Hold Back the Tide Review: Pros and Cons of living with an alleged murderer

November 22, 2021 by Bec | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

Hold Back the Tide Review: Pros and Cons of living with an alleged murdererHold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury
Published by Scholastic Press on March 5th, 2020
Source: Purchased
Genres: Historical, Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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Here are the rules of living with a murderer.One: Do not draw attention to yourself.Of course, when you live with a murderer, this is impossible. Even the subtlest of spectres is bound to be noticed. Which leads to the next rule.Two: If you can't be invisible, be useful.

Everyone in this quiet lakeside community knows that Alva's father killed her mother, all those years ago. There wasn't enough proof to arrest him, though, and with no other family, Alva's been forced to live with her mother's murderer, doing her best to survive until she can earn enough money to run away.One of her chores is to monitor water levels in the loch-a task her father takes very seriously. Their family has been the guardian of the loch for generations. It's a cold, lonely task, and a few times, Alva can swear she feels someone watching her.But the more Alva investigates, the more she realizes that the truth can be more monstrous than lies, and that you can never escape your past . . .

The Good Things

  • Hello, my name is Bec and I have a book hangover thanks to this novel.
  • It’s a YA standalone thriller. A historical fantasy/ supernatural thriller actually, which I didn’t realise until I was a few chapters in.
  • This is one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read. Most supernatural things in books I find interesting but not super creepy (except books with ghosts. Ghosts always creep me out). Not this one. It had my skin crawling with some descriptions. I had some big “NOPE” reactions.
  • The tension is slow to build, but once the plot gets moving it’s impossible to stop! The last two thirds had me right on the edge of my seat. I flew through it so quickly.
  • I really liked Alva and Ren and wish we got to see more of them interacting. They had some precious moments.
  • The ending was… it was so good. Very fitting for the story, but very bittersweet. I wasn’t expecting it to hit me quite like it did.



The Not-So-Good Things

  • Every now and then there’d be a phrase that sounded a bit modern (to me) and it threw me out of the story.
  • I predicted a lot of the plot twists. Which I didn’t mind too much overall because the reveals were well written, but not a lot surprised me. Except the ending. That did take me by surprise.
  • I’m sad it was so short! I wanted to get to know the side characters more, particularly Gavan, Alva’s father, and Ren.


This book was SO GOOD. It started slow, but built to a suspenseful and creepy tale. Loved the setting and wanted more of the characters. I enjoyed it immensely (even though the ending HURT).

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Bec is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves all types of novels. Fantasy, sci fi, and historical are my usual go-to genres. If I’m not binge reading, I’m usually gaming, trying to take decent photos for bookstagram, or freaking out about silly things.

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