On the beautiful and windswept island of Tresco, two worlds live side by side. The wealthy visitors come by helicopter to stay at their lavish time-share properties. The estate staff travel by boat, and work all hours to keep them happy, to keep the money flowing in. But while the blue skies and savage waves make the island seem a wild paradise, under the surface the inhabitants are concealing more than they dare reveal. The truths about their marriages, their love affairs, and what they do in the darkness while their neighbours are sleeping.
As black clouds come rolling in and a storm hits the island, truths and rumours begin to tumble out, wreaking terrible damage. In the midst of the tempest, two women are attacked and one goes missing. The secrets of this fragile community can no longer be hidden if it hopes to survive. The islanders must finally reveal what they did in the storm, no matter the cost.
Hi and welcome to my review of What We Did In the Storm!
I love all of Tina Baker’s books, I’ve been a fan from the start, AND I love an island setting, in other words What We Did In the Storm seemed right up my street and I did have a great time with it.
I would definitely categorise What We Did In the Storm as a slow-burner, in that we follow the islanders before the storm mentioned in the title and we are made privy to some glimpses after said storm, but man, are we made to wait to find out what actually happened during the storm!
Is that an issue? Well, no, not really. Life on Tresco is rather fascinating. I’d never even heard of it, so I loved being transported there and absorbing the atmosphere from afar. I love island settings because they always offer that locked room vibe I so enjoy, and I especially enjoyed this setting because I also love reading about two worlds colliding, in this case the islanders who live there and the rich tourists who visit, do whatever they please and then bugger off again.
The characters, both islanders and visitors, are quite fascinating as well. It soon becomes clear that many of them have secrets, and, if not flat-out murderous then at least violent intent. And Christ, are they gossipmongers! My only issue with the characters was that there are rather many different points of view. As I wasn’t able to binge this book, reading only a few chapters before bed, I sometimes had to dig a little too deep at the start of a new chapter to remember who this person was again. As I read on and got deeper into the story, this became a non-issue as I got to know everyone and their dog (quite literally), and with hindsight, I do feel that we need those multiple points of view.
For me, What We Did In the Storm is not only a great psychological thriller, but also a character study of a small, close-knit community, and Tina Baker’s vivid writing and sense of humour breathe life into the island and its people. While I guessed some secrets correctly, others took me completely by surprise, and overall, I found What We Did In the Storm very entertaining. Recommended.
What We Did In the Storm is out in digital formats, hardcover and audio on 15 February, with the paperback to follow in July.
Massive thanks to Viper and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.