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Summary

In the early hours of Monday December 28, 1908, a girl steals through the garden of Villa Mazzini. Lilla is on her way to meet Enzo, and together, they intend to leave on a steamship for a new life in America. First, though, they must evade his father’s spies, for Don Carmelo believes the daughter of a fisherman unworthy of his son’s affections; and second, they must survive the greatest earthquake in the city’s long history.

In July 1943, Mira receives a visit from Lieutenant Aldo de la Grascia at her family home in the village of Ganzirri. Mira is fond of the officer and without his continuous gift of provisions, her café would have closed long ago. However, the war has already made her a widow, and Mira isn’t sure if she is ready to love again. Then, late one night, an Italian sailor knocks on her door and asks her to help his companion, a wounded British naval officer.

And in the summer of 2018 on the beach at Capo Peloro, Angelica is intrigued by an Englishwoman who speaks Sicilian in the Messinese dialect and who seems more than a little melancholy. In the afternoon, the woman goes for a swim and is caught in the strong tides that run through the strait. Angelica wonders whether the woman has put herself in danger intentionally and knows there is little that can be done to prevent her from drowning, that is, until a feluca appears. 

A three-part novel based on historical events, Constant Tides follows the loves of three courageous women through the spring, summer, and autumn of their lives in the Strait of Messina, Sicily.

©2020 Peter Crawley (P)2020 Peter Crawley

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Another eloquent novel from Peter Crawley

A wonderful and absorbing saga of 3 Italian generations full of expertly researched historical detail which transports you to both the delights and horrors of Messina in Sicily.

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Fascinating read

What a fascinating read! I received this as an ARC from Peter in exchange for an honest review. I’m so glad I did as it is definitely not a book I would usually pick up. The book is separated into two parts. My favourite was part one. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the events around the earthquake and the result of relationships off the back of this event. I’ve rated it 4*’s as I felt that it was very long! It’s as if it’s two different books added into one however this is good as it meant that I listened to part two straight away and didn’t forget the story. I enjoyed learning about Messina. Having been born in Malta, I could picture a similar setting, aided further by the way Peter describes the story so well. I thoroughly enjoyed this!

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"A sea of conflicting emotions."

1908, Messina, and Leela, a fifteen years old daughter of a fisherman's family awaits her love, Enzo, the 18 years old son of a wealthy, upstanding member of the community totally opposed to the young couple's relationship. They are meeting to run away together, taking passage by ship to America. It doesn't happen. Constant Tides is a book of three lifetimes set over a century, 1908, 1943, and 2019, in the Sicilian beauty of Messina and each explores lives and loves and family, in beauty and desperation. The stories are visually descriptive, the writing very simple and easy to read even if some of the accounts are hard to absorb. This reader found the events of the first book completely absorbing, a thriller as much as a love story, set, as it was, at the time of a massive earthquake which devastated the area and killed so many. After so dramatic a beginning it was difficult for the following books to retain such attention and, although good, neither fully took hold of this reader's imagination and empathy in the same way although the mind pictures painted by the scenes of hunting for swordfish were mesmerizing with a tinge of the horrific.

Narration was by Scott Alexander Going who read with no attempt at a dramatic performance. His English accented voice is warm and pleasant with a fine timbre and , where required, an authentic sounding Italian accent. However, especially early in the stories, his delivery was not smooth but halting and slightly slower than this reader felt appropriate, although speeding the playback to 1.25 seemed a step too far. Overall, however, this was a minor blip on the enjoyment of the book.

My thanks to the rights holder of Constant Tides, who, at my request freely gifted me with a complimentary copy via Audiobook Boom. The intricacies of relationship were fascinating, the stories of individuals fascinating and not always as predictable as they could easily havebecome, and the Sicilian setting was exhilaration. And, like the people around us, the individuals in the stories and about whom we learn so much, still somehow manage to hide their full character, always being observed from afar rather than becoming intimates of the reader. A long book at almost 19 hours, slow moving but absorbing with far more than just an intergenerational family love story. Recommended, if only for the descriptions in book one alone.

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A brilliant Sicilian Saga

Constant Tides, by Peter Crawley, is a saga that ebbs and flows across more than a century in Messina, from the terrifying earthquake in 1908, through the brutality of the second world war in Sicily, up to the present day. The characters, their stories, lives, loves, and deaths are woven together intricately as they echo through the generations.

The story is beautifully narrated by Scott Alexander Young,

I really enjoyed this summertime listen.

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  • Marla
  • 29-01-21

Lovely Story

When an earthquake hits, plans of love can be changed. This is an excellent story of love and what gets in the way. Scott Alexander Young did an excellent performance on this book.



This book
was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

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  • Romeo
  • 13-11-20

Beautiful story

I read and listened to Peter Crawleys’s Constant Tides at the same time, which worked for me. Highly enjoyable, and difficult not to feel close affinity with the three main characters across the different years. Crawley writes with such beauty and gentle pace. Such a nice change to so many other modern novels that seem to rush everything. A beautiful story that should be enjoyed by so many others.

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  • J.Morgan
  • 13-11-20

Loved the story and narration

Scott Alexander Young's voice resonates so well in this story. I'm a believer that the voice and quality of the narrator is as important as the novel itself, and here we have both in abundance. Great story, great voice. I do like stories that take us away into the lives of others in the past, and Crawley's novel does this ever so well. Bravo!

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  • Sea Monkey
  • 13-11-20

Heart felt - with great narration

One of those audio books where the more you listen to the narrator's voice, the more you want to listen. British accent, I believe, and works so well with this warm yet in parts sad story. I enjoyed listening to this over a number of days. Thank you to the author.

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  • Loki
  • 31-10-20

Highly enjoyable

My first Peter Crawley book and glad I tried it on audio first.
An easy listen, keeping me listening for long sessions.
Enjoyable and quite poignant in parts.The pace was good,and I enjoyed the story looking back at times in the past.