Sizzling chemistry, a forward-thinking heroine, and a hero who would part the seas for the people he loves come together in this beautifully written story
Feisty, forward-thinking activist Savannah Conner travels to an island off the North Carolina coastline in 1898 to help out at her friend’s school. Having grown up wealthy but without her father’s acceptance in New York, Savannah finds it impossible to overlook injustice—especially when women are so often the victims. Naturally, very soon after arriving in town, she starts organizing the local women to fight for their rights…and that stirs up the men who run the town.
Constable Zach Garrett is duty-bound to detain law-breakers. The last thing he needs is a suffragist who knows nothing about diplomacy or negotiation. He tries to keep the peace by mediating between her and the men she’s lambasting, but Savannah drives him crazy with her uncontrolled passions. And, since his beloved wife died in childbirth, exploring his own passions is something he’s avoided.
But the chemistry between Savannah and Zach is explosive, so much so that neither can deny themselves the opportunity to explore it.
Tides of Passion swept me away. I admit I’m a sucker for novels that are set outside of Regency and mid-Victorian England, but this novel particularly grabbed me because of its clever ways of examining gender roles and commitment in relationships.
I know. That’s not what people typically read romance for. Believe me, all the things you’d want in a romance (a clever heroine, a hot hero, witty dialogue, instant sparks and sizzling conflict between the hero and heroine) are here in spades. That’s why the novel’s exploration of themes normally taken for granted in romance came as such a delight.
Zach is an ultra-capable man who’s used to taking care of people: his brothers, his young son, his first wife, and his town. Meeting a woman who finds little ways of taking care of him rocks his world, helping him see he doesn’t have to be the superman everyone believes he is. He’s also very much a late 19th century man in his attitudes toward women, and I love that Tracy Sumner didn’t attempt to make him otherwise. This adds not just realism but heat and tension between the characters.
Savannah, on the other hand, has never met a man who made her heart yearn and her body burn. She’s independent and used to relying on no one but herself. But her brash way of fighting for justice means she sometimes only succeeds in pissing people off. Meeting a man who doesn’t fully believe in gender equality but is willing to help her find better ways of fighting for it catches her off guard. Should she really trust a man, especially a man with such power in a town? And will giving in to these new-found feelings of passion she has for him help her become an even more independent woman, or will they bind her to him?
One of the things I loved about this novel was Tracy Sumner’s way of exposing the intimate details of a relationship that go beyond sex. Having been married before, and having experienced devastating grief, Zach understands these details far better than Savannah. Though they decide to get married, he’s determined not to fall in love with her. As they’re lying in bed after arguing because Savannah believes he’s reluctant to marry her at all, Zach thinks:
She thought the problem was standing before a judge and saying the words. Words? Who gave a damn about words? What about sleeping in the same bed every night, touching a toe or a wrist. Simple, devastating contact when it was too hot to spoon? What about sitting in companionable silence every morning in a warm, coffee-scented kitchen? What about sharing the load of raising a growing boy? Seeing him change and mature?
Seeing each other change and mature?
Zach swallowed, tears pricking his lids and making him blink.
God, he was scared. Bone-deep, the kind of fear a man can’t shake off like a jacket. He needed some time to figure on this, come to terms with having a wife again.
Without love this time around.
Tides of Passion was first published nearly ten years ago by Zebra Books (Kensington), but is now available digitally. It’s second in the Seaswept Seduction series, but you don’t have to read the first (Tides of Love) to understand the story here. I definitely recommend it.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Heat: 5 (scorching)
Have you read this book? What did you think?