‘The Light Over Broken Tide’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I recently had the privilege of receiving an ARC of Holly Ducarte’s debut novel The Light Over Broken Tide! I already knew of Holly through the bookstagram community, where she often posts beautiful snippets of her writing, so I was thrilled when she reached out and asked me to be a member of her ARC tribe! Before I start reviewing, here’s the blurb from Goodreads…


What the book is about…

Out of the blue, Rebecca Stafford’s Father arrives to parent her after years of absence. He then extracts her last bit of normalcy by moving them to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The shocking news plunges Rebecca into a despair that brings about an otherworldly encounter; she begins to have visions of her deceased Mom.

Uncertain whether what she sees is reality or the product of a troubled mind, Rebecca searches for an anchor to keep her from drifting in the new coastal town. She clings to Shawn, the eccentric, spritely boy-next-door promising adventures…with surprises of his own, involving an Irish legend and a hidden lighthouse. This brings on a whole new dimension to Rebecca’s visions, and sparks feverish romance between her and Shawn. A bond eventually threatened by forces beyond her control, sending her spiralling into dark, stormy places, leaving her to wonder how broken a mind can get…


What I thought of it…

I was immediately intrigued by this blurb and, let me tell you: this books reads SO well for a debut novel. Obviously, I already knew that Holly Ducarte could write; her Instagram poetry is stunning and I fangirl over it often. I was delighted to find that Holly’s first novel embodies the same raw beauty as her poetry and I was captivated for the duration. The opening imagery of paper dolls hooked me straight in and I felt gripped until the very end of the book.

I loved the small-town Canadian setting of the book and thought that Ducarte used pathetic fallacy perfectly to enhance her story. Small-town settings are often some of my very favourites and this book was no exception to the rule. I could picture the island so vividly and thought it was almost like a character in itself. The Peter Pan connections were abundant and were another element of the book that I really liked.

The protagonist, Rebecca, is a bit of a difficult character to rate. I found her quite tempestuous and not necessarily very likeable, a little like Cathy from the classic Wuthering Heights, but then that’s what made her so interesting! I also think it’s a realistic portrayal of a teenager dealing with the loss of her mother and all the grief that goes along with that (and I have firsthand experience so I can definitely relate).

The book is quite heavy on the insta-love but, again, it does make a degree of sense given what the protagonist is dealing with. Rebecca’s life has been turned upside down so she clings on to the only anchor she can find – and who wouldn’t want to cling to the dreamy Shawn?!

I genuinely didn’t expect the plot to go in the direction it did; Ducarte kept me guessing right to the end! I was completely shocked. I love that this book defies categorisation; it is so much more than a standard contemporary, with great supernatural elements and a thriller-y tone at times. I also really love the final message that Ducarte leaves the reader with – but you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out what that is!



Thank you again to Holly for sending me an ARC! The Light Over Broken Tide releases on March 20th and I’ll be treating you to an interview with the lovely lady herself very soon!

5 thoughts on “‘The Light Over Broken Tide’ spoiler-free review!

  1. Ooh I am very intrigued, particularly by the Peter Pan themes because I LOVE books that are retellings, even if it’s only threads of them. Eeep.


    • Do be aware that this isn’t a retelling, more that it has references to Peter Pan. HOWEVER. If you’re looking for a good Peter Pan retelling, try Lost Boy by Christina Henry – I read it last month and it’s DARK. Right up your street 😉


  2. I ABSOLUTELY enjoy it when I am unable to guess the plot twist. It’s like the best Christmas present ever, when you think it’s going to go a certain way and it goes in the complete opposite direction you would’ve never thought it’d even have the guts to do! Great post!


  3. Pingback: Interview with Holly Ducarte! | the paperback piano

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