Review of When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Now that I’ve finished this book, I’m all caught up on Sarah Sundin’s series, and I’m kind of bummed I’m going to have to wait 6 months to a year for a new book from her. Some of her books I absolutely loved (the Wings of Glory namely), and some of them fell a little flat for me. This book was one of those that fell flat.

As for the characters, I really enjoyed Tess. She was such a fun-loving girl, but in a wholesome way. She was just really sweet and would be such a great friend. I’m a little surprised we didn’t hear more about her backstory with her loser boyfriends, but no one really cares about those dudes anyway. Dan was mostly likeable – I started enjoying his character more as the book progressed, but he definitely wasn’t my favorite. Usually, I’m a fan of the serious, stoic guys in books, but Dan was just … kind of boring.

The characters were probably the best part of this book, because the plot was just really contrived to me. I don’t know if it was the mood I was in when I read this book, but that mystery thing was just weird. It seemed very forced – there had to be a mystery because it was a part of this series – and I was not invested at all in what happened. The scenes where Tess was at the French peoples’ meetings were a drag. However, the romance aspect of the story was nice. I really liked how Tess and Dan were friends before they were romantically involved, and seeing their relationship change was enjoyable. But … something that happened near the end of the book drove me up a wall. It was just unnecessary in my opinion and kind of annoying. Misunderstandings and taking things out of context are overused. Thankfully, the problem was resolved swiftly – that was a cute scene – and the characters didn’t mope too much in-between. The climax was also a bit of a letdown. I know the whole point of the book was Dan’s steadiness and doing what was right in spite of what he wanted, but his part of the climax was dull. I know the author was making a point, so I definitely appreciate that, but it dragged. Tess’s side of things, though, was suspenseful, so that helped.

As for Biblical themes, there were definitely morals presented. The Gospel wasn’t really iterated at any point that I remember, but there were morals about the important of rest and selflessness. In the past, most of Sarah Sundin’s characters had at least one flaw, but Dan and Tess really didn’t seem to have one major flaw. That’s probably more realistic, but they also got over their problems quite quickly, so the moral wasn’t quite as powerful as I think it could’ve been. However, I was glad to see morals presented throughout the book, and the romance was clean.

Overall, I’m glad I read this book because it was the last in the series. This isn’t a bad book – it was hard to decide how to rate it – but it just didn’t engage me as much as I’d like. Of course, Sarah Sundin did excellent research as she always does. I’m looking forward to reading her new releases!

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