There are so many things about this story that are amazing. There are also some very, very sad aspects, so be prepared to need a lot of tissues. Trust me, though the story has sad, nay tragic, moments, there is so much depth, insight and truth to it, that you are drawn in and aren’t let go, even upon finishing the book.
Cindy Woodsmall and her daughter-in-law Erin have written a novel very different from Cindy Woodsmall’s standard fare of Amish life. Set in contemporary, secular communities, As the Tide Comes In opens near Ashville, North Carolina, then the plot moves to Georgia’s St. Simon’s Island.
Tara Abbott has been a foster child and well knows foster care life is fraught with nerve-wracking instability and heart-breaking insecurity. With great misgiving, at age eighteen, she agrees to care for her two newly orphaned half-brothers, becoming their adored “T-Mom.”
Around Tara’s thirty-first birthday, her little family’s cabin is demolished by a tornado. She is severely injured and hospitalized. After her release, and still reeling from trauma, she decides to visit St. Simon’s Island, where she and her brothers had once planned to meet. On the island, the effects of her injury resurface. She becomes confused and peregrinates aimlessly.
In her confusion, Tara’s fear, angst and her sense of God having disappeared are palpable. The Woodsmalls had me walking in Tara’s very shoes as she wandered the island and her soul wandered through despair. I marveled at the strength, resourcefulness and resilience that inched her forward, literally and spiritually.
God sends friends for Tara to encounter on the island, such as the “Glynn Girls,” best friends and occasionally friendly enemies. The Woodsmalls flesh out these secondary characters as zany, unconventional women, whose antics and sometimes hilarious escapades warm our hearts and penetrate Tara’s.
I know I can’t do justice to this book, no matter how or what I write in this review. The depth of tragedy, the transformative spiritual journey and the emotional intensity found in As the Tide Comes In are rarely experienced by absorbing a novel. The story skillfully moved me from tears to laughter to thoughtful reverie. All of us, at some time in our life, will experience distraught, terrible times in our lives, and the book’s impactful message is best expressed in the words of one of its characters, who admonishes that “God is love, and anything we think He did outside of how love would behave, we’re mistaken….”
I received this book from WaterBrook Publishers and the authors. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.
When an unthinkable loss sends Tara Abbott’s life spiraling out of control, she journeys from North Carolina to Georgia’s St. Simons Island. Although confused and scared, she hopes to find answers about her past – her life before the years of foster care and raising her two half-brothers as a young adult. Will she find steady ground on the island, surrounded by an eccentric-but-kindhearted group of older women called The Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter? Or will the truth splinter what’s left of her identity into pieces?