to expect I might not have been so disappointed with the end result. Honestly, I usually get upset when books are under 200 pages, but Tides Ebb was about 50 too long.
Read it if you must, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.