Book Review: Summer by the Tides

Summer by the Tides – Denise Hunter – Thomas Nelson – Published 21 May 2019




Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe’s love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram’s maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.

As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven–nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.

As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy’s heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they’ve become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.

My thoughts

Summer By The Tides is a delightful, easy to read, easy to enjoy romance. There have been many Christian contemporary titles published recently that feature broken sisterly relationships and the slow mending of these bonds, but Summer By The Tides is by far my favourite. Touching on some tough and thoughtful tones, it remains a lighthearted, sunshine filled and feel good story of love, family and fresh starts.

The day Maddy Monroe discovers her boyfriend is a lying cheater and that she has lost the promotion at work, she gets a phone call saying her grandmother has gone missing. It’s easy to jump in the car and return to her childhood summer house on the beach, harder to face her two sisters and the memories of what tore her family apart all those years ago. With the help of her grandmother’s neighbour, Connor, Maddy and her sisters search for their missing grandmother and get the house in order, sifting through memories and facing the secrets of the past.

While the synopsis for Summer By The Tides focuses on Maddy’s relationships with her sisters, the story is actually centred around the blooming romance between Maddy and Connor and Maddy’s own experiences with and beliefs about love. I really enjoyed the sweet romance that Connor and Maddy share. They certainly don’t start out as a perfect couple. Maddy is quick to judge Connor and it’s hard for Connor to see past Maddy’s harsh and judgmental facade. As they start to work together, though, they both have to re-evaluate their initial impressions and they find they actually make a pretty great couple. Both have their reasons for shying away from a relationship, Connor lost his young wife and Maddy has plenty of reason to be distrustful of men. They have their bumps and ups and downs, but their connection is hard to ignore. I loved the little moments they shared over food (Maddy’s world) or sailing (Connor’s domain). Very sweet.

Maddy’s sisters and the family as a whole have experienced some tough relationship breakdowns. Maddy ends up playing referee a lot of the time and carries her own guilt from what transpired all those summers ago. The chance to live together, work together gives the sisters the time to work through some of that painful history, current hardships and the guilt and anger that has kept them captive. Yet, Summer By The Tides retains a lighthearted and warm story, making it the perfect summer (or anytime) beach (or anywhere) read.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Adult fiction

Genre: Christian – contemporary.

Themes: Sisters, romance, food, sailing, relationships, relationship breakdown, adultery.

Published: 21 May 2019 by Thomas Nelson.

Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 320 pages.

ISBN: 9780785222705

Find it on Goodreads


  1. Jenesh Lal Shrestha

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    • Madison's Library

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