It is very rare for me to read a story 5 times; I have read this book at least that many times if not more.
The following is taken from Goodreads: “Irish photojournalist Grace Brennan travels the world’s war zones documenting the helpless and forgotten. After the death of her friend and mentor in the field, Grace is shaken. She returns to London hoping to rekindle the spark with the only man she ever loved– Scottish businessman Ian McDonald. But he gave up his championship rowing career and dreams of Olympic gold years ago for Grace… only for her to choose her career over him. Will life’s tides bring them back together… or tear them apart for good this time?”
I absolutely love this story because I haven’t read anything like it before. The author, Carla Laureano, wrote about a subject that is extremely delicate and, often, taboo: PTSD and mental health.
The main character, Grace, spent most of her adult life covering wars. She had recently been to Syria and was due to start another assignment in another country. However, while waiting for her plane, she bolted. Grace realized that she could not handle going to another war zone and see more death and destruction. So, she headed for a city that she hasn’t been to in a long time: London. Before she left to start her career, she fell in love with handsome, wealthy Scotsman named Ian McDonald.
The two could not have been more different. She was a jeans, t-shirt, and ball cap kind of girl while Ian was a “suit and tie” kind of guy. Grace had tattoos all over her arms and carried a camera everywhere she went. Ian’s hair was never out of place, and he carried a briefcase with him. They met when they were younger and fell in love. Ian had even proposed to Grace, and they were going to get married, but Grace had a once-in-a-lifetime offer from a top photographer who worked in LA. She decided that her career was more important and left. Ian came home to find Grace gone, and the ring on the kitchen counter. He was crushed. It took a long time for him to get over her. Although, he never really did.
I enjoyed the fact that these two people were completely different. When two people have different personalities and character traits, they can bring out the best in the other person. I feel that Grace and Ian did that. Grace showed Ian that you can’t always control what happens. Life is messy and unpredictable. Ian showed Grace that reliability and predictability can be good things. He proved that he will always be there for her.
Now, the actual story started 10 years later. Ian and Grace saw each other for the first time since left him a decade ago. A lot of time passed since then, but their feelings for each other didn’t diminish. Even though their feelings didn’t changed, they both changed and grew as individuals.
Grace had repressions from working in the Middle East. She had seen a lot of death, destruction, and terror. Throughout the story, she got flashbacks to her time covering the war. The more she tried to recreate her life in London with Ian, the worse the PTSD and panic attacks became.
I admire the author tackling such a precarious subject. It is obvious that Laureano did a lot of research on PTSD before writing the book. She wrote about an extremely sensitive subject with great respect while maintaining the accuracy of the condition. She didn’t shy away from the difficulty of living with this disorder. Laureano tackled the challenge head on, much like Grace at the end of the story.
Overall, I loved this story. The author wrote about a very sensitive subject, and she did so in an extremely respectable way. She didn’t shy away from realities of living with PTSD and anxiety. If you want to read an uplifting story, I highly recommend London Tides.
The featured photo is my own. It may not be copied or pre-produced without my express permission.