Review: Tideline by Penny Hancock


Plume | 2012

Alternate Title: Kept in the Dark

Ugh, what the fuck did I just read?

This missed the mark on being a psychological thriller in a big way – it’s basically borderline pedophilia fiction.


I just can’t even with this shit.

I was so uncomfortable the entire time reading this. I’m still uncomfortable thinking about it to write this review.

A quick synopsis: Middle-aged Sonia – unhappily married with a grown daughter – plies 15-year-old Jez with drugs and alcohol in order to make him compliant so she can hold him captive in her home, because he reminds her of her first real love, Seb, who died when they were teens and…

…also another thing that I won’t spoil, but really, it’s disgusting. I won’t say it, but you probably know somewhere deep down what I want to say. I won’t say it. But I’m saying it without saying it. Like telepathically. You get it.

So, you know…gross.

Sonia gave me the worst case of heeby-jeebies I’ve ever had. She 👏 is 👏 so 👏 fucked 👏 up.

I knew from other reviews that this would be a messed up story – any time a woman kidnaps a teenage boy things are going to get unsettling. But I thought it would be a little more suspense or thrills with disturbing moments, maybe Sonia trying to escape discovery. Instead, it’s honestly just descriptions about an adult licking the stomach of a child, sucking his fingers, touching his…

…and when Sonia has to be around other adults, she spends all her time fantasizing, in detail, about sexually assaulting that kidnapped child as soon as she can get back to him.

It’s just so many shades of wrong, wrong, WRONG.

Listen, I’m no prude. The furthest thing from it. I love novels that go there and don’t beat around the bush. That is one thing that I have said in my reviews of Chevy Stevens, someone this book is compared to. Ummm, no. Chevy Stevens is one thing. But this…this was a totally different, disgusting, fucked up thing. There is no REASON for any of this! There are no deeper themes or conversations to be had. This seems to literally only exist for people who… like pedophilia? Or… what? WHAT IS THE POINT?

Have you ever gotten sucked in by a news story about a teacher that has slept with a student? Have you ever wondered what that woman was thinking and how she convinced herself that fucking a child was an okay thing to do? Then this is the book for you, you fucking sicko.

This was not the book for me.


At the house next door, respectability can hide all manner of sins…

When her neighbor’s fifteen-year-old nephew goes missing, Sonia is the last person that anyone would suspect. At forty-three, she is a strikingly attractive wife and mother. And like the River House, her lovely home overlooking the Thames, Sonia’s life is a picture of perfection and normalcy–until she meets Jez. From the moment he shows up on Sonia’s doorstep, the gorgeous teenage boy awakens a torrent of memories that threaten to reveal a terrifying truth. Drawn to Jez by a compulsion that she scarcely understands, Sonia takes him captive–prepared to sacrifice everything to keep him.

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