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Tidepool

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If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise… In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappeared while on a business trip, and his sister, Sorrow, won’t rest until she finds out what happened to him. Defying her father’s orders to remain at home, she travels to Tidepool, the last place Henry is known to have visited. Residents of the small, shabby oceanside town can’t quite meet Sorrow’s If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise… In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappeared while on a business trip, and his sister, Sorrow, won’t rest until she finds out what happened to him. Defying her father’s orders to remain at home, she travels to Tidepool, the last place Henry is known to have visited. Residents of the small, shabby oceanside town can’t quite meet Sorrow’s eyes when she asks about her brother. When corpses wash up on shore looking as if they’ve been torn apart by something not quite human, Sorrow is ready to return to Baltimore and let her father send in the professional detectives. However, after meeting Ada Oliver, a widow whose black silk dresses and elegant manners set her apart from other Tidepool residents, Sorrow discovers Tidepool’s dark, deadly secret. With this discovery, some denizens of Tidepool—human and otherwise—are hell-bent on making sure Sorrow never leaves their forsaken town. Lovecraftian dark fantasy gets a modern treatment in this terrifying debut novel.


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If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise… In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappeared while on a business trip, and his sister, Sorrow, won’t rest until she finds out what happened to him. Defying her father’s orders to remain at home, she travels to Tidepool, the last place Henry is known to have visited. Residents of the small, shabby oceanside town can’t quite meet Sorrow’s If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise… In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappeared while on a business trip, and his sister, Sorrow, won’t rest until she finds out what happened to him. Defying her father’s orders to remain at home, she travels to Tidepool, the last place Henry is known to have visited. Residents of the small, shabby oceanside town can’t quite meet Sorrow’s eyes when she asks about her brother. When corpses wash up on shore looking as if they’ve been torn apart by something not quite human, Sorrow is ready to return to Baltimore and let her father send in the professional detectives. However, after meeting Ada Oliver, a widow whose black silk dresses and elegant manners set her apart from other Tidepool residents, Sorrow discovers Tidepool’s dark, deadly secret. With this discovery, some denizens of Tidepool—human and otherwise—are hell-bent on making sure Sorrow never leaves their forsaken town. Lovecraftian dark fantasy gets a modern treatment in this terrifying debut novel.

30 review for Tidepool

  1. 5 out of 5

    Permanently_Booked

    Richly dark and enthralling! The premise of Tidepool with it’s Lovecraftian vibe sucked me in with vivid imagery and deliciously creepy lore. Sorrow’s brother has not returned from a business trip to Tidepool and it is not like him to disappear without notice. Against her father’s wishes she travels to Tidepool and soon realizes the town has a lot to hide from outsiders and some will stop at nothing to protect their town. I expected an enticing horror read but not in the ghastly forms of what lu Richly dark and enthralling! The premise of Tidepool with it’s Lovecraftian vibe sucked me in with vivid imagery and deliciously creepy lore. Sorrow’s brother has not returned from a business trip to Tidepool and it is not like him to disappear without notice. Against her father’s wishes she travels to Tidepool and soon realizes the town has a lot to hide from outsiders and some will stop at nothing to protect their town. I expected an enticing horror read but not in the ghastly forms of what lurked in these pages. I was riveted as Sorrow unlocks the secret behind her brother’s disappearance and the town around her erupts into chaos. Sorrow was a well-developed character. She has a genuine heart and righteous attitude that makes it easy to appreciate her perspective. Her persona follows a believable path of change as the fear slowly eats away at her. I was honestly impressed with the start to finish aspect of Sorrow as she morphs physically and mentally in this book. She isn’t all though. Ada and Quentin Oliver are just as fleshed out and unique as Sorrow. Each with a colorful past and characteristics that make you appreciate what they do for the plot. The POVs fluctuate between a few of the characters but not in any way that makes the story confusing. I loved the backstory on Ada that was added. She is seriously a mixture of haunting, admirable and soulless that I could not turn away from. The writing style is easy to follow and expertly descriptive. I did feel it was a little longer than needed in some areas, but my anxiousness may be to blame for that. This is set in 1913 and there is a semi disturbing sexual scene. Also, a good dash of gore and murder and floating people parts. This is a horror after all, and you’ll probably never look at dark ocean depths the same way again. Thank you to Parliament Press and Nicole Willson for the opportunity to read this gifted ARC in exchange for an honest review. If you love ghastly, gory and unique reads set in older eras than I highly recommend this. Especially if you’re a Lovecraft connoisseur. True rating 4.5/5.

  2. 5 out of 5

    The Starry Library

    'Tidepool' is a dark, dank, deathly story about fate, truth, and human relationships. The story is set in Tidepool, a mysterious oceanside town harbouring deadly secrets beneath its ominous waters. After her brother goes missing on a business trip, Sorrow Hamilton ventures out to the eerie town where secrets alive and dead bind and menace her to its terrifying curse. A sinister woman dressed in black and macabre things that wash ashore haunt and horrify Sorrow until she is able to uncover the tr 'Tidepool' is a dark, dank, deathly story about fate, truth, and human relationships. The story is set in Tidepool, a mysterious oceanside town harbouring deadly secrets beneath its ominous waters. After her brother goes missing on a business trip, Sorrow Hamilton ventures out to the eerie town where secrets alive and dead bind and menace her to its terrifying curse. A sinister woman dressed in black and macabre things that wash ashore haunt and horrify Sorrow until she is able to uncover the true goings on of the creepy town. Atmospheric, tantalizing, and suspenseful, 'Tidepool' is dark gothic fantasy at its finest. The author Nicole Willson’s evocative writing creates a sense of doom and gloom that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Willson’s dark elegant characterization and vintage horror inspiration, stains every page of this engrossing tale. I look forward to reading more from the author. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a free ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peter McLean

    The creeping dread of Lovecraftian horror by way of American Horror Story - Tidepool will ensure you never look at the ocean the same way again!

  4. 4 out of 5

    draxtor

    Super enjoyed Tidepool. Super inspiring female lead, venturing out [in 1913 no less] to rescue her brother and take matters in her own hand, even continuing as the gnarly, green and wet tentacle thingies rise from the deep. Bumbling non-committal men are along for the ride except one young/old fellow who is treated with kindness. Amidst the gore and the horror is REAL humanity from start to finish and that is not easy to do in a genre that is saturated with attempts to outdo Lovecraft in grossne Super enjoyed Tidepool. Super inspiring female lead, venturing out [in 1913 no less] to rescue her brother and take matters in her own hand, even continuing as the gnarly, green and wet tentacle thingies rise from the deep. Bumbling non-committal men are along for the ride except one young/old fellow who is treated with kindness. Amidst the gore and the horror is REAL humanity from start to finish and that is not easy to do in a genre that is saturated with attempts to outdo Lovecraft in grossness and piling on tropes. Splendid debut!!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alexis Hall

    *received from NG for some reason** This is a lovecrafty-gothic horror type thing, set in early 20th century America and centering on a rundown coastal town with dark secrets. The heroine, Sorrow, has come to Tidepool in order to discover what’s happened to her missing brother—although this isn’t much of a mystery to the reader because we find out in the prologue. I wanted to like this more than, in practice, I did. It has lots of elements I usually find appealing—and there’s definitely a decent s *received from NG for some reason** This is a lovecrafty-gothic horror type thing, set in early 20th century America and centering on a rundown coastal town with dark secrets. The heroine, Sorrow, has come to Tidepool in order to discover what’s happened to her missing brother—although this isn’t much of a mystery to the reader because we find out in the prologue. I wanted to like this more than, in practice, I did. It has lots of elements I usually find appealing—and there’s definitely a decent sense of atmosphere alongside some moments of pleasing creepiness—but the writing and the characterisation ultimately fell pretty flat to me. The brother is kind of a lechy dick for the two seconds he’s on page, so it was hard to care that he was eaten by sea monsters (not a spoiler, he’s eaten by sea monsters literally in the prologue), even if he was an important to Sorrow. As for Sorrow herself, she’s got that independent heroine vibe going, but I never really felt I knew who she was. The secondary characters, similarly, had a sketched quality to them that never quite let them feel like individuals. By far the most interesting character is the antagonist, Mrs Oliver—but, with only one chapter from her POV, I personally felt there wasn’t enough of her. I think she’s meant to be a dark reflection of Sorrow but the only reason I think this is because she literally gives the “we are not so unalike, you and I” speech near the end of the book. She also has faint queer vibes, although they ultimately manifest in her having dubiously consensual sex with her abusive husband and then murdering him in a scene that I found somewhat uncomfortable. And not in the “ooh, I’m out of my comfort zone” sense so much as the “I don’t quite understand what you’re trying to say with this” sense. I also felt the middle section of the book degenerated the oddest quadrille around whether the heroine was going to leave Tidepool. I suspect this is an integral problem to what you might call place-based horror: you keep having to address the question of why the protagonist just doesn’t get the fuck out of there. The problem here was that the book kept addressing it, and then addressing it some more, with various characters apparently rolling a dice every morning to decide whether they were going to demand she leave or insist she stay. For me, the issue here wasn’t so much that the heroine doesn’t leave—with this kind of story, one suspends disbelief around such ideas. It was on-going hokey-cokey around it that made it feel like a distraction from the … you know. The actual story of whatever creepy shit was going down in Tidepool, and the degree its denizens were complicit in it. And while the final reckoning in Tidepool felt both inevitable and darkly satisfying, this was not, in the end, the conclusion of the story. We move forward in time, jumping perspectives between Sorrow herself, Sorrow’s father, and Mrs Oliver’s weird brother. I think this was meant to give the events at Tidepool an impact beyond a single place and time, except it didn’t fully work for me. Not least because the very final chapter includes a trans woman named Natalie whose sole narrative purpose seems to involve being misgendered by some dickheads. Again, this is complicated—and it is definitely not my place to pass judgement on the representation of marginalised groups to which I do not belong—but I don’t think anyone is served by this particular inclusion since Natalie’s transness is less about her than about the cis-gaze of both the aforementioned dickheads and indeed (rightly or wrongly) the narrative. Anyway, Tidepool didn’t end up working for me. But it’s certainly an engaging read, especially for fans of gothic-Lovecraftian horror.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paulette Kennedy

    TIDEPOOL had me by the collar right from the jump. I finished it in less than 24 hours. Let’s start with the world-building. With any genre of fiction, immersive descriptions are the first indicator I will enjoy a book. If I am grounded in the environment enough to feel as if I’m experiencing events right along with the characters, I know I won’t be able to put a book down. Nicole Willson does this effortlessly. (Which means she took a *lot* of effort as a writer, because the depth of her researc TIDEPOOL had me by the collar right from the jump. I finished it in less than 24 hours. Let’s start with the world-building. With any genre of fiction, immersive descriptions are the first indicator I will enjoy a book. If I am grounded in the environment enough to feel as if I’m experiencing events right along with the characters, I know I won’t be able to put a book down. Nicole Willson does this effortlessly. (Which means she took a *lot* of effort as a writer, because the depth of her research shows itself with her historical world-building.) I could see, hear, and even smell Tidepool, the fictional coastal town where the novel is set. Sorrow is a wonderful lead character with a wonderfully ironic name. When she goes to Tidepool to investigate the recent disappearance of her beloved older brother, she encounters an intriguing cast of locals...and hears disturbing rumors of an ancient eldritch horror that holds the town hostage. Insular small towns with dark secrets and a snarling wariness toward strangers are a favorite trope in Gothic fiction. I truly felt for and empathized with Sorrow as she kept coming up against the meddling townsfolk and the endless, frustrating dead ends that complicated her quest for the truth. As for villains, I swoon for a fully-realized Byronic antiheroine who is just as well formed and seductive as her oft-portrayed male counterparts. In Ada, Willson has created a brooding and sinister foil for Sorrow’s youthful exuberance. I fell in love with Ada’s malevolent presence in this book. Her backstory had me riveted. Even though her actions were dubious, her reasons for doing as she did made for an antagonist with sympathetic qualities. She was my favorite character and I couldn’t help but picture Eva Green while reading her. The horror elements and monsters were well-placed and didn’t feel forced or contrived. While parts of the book are darkly humorous, the sense of looming dread is carried effectively throughout, ramping up fear and anticipation ahead of the climax. This is a quick read, coming in just under 300 pages, and will satisfy readers who enjoy Lovecraftian horror. Readers who enjoyed Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent and Melmoth will also enjoy this book. I’m excited to see what Nicole Willson creates next! You can pre-order TIDEPOOL from your favorite bookseller.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz

    Do not go to Tidepool. Unless you want hungry ocean gods to feast on you. As a fan of sinister seasides and Lovecraftian overtones, I had a blast reading Tidepool. Sorrow Hamilton loves her brother Henry. When he goes missing, she follows him to Tidepool, the last place he visited before disappearing. The small shoreline city seems boring and its residents backward-thinking. Just when Sorrow wants to leave, a body washes up on the beach. From there, things only get worse. Once I started it, I cou Do not go to Tidepool. Unless you want hungry ocean gods to feast on you. As a fan of sinister seasides and Lovecraftian overtones, I had a blast reading Tidepool. Sorrow Hamilton loves her brother Henry. When he goes missing, she follows him to Tidepool, the last place he visited before disappearing. The small shoreline city seems boring and its residents backward-thinking. Just when Sorrow wants to leave, a body washes up on the beach. From there, things only get worse. Once I started it, I couldn't put the book down. With twists and scares aplenty, Tidepool won me over with its creepy atmosphere, well-rounded characters, and compelling mystery. ARC through NetGalley

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jaye Viner

    This was good fun. Or maybe bad fun? Because it is a horror novel, and it delivers on those things that people expect from horror novels like the claustrophobic setting that characters mysteriously cannot escape from. And the extravagant true story that half the cast just cannot believe. I would've liked to know more about the monsters/spend more time with them, but perhaps that will be in another novel. This was good fun. Or maybe bad fun? Because it is a horror novel, and it delivers on those things that people expect from horror novels like the claustrophobic setting that characters mysteriously cannot escape from. And the extravagant true story that half the cast just cannot believe. I would've liked to know more about the monsters/spend more time with them, but perhaps that will be in another novel.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: Dripping with atmosphere and creepy characters, Tidepool is a treat for lovers of cosmic horror. Tidepool is Nicole Willson’s debut novel, and wow I had so much fun with this! This is a horror tale that takes place in 1913 Maryland and almost feels like a cozy mystery in the beginning. But watch out, because this story has teeth—or tentacles, maybe I should say—and it doesn’t take long before blood is spilled and bodies are torn apart. But I’m getting ahead of myself! The story c The nitty-gritty: Dripping with atmosphere and creepy characters, Tidepool is a treat for lovers of cosmic horror. Tidepool is Nicole Willson’s debut novel, and wow I had so much fun with this! This is a horror tale that takes place in 1913 Maryland and almost feels like a cozy mystery in the beginning. But watch out, because this story has teeth—or tentacles, maybe I should say—and it doesn’t take long before blood is spilled and bodies are torn apart. But I’m getting ahead of myself! The story centers around Sorrow Hamilton, a young woman whose brother Henry has gone missing after he visited the seaside town of Tidepool. Henry and his father want to turn Tidepool into a tourist attraction, but the reclusive locals have no interest at all in opening their town up to a bunch of strangers. When Henry doesn’t return after a couple of weeks, Sorrow decides to take matters into her own hands and sets out for Tidepool, even though her father forbids her to go. But when she arrives, she finds a dank, shabby town full of unfriendly locals who insist that they don’t know what happened to Henry. And when Sorrow sees a dead body wash up on the shore, she knows something isn’t quite right in Tidepool. Who is the mysterious Mrs. Ada Oliver and why does she keep her daughter Lucy in the basement? What really happened to Henry? And what does the ominous message in the cemetery-—“If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise”—mean? No matter how hard Sorrow tries to leave Tidepool, she's thwarted by one thing or another. If she doesn’t get out soon, it might be too late… This is one of those stories that creeps up on you, and I do mean “creeps”. The first chapter is told from Henry’s point of view, as he arrives in Tidepool and tries to make friends with the locals, telling them his grand development ideas and how they will benefit the town financially. But by the end of the chapter, the reader has an idea of Henry’s fate, although the details are a little vague. When Sorrow decides to go after him, we switch to her perspective. Sorrow doesn’t know what the reader knows, so it was fun to see her try to piece together all the clues. At the same time, there was always a question in the back of my mind about what really happened to Henry, so reading that chapter didn’t spoil anything, it only added to the suspense and creepiness of the tale. Willson drops hints about the weirdness of Tidepool as the story goes along—the suspicious behavior of the townspeople, the odd man on the beach who is gathering sea water into jars, the local police who don’t seem concerned about a dead body on the beach—and that weirdness grows as the reader comes to realize that something sinister is lurking just below the surface. Sorrow senses this right away and tries to leave town over and over, but something is keeping her in Tidepool.  The story is full of fascinating characters, and my favorites by far were Sorrow and Ada, two very strong women who are complete opposites but actually have a lot in common. Sorrow is a woman way ahead of her time. Her father wants her to act like a proper lady and get married, but Sorrow is a writer and her dream is to become a journalist someday. She has an annoying suitor named Charlie Sherman, who is sent to Tidepool by her father to find her and bring her home. Charlie tries to push her around, but I was happy to see that Sorrow wasn’t going to have any of that nonsense. She was a delightfully independent woman in a time when women weren’t allowed to do much on their own.  Ada’s character surprised me, because in the beginning I didn’t like her much. She’s portrayed as the villain, and there are oh so many secrets swirling around her. She’s rich, for one thing, and she always dresses in outdated dreary black dresses. She lives in a creepy mansion on the hill with her daughter Lucy and her brother Quentin, and the townsfolk seem to respect her and her odd family, for some reason. It isn’t until Ada gets her own chapter that we learn about her past and how she came to live in Tidepool. This is the point where the story really took off for me, since another layer of the mystery is pulled back and the reader finally learns about what’s really going on in Tidepool. Ada is driven by her duty to protect the town, and in fact she reminded me a little of Buffy! I also loved Quentin, Ada’s weird brother. Quentin and Sorrow develop a nice friendship during her stay in Tidepool, and he turned out to be a really interesting character with plenty of his own surprises. As for Charlie, well I couldn’t stand him, but I don’t think you’re supposed to like him. Charlie has only one thing on his mind—getting Sorrow to follow him around and do whatever he says. Luckily, Sorrow isn’t that kind of girl! As for the story itself, it did not go at all where I was expecting it to go. The big, bloody finale happens well before the end of the book, which surprised me because I couldn’t figure out how the author was going to wrap things up. But then, we get to follow Ada, Quentin and Sorrow after those events to see what happens next, and I really loved the fact that Willson includes these “bonus” chapters in her story. If you’re a fan of slow burn, creeping terror of the Lovecraftian variety, you’ll probably love Tidepool. I’m hooked, and I can’t wait to see what Nicole Willson does next! Big thanks to the publisher and the author for providing a review copy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ClaireJ

    I loved this book which is a creepy, unsettling, Lovecraftian inspired horror story. The setting of the small, seaside town of Tidepool is brought to life with such vivid imagery. It sent shivers down my spine with the dark, eerie suspense that was being created in the pages in front of me. Bodies in the sea, missing people, secretive townsfolk and a lot of graves for a small population . . . this would all make me want to get the hell out of Tidepool! The main character, Sorrow, however, is de I loved this book which is a creepy, unsettling, Lovecraftian inspired horror story. The setting of the small, seaside town of Tidepool is brought to life with such vivid imagery. It sent shivers down my spine with the dark, eerie suspense that was being created in the pages in front of me. Bodies in the sea, missing people, secretive townsfolk and a lot of graves for a small population . . . this would all make me want to get the hell out of Tidepool! The main character, Sorrow, however, is determined to discover what has happened to her missing brother and when she finds out what has happened to him, it is beyond her worst nightmares. The mysterious and sinister Ada Oliver I found terrifying to read about! I certainly will not be forgetting about her for a while. . . This is the perfect gothic read for the forthcoming spooky season with its vintage horror inspiration and American Horror Story type goriness oozing out of the pages. I certainly will be checking out more from this author in the future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nessa

    *Content Warning* - Gore, unwanted sexual advances, suicide attempts, PTSD, and stillborn babies Thank you Parliament House Press for the eARC! Omg this was such an amazing book! I got chills from reading it. I totally agree with Willson’s dedication because horror is amazing and will beat serious fiction any day. This entire novel has such a dark, eerie, and mysterious vibe that I really enjoyed and it drew me deep into the story right away. The setting was so spooky and was just so well written *Content Warning* - Gore, unwanted sexual advances, suicide attempts, PTSD, and stillborn babies Thank you Parliament House Press for the eARC! Omg this was such an amazing book! I got chills from reading it. I totally agree with Willson’s dedication because horror is amazing and will beat serious fiction any day. This entire novel has such a dark, eerie, and mysterious vibe that I really enjoyed and it drew me deep into the story right away. The setting was so spooky and was just so well written. It was easy to imagine how dismal Tidepool was and I swear I could smell dead fish by the time I finished reading it. The characters were superbly written and it was great because I don’t think anyone was totally good or evil. The villain was morally grey too, so it was hard to automatically disagree with what they were doing. The book does pose a good question though of whether it’s ok to sacrifice one bad person to save an entire town. One thing I really enjoyed about this story was how Willson includes chapters of other people’s POV in order to add more information and backstory to the plot. Also this ending omg I think it ended perfectly. I love how you get to see the ending from multiple peoples’ perspectives and how everybody’s storyline gets tied up. Oooh and the gore! The gore was the icing on this horror cake. The kill scenes were quite gruesome and added to the chills you had going down your spine from the already eerie vibe of the book. Overall, this book is amazing and spectacular and you will not want to put it down! Go check it out I highly recommend it!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Justin Lewis

    “If ye not give willingly, the Lords will rise…” How amazing is that line on the cover? What else do you need to know? Alright, I’ll give you a little more. Sorrow (yes, that’s the protagonist’s name) has come to the small town of Tidepool in search of her missing brother. She quickly realizes not everything is as it seems in Tidepool and there are those that will do anything to keep its secrets. This book was a lot of creepy fun! As we find out more about Tidepool and why they’re not fond of visit “If ye not give willingly, the Lords will rise…” How amazing is that line on the cover? What else do you need to know? Alright, I’ll give you a little more. Sorrow (yes, that’s the protagonist’s name) has come to the small town of Tidepool in search of her missing brother. She quickly realizes not everything is as it seems in Tidepool and there are those that will do anything to keep its secrets. This book was a lot of creepy fun! As we find out more about Tidepool and why they’re not fond of visitors, things get Lovecraftian in a really cool way. I was pretty invested in Sorrow’s story (just let her leave!) and that kept me reading late into the night. What’s the deal with the widow that lives in the big house on the hill? Why are there bodies washing up on the beach? Things just get worse and worse and you’ll want answers. One of the things I really enjoyed were the chapters from the widow’s perspective. Finding out more about what’s happening and why from a different POV kept me engaged and caring about a character I probably wasn’t supposed to like. If you like your small towns with secrets and your scaled creatures with scary teeth, you have to check this out. I know I’ll be anxiously awaiting whatever Nicole Willson puts out next. *Thanks to The Parliament House Press for the ebook ARC for review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Leslie

    I knew within the first few pages that Tidepool would be my type of book. Against the wishes of her father, Sorrow Hamilton ventures to the East Coast town of Tidepool where her brother mysteriously vanished. Along with Sorrow, we find that many things seem off about Tidepool: the dilapidated look, the rotting ocean smell, and most notably the stand-offish people. What is the dark secret this town hides, and why oh why can't Sorrow leave? Willson does a great job creating the town of Tidepool so t I knew within the first few pages that Tidepool would be my type of book. Against the wishes of her father, Sorrow Hamilton ventures to the East Coast town of Tidepool where her brother mysteriously vanished. Along with Sorrow, we find that many things seem off about Tidepool: the dilapidated look, the rotting ocean smell, and most notably the stand-offish people. What is the dark secret this town hides, and why oh why can't Sorrow leave? Willson does a great job creating the town of Tidepool so that it becomes its own ominous character in the story. The cast of characters are well-realized and engaging with complex motivations. It's a very easy story to visualize and would make a wonderful movie or limited series. Is Tidepool the first of many adventures into the world Willson has created? I sure hope so!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Siddoway

    This book was so much more than I anticipated. Horror, much less Lovecraftian horror, was never something I picked up willingly. I honestly wasn't expecting to fall in love with it. HOLY COW!! I had goosebumps on chapter one, and they STAYED with me until the end. It's so rare to find a book that elegantly written and can leave that lingering sense of foreboding even after your finished. I loved reading Tidepool. Ms. Willson is an incredibly talented author, and I'm so glad I had the chance to r This book was so much more than I anticipated. Horror, much less Lovecraftian horror, was never something I picked up willingly. I honestly wasn't expecting to fall in love with it. HOLY COW!! I had goosebumps on chapter one, and they STAYED with me until the end. It's so rare to find a book that elegantly written and can leave that lingering sense of foreboding even after your finished. I loved reading Tidepool. Ms. Willson is an incredibly talented author, and I'm so glad I had the chance to read her novel. I'm absolutely converted to the genre now, and you have Nicole to blame for it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jessa

    I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Tidepool is a gothic horror novel following Sorrow Hamilton, a wayward young woman who defies her father and travels to the seaside town of Tidepool after her brother, Henry, fails to return from a trip there. The instant she arrives in Tidepool, Sorrow feels uneasy, and the residents of the town are unusually cagey about answering any of her questions about Henry. Sorrow sets about uncovering the mystery of her brother's where I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Tidepool is a gothic horror novel following Sorrow Hamilton, a wayward young woman who defies her father and travels to the seaside town of Tidepool after her brother, Henry, fails to return from a trip there. The instant she arrives in Tidepool, Sorrow feels uneasy, and the residents of the town are unusually cagey about answering any of her questions about Henry. Sorrow sets about uncovering the mystery of her brother's whereabouts, and ends up discovering much more than she bargained for. I could not stop reading this book. I just had to know what would happen next. It was creepy, atmospheric, and delightfully dark. Tidepool is full of twists and scares and just when I thought I knew who was who and who was what, I was thrown all over again. I enjoyed Sorrow as a character, and found her to be a very realistic heroine. I also particularly loved the way the backstory and the legend of the Lords was woven into the novel. All in all I thoroughly recommend this read!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I really enjoyed reading this book, it was so mysterious I could not put it down! The setting of the story, Tidepool, has such a creepy atmosphere it was so easy to visualise the town the more I read about it! This book is described as a lovecraftian horror, which is a completely new genre for me and I really enjoyed that the book emphasised the horror of the unimaginable without being overly gory. (There was definitely some gory parts but they were key to the story) The story is told from Sorrow’ I really enjoyed reading this book, it was so mysterious I could not put it down! The setting of the story, Tidepool, has such a creepy atmosphere it was so easy to visualise the town the more I read about it! This book is described as a lovecraftian horror, which is a completely new genre for me and I really enjoyed that the book emphasised the horror of the unimaginable without being overly gory. (There was definitely some gory parts but they were key to the story) The story is told from Sorrow’s perspective mostly, but some of the chapters are told from other character perspectives and I really enjoyed the revealing insights into other characters in the book. I also enjoyed the last few chapters of the book, they acted as an extended epilogue. When I finished the book I wasn’t left wondering what happened to some of the characters.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Forensic13

    Really enjoyed this one! It had a good atmosphere and solid writing throughout. The MC was a decent balance between feeling historically accurate and appealing to modern audiences. Gotta appreciate someone who realizes that it’s time to grab a knife when it is clearly knife time—I can’t stand characters who are understandably nervous but don’t take any proactive steps to stay safe. My main complaint is that the book is unbalanced. The epilogue is really long for no reason, especially the part tha Really enjoyed this one! It had a good atmosphere and solid writing throughout. The MC was a decent balance between feeling historically accurate and appealing to modern audiences. Gotta appreciate someone who realizes that it’s time to grab a knife when it is clearly knife time—I can’t stand characters who are understandably nervous but don’t take any proactive steps to stay safe. My main complaint is that the book is unbalanced. The epilogue is really long for no reason, especially the part that sets up a sequel? Not sure what was going on there. I would’ve liked to see the epilogue cut significantly and then more time spent with the townspeople who are briefly characterized but not enough to make us care about them. Especially the interracial couple! They were interesting and I would have liked more time with them. Very solid overall, though.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Myles

    Tidepool wears it's influences on it's sleeve, but never relies on them too heavily. Willson manages to create a story reminiscent of Shadow Over Innsmouth with a greater focus on it's characters. Don't go near water any time soon Tidepool wears it's influences on it's sleeve, but never relies on them too heavily. Willson manages to create a story reminiscent of Shadow Over Innsmouth with a greater focus on it's characters. Don't go near water any time soon

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    Tidepool doesn’t quite make a proper stand in for a beach trip, because despite it being a small coastal town, it’s about as uninviting as they come. By design. The locals don’t want you visiting and uncovering their dark secrets. The town is drab and reeks of seafood that’s gone off with an underlying base note of fear. And yet, one young man sees a business opportunity there, a chance to make Tidepool into a new Ocean City or maybe even some day Atlantic City. Ambitious. Deadly so. The young m Tidepool doesn’t quite make a proper stand in for a beach trip, because despite it being a small coastal town, it’s about as uninviting as they come. By design. The locals don’t want you visiting and uncovering their dark secrets. The town is drab and reeks of seafood that’s gone off with an underlying base note of fear. And yet, one young man sees a business opportunity there, a chance to make Tidepool into a new Ocean City or maybe even some day Atlantic City. Ambitious. Deadly so. The young man checks in, never checks out. And soon enough his adoring and now anxious younger sister comes looking for him. She isn’t going to like what she’ll find. In fact, she will be forever changed by it. And you know why? Because something lives beneath the sea, something hungry, something that must be fed at all costs. Yeah, it’s that kind of a story and it has those tenacled Lovecraftian connotations. So it’s fun, in a way doomed towns provide a gloomy atmospheric kind of fun. Tidepool traps its visitors like a nightmare, it won’t them gone but also doesn’t really want them to leave. There’s some plot confusion here, because the locals, especially the sheriff, oddly oscillate between expelling the newcomers and locking them in. It isn’t the ambivalent thing about the narrative, there are also some questionable actions undertaken by the leads, but one must remember a. they are very young, the main protagonist is just 21 and b. they are not very worldly and that it’s over a century ago. Also, if you name your main character Sorrow, you can’t really respect her to come to a happy end. It’s a Chekhov's gun of a moniker. Overall, it’s a pretty good gothic tale. It has a lot of gothic clichés (pale people in black living in a mansion and all that) and works them nicely. It’s also ever so slightly underbaked, too lite tonally, occasionally veering into the light when it should resolutely stay in the shadows. The ending is a fine example of that. It’s like the mood is almost…tantalizingly almost…right. Which is, I suppose, another way of saying the book and the author show lots of promise and need to mind the estrogen and sunshine infusion in the text, if it’s meant to be a work of dark psychological genre fiction. The narrative is at times ever so slightly, very slightly amateurish, but well on the way to becoming professional in quality. Pretty entertaining, overall though. Tenacles and all. Thanks Netgalley. This and more at https://advancetheplot.weebly.com/

  20. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I received this and as an eARC to read for free in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to The Parliament House Press and Nicole Willson for giving me access. • This is Nicole Willson’s debut novel and it had me hooked from page one. Willson seemed to combine some of my favorite genres into one: Historical fiction ✔️ Horror ✔️ Mystery ✔️ Suspense ✔️ • We follow a strong willed woman in the early 1900’s in search of her missing brother in Tidepool, but what she finds will have you fearing any place I received this and as an eARC to read for free in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to The Parliament House Press and Nicole Willson for giving me access. • This is Nicole Willson’s debut novel and it had me hooked from page one. Willson seemed to combine some of my favorite genres into one: Historical fiction ✔️ Horror ✔️ Mystery ✔️ Suspense ✔️ • We follow a strong willed woman in the early 1900’s in search of her missing brother in Tidepool, but what she finds will have you fearing any place surrounded by ocean water. I really enjoyed the darkness of it and the vibe that was created.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    First, thanks to Parliament House Press for a copy in exchange for an honest review. If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise… More like, Abandon hope all ye who enter here! Wow, I normally don't read horror (I'm a big scaredy-cat), but this story really sucks you in and takes you on a terrifying ride that doesn't stop until the last page. I actually had to look up Lovecraftian, but this story is the definition of Lovecraftian horror. We're pulled along as Sorrow attempts to figure out what ha First, thanks to Parliament House Press for a copy in exchange for an honest review. If ye give not willingly, the Lords will rise… More like, Abandon hope all ye who enter here! Wow, I normally don't read horror (I'm a big scaredy-cat), but this story really sucks you in and takes you on a terrifying ride that doesn't stop until the last page. I actually had to look up Lovecraftian, but this story is the definition of Lovecraftian horror. We're pulled along as Sorrow attempts to figure out what happened to her brother. There's the frustrating gaslighting the town does to convince her he just went elsewhere (though we know he didn't). Then as the truth/horrors reveal themselves to her, the men that should be helping her don't believe her and keep her trapped in the town. This was atmospheric and claustrophobic and gruesome. I really liked Quentin and wish we could have seen more of him/had him take a bigger role. I didn't love Charlie (but I'm not sure I was supposed to). Definitely check it out if you're a fan of the genre (and even if you're not!).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kat Nicholas

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. “If ye give not willingly, the lords will rise” I wanted to read something from the horror genre right now and this definitely filled that void for me! It falls into the fantasy/horror genre. It reminded me a bit of Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes books in that way. Although it was a quick read for me, the the characters were fairly well developed for the length of the story, the two most developed being Ada and Sorrow. I enjoyed the parallels between the two characters- seeing how similar circumstanc “If ye give not willingly, the lords will rise” I wanted to read something from the horror genre right now and this definitely filled that void for me! It falls into the fantasy/horror genre. It reminded me a bit of Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes books in that way. Although it was a quick read for me, the the characters were fairly well developed for the length of the story, the two most developed being Ada and Sorrow. I enjoyed the parallels between the two characters- seeing how similar circumstances set them to make very different choices. I would definitely read Nicole’s next book! And the ending sort of leaves this one open for a sequel if she wanted!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This is a Gothic fantasy by new author Nicole Willson. I was intrigued by both the setting (the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia in the US) and the time period (1911), and liked the synopsis blurb so I requested an advance reader copy of it. This is the author's first book and it shows a bit, I think. Overall, I liked the storyline and the creepy seaside town vibe, as well as the main character of Sorrow Hamilton. There are definitely Crimson Peak and House of Salt and Sorrow aspects in th This is a Gothic fantasy by new author Nicole Willson. I was intrigued by both the setting (the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia in the US) and the time period (1911), and liked the synopsis blurb so I requested an advance reader copy of it. This is the author's first book and it shows a bit, I think. Overall, I liked the storyline and the creepy seaside town vibe, as well as the main character of Sorrow Hamilton. There are definitely Crimson Peak and House of Salt and Sorrow aspects in this book so if you enjoyed either/both of those, you'll probably like this one too. The book was a quick read and while sometimes with fantasy-type novels I wish there had been a bit more editing for this standalone book I actually felt it read more like a novella. I could have done with more of everything, although I liked what I did get to read. The town of Tidepool has the feel of somewhere time has passed by, but I would have liked for a bit more comparison with the how the outside world has moved on into the early 20th century. There's a brief mention of the Great War, but it wasn't mentioned again and I think could have had a stronger meaning attached to it. The book is told from a few different perspectives - Sorrow's, of course, as the main character, but also two residents of the town, Ada Oliver and her brother, Quintin. Both the Oliver's have secrets and a secret past that are touched on in the dialogue, as well as some flashback-type chapters, but I would have loved more of the past history of both of them. The other character who seemed less well-developed than I wanted was Charlie, a friend and business partner of Sorrow's missing brother, Henry, who comes to find Sorrow in Tidepool after she's gone searching for her brother. A bit more of a back story on his relationship with Henry and how he knows the family would have been a nice addition. I'm giving this one 3-3/4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed reading it but wished for a bit more substance to the story. A good first effort and I'll look for others by this author in the future. Thanks to NetGalley and The Parliament House Press for an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andreia Sofia

    I think I should start by saying that I'm not a horror reader, I think I never read an horror book before even though I want to try it and when I the publisher was me to read it I thought that this was my change. That being said I did like the books, even stopping for a few days (I do life in an island and I'm already afraid of the water)... at some point I think I had nightmares about this book, I did like this book and I enjoy reading it. It is really dark and since the first page you can alread I think I should start by saying that I'm not a horror reader, I think I never read an horror book before even though I want to try it and when I the publisher was me to read it I thought that this was my change. That being said I did like the books, even stopping for a few days (I do life in an island and I'm already afraid of the water)... at some point I think I had nightmares about this book, I did like this book and I enjoy reading it. It is really dark and since the first page you can already feel the oddness about Tidepool, and throughout the book you can feel something bad is coming! Was it scary? I don't think scary would be the word to describe this book, probably creepy and off. Did it make me think about creatures underwater? Definitely!!! The writing is just fantastic it really "sucks" you in the story and you really get in Tidepool, it's really a fluid writing. At some point I got annoyed about how many people stopped Sorrow from going home! In general would definitely recommend it if you want to try horror for the first time and want something quick!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leighton

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! Tidepool by Nicole Willson is an amazing work of gothic horror that will appeal to fans of Crimson Peak and The Shape of Water. This early 20th-century story revolves around Sorrow Hamilton, a brave and headstrong young woman who goes to the mysterious town of Tidepool after her brother Henry goes missing there. She has to find out what happened to him while dealing with the town's rude and infuriating residen Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! Tidepool by Nicole Willson is an amazing work of gothic horror that will appeal to fans of Crimson Peak and The Shape of Water. This early 20th-century story revolves around Sorrow Hamilton, a brave and headstrong young woman who goes to the mysterious town of Tidepool after her brother Henry goes missing there. She has to find out what happened to him while dealing with the town's rude and infuriating residents, who seem to all have something to hide. Then, dead mangled bodies turn up on the beach that look like they've been eaten by monsters. Is the town of TIdepool all it seems? Where is her brother? And will Sorrow make it out alive? Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1, which is from Henry's perspective: "Tidepool looked like the kind of place where people went to die, not to live. After less than a day there, Henry Hamilton had seen enough... The town was all wooden buildings that had long since warped in the town's pervasive dampness, topped by metal signs corroded from exposure to the salty air. Loose shutters banged in the breeze as Henry passed. Even the beach, which Charlie claimed would be Tidepool's main attraction, was marred by the rotted hulk of a sailboat and bloated seabird corpses washing ashore. The ramshackle stores lining the muddy main street looked like they might collapse into splinters and planks if Henry gave them a good swift kick. He was starting to want to. The pervasive odors of salt water and fish wasted off the nearby ocean, but another smell lurked underneath those, something even less pleasant. Henry couldn't identify it, but it reminded him somewhat of the stench of a dead animal rotting in the woods." After I read that excerpt, I knew that i was in a for a wild ride. As you can see from the except, the prose is gorgeous, and I felt like I had really been transported back to 1913. It's a testament to the author's skill that I didn't feel like I was reading a book in 2021. I did take off 1 star because I had to push through some parts of the novel. I know I shouldn't have expected a "fantasy," but the way that obstacles kept popping up that prevented Sorrow from achieving her goals really got on my nerves. Overall, Tidepool is gothic horror novel set by the seaside with plenty of mystery, action, and gore. It will appeal to fans of Lovecraft and Guillermo del Toro's movies. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of gothic horror, then I recommend that you check out this book when it comes out in August!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Karissa

    Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book that I got through NetGalley to review. Thoughts: This was a well done historical thriller/mystery with heavy Lovecraft influence. It was an easy enough read and kept me engaged the whole time. I did think that it went on just a bit too long at the end, but it did tie all the loose ends up well. The story focuses on Sorrow Hamilton who goes to the town of Tidepool searching for her missing brother. What she finds there stretches the bounds of sanity a Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book that I got through NetGalley to review. Thoughts: This was a well done historical thriller/mystery with heavy Lovecraft influence. It was an easy enough read and kept me engaged the whole time. I did think that it went on just a bit too long at the end, but it did tie all the loose ends up well. The story focuses on Sorrow Hamilton who goes to the town of Tidepool searching for her missing brother. What she finds there stretches the bounds of sanity and what she knows of the world. The story itself ends up being fairly predictable if you have read Lovecraft types of horror before. It's all about what dwells in the deep and the effect on sanity it has on the humans around it. I did enjoy the idea of a priesthood that protects humanity and loved that this priesthood had to constantly commit evil deeds for a greater good (it made for an ironic moral balance). This was well written and easy to read. I never had any issue with staying engaged in the story. I do feel like it could have taken things a bit deeper and further and that would have made it more intriguing and less predictable. My Summary (4/5): Overall I enjoyed this and would recommend it if you enjoy these dark types of “eldritch horrors of the deep” types of stories. This was well written and engaging. I do think it was a bit predictable and that the ending went on for too long. However, I really enjoyed some of the ideas presented in this story as well. I definitely plan on checking out Willson’s future books.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    Bravo! Love this dark delicious story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bertha Alicia

    An excellent story in which the author Nicole Willson manages to recreate the atmosphere of Lovecraft's stories. I hope the author continues to provide us with more books with this same quality and style. An excellent story in which the author Nicole Willson manages to recreate the atmosphere of Lovecraft's stories. I hope the author continues to provide us with more books with this same quality and style.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sheida

    I always hated being by the water, even before I drowned in 1851. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book Tidepool takes place in a coastal city in 1913 where mysterious things occur. When her brother goes missing, Sorrow Hamilton (yes, that's her name) goes to the town to try and find him and well ... she finds some other things. The book certainly starts off strong, it has a very captivating first chapter and the premise of a creepy "fishy" story. I liked the setti I always hated being by the water, even before I drowned in 1851. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book Tidepool takes place in a coastal city in 1913 where mysterious things occur. When her brother goes missing, Sorrow Hamilton (yes, that's her name) goes to the town to try and find him and well ... she finds some other things. The book certainly starts off strong, it has a very captivating first chapter and the premise of a creepy "fishy" story. I liked the setting and how tangible the whole atmosphere is and I really like the couple of chapters that were set in the past to provide some sort of backstory. It's quick to read and captivating enough to keep you going. However, I felt the book shows its hand pretty early on and then really struggles with finding its voice and committing to it. The characters and the dialogues all felt very flat to me. Sorrow is a 21 year old who sounds a lot like a teenager and doesn't really have a whole lot of personality, to be honest. I was disappointed that a book centered around two core sibling relationships is so quick to brush over both of these bonds and offers only a surface-level view of it all. Sorrow disobeys her father and travels to Tidepool to find her brother but when she gets her answers, she shows almost no emotion? Her discovery has almost no psychological effect on her (unless you count the very last few pages which ... more on that later). A lot of the drama felt manufactured, the characters have to leave town but then, for some random reason, they decide to stay or they decide to do something else first that prevents them from leaving town or, ... the main goal is always to leave town and I understand that in classic storytelling the whole structure tells you to present the characters with obstacle after obstacle but these obstacles are supposed to increase in intensity and to kind of make sense; here, most of it really feels unnatural. Another issue I had with the story was that, as I mentioned, it reveals the mystery really early on (we know part of it by the end of the very short first chapter and the rest that is revealed pretty soon after is not that much of a question mark). The main plot here is to see if Sorrow leaves town as we know the whole town mystery before she knows (and she finds out most of it pretty soon, as I said). Since we've seen the "monster" at the start, the story loses this element of suspense and wonder which I think that, such a unique type of monster, could have been a huge asset to use. Lastly, I may be nitpicking now but the story ends a good 50-60 pages before the actual end. There's not much to keep reading for and yet there are chapters after chapters of epilogue that really could have been simplified or just foregone altogether. Overall, I liked the premise and I think there was a lot of potential here but, ultimately, I see this mostly as a 2.5 star read. It's good enough but it could have been so much better.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pritha

    Considering It is my very first Lovecraftarian fiction, I wouldn't be able to judge how it is justified as the genre but the plot was amazing. It was, the plot's great and makes you want to read more. But I didn't like this book. A good plot is all it has got, even so, it has failed to make the puzzled pieces fall into place naturally. Some incidents were written for the sake it, some were brilliant near the end, but it gets a bit predictable nonetheless. I might have overlooked these small things Considering It is my very first Lovecraftarian fiction, I wouldn't be able to judge how it is justified as the genre but the plot was amazing. It was, the plot's great and makes you want to read more. But I didn't like this book. A good plot is all it has got, even so, it has failed to make the puzzled pieces fall into place naturally. Some incidents were written for the sake it, some were brilliant near the end, but it gets a bit predictable nonetheless. I might have overlooked these small things but the poor character building leaves a bad taste. Charlie is the worst of course. Ada lacked her own glow. Sorrow was tolerable after 100 pages. Winslow was the only character which made sense and can be considered good, followed by Queintin. The last thing that bothered me was the timeline. There weren't enough descriptions that would make you picture the timeline the author wanted you to imagine.

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