Running Against the Tide
The past will always find you
by Amanda Ortlepp
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 01 Mar 2016 | Archive Date 05 Jan 2016
Simon & Schuster (Australia), Simon & Schuster Australia
Erin Travers is running away from her life and taking her two sons with her to a small town on the ruggedly beautiful Eyre Peninsula. The close-knit township is full of happy childhood memories for Erin, but she’s bringing a whole lot of baggage with her.
When the peaceful community is disrupted by theft and arson, rumours fly about who is responsible. In a small town where lives are tangled too closely together, old grudges flare, fingers are pointed and secrets are unmasked.
From the bestselling author of Claiming Noah, Running Against the Tide is brimming with malice and threat and cements Amanda Ortlepp as one of Australia’s most compelling storytellers.
Praise for Claiming Noah
‘Emotions run high . . . A gripping, emotionally charged story’ Herald Sun
‘A thrilling and morally fascinating read’ Good Reading
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 37 members
I’ve always lived by the motto “Life is too short for bad books”, so as I was going through a bunch of new Netgalley e-ARC’s I was being ruthless in my pursuit to find the book that was worthy of my time on a Sunday afternoon. I culled quite a few (probably over 10. Eek! They shall remain nameless. Sorry Netgalley.) before I got to this one. I am so glad that I’m such a fussy reader – who knows how long it would have taken me to finally get to this one? I read this book in one sitting on that rainy Sunday afternoon. I’m always on the lookout for Australian authors that -lo and behold – write about Aussie characters in Australia. This book was everything I could ever hope to find from an Aussie author and the next time one of my overseas friends or family members ask me “Do you have a good Australian novel you could recommend?”, I’ll gladly wave this one under their nose. The story had me hooked from the beginning and there were twists in the story that I did not expect – if a book can throw me (read: spin me around until I’m really fucking dizzy), then I know it’s a winner. The characters were fairdinkum (genuine, for my non-Australian friends) and I think that’s also what kept me reading – I love it when characters pop off the page and I can still see them in my mind after I’ve finished reading the book. Not only was it a page turner, but I can’t believe how much I learned about oyster farming. And I don’t mean that in a “Ahh, the story is great, but you might want to skip past the shit about the oysters.”. It genuinely captivated my attention and now when I go away on holidays near the beach I’ll be able to strike up some great conversations about oysters with the locals. I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to see what Amanda Ortlepp does next. I’ve honestly not been this excited about stumbling upon an Australian author in a while! This book doesn’t come out until March next year (2016) – so this book doesn’t have a cover just yet (that’s right, I couldn’t wait to rant about it – It’s just too much of a great read.). A big thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Erin Travers and her two sons, Mike and Ryan arrive in the small town of Mallee Bay on the Eyre Peninsula having left Sydney with an attempt to escape from troubles, to a place where Erin has fond childhood memories. Not all is smooth sailing and while the story starts off with issues of moving to a small town and coping with living in a small town where everyone knows or wants to know everyone’s business, the story follows several different and intriguing threads which kept me on the edge wondering what would happen next. Enjoyed how the main characters developed and meeting some interesting and unusual characters such as the lovely neighbourly couple Jono and Helen and the oyster farmers including ‘Puff’ and ‘Sully’ (just got to love the nicknames!). A wonderful story that kept my interest but also raised issues such as relating to teenagers, bullying in schools and the wider community, domestic violence and gambling as well as how easy it is to pre-judge and make unfair assumptions about someone. I would highly recommend this novel as a captivating story which is very easy to read and difficult to put down. Thank you to Netgally and publisher Simon & Schuster (Australia) for providing me with an ebook copy to read and review.
The problem with Amanda Ortlepp's books, is that once you start, you can't seem to stop! Her writing is easy to read and her stories are very engaging making it hard to put her books down. Running Against the Tide is no exception. It follows Erin Travers and her two sons as they leave the troubles of Sydney behind and move to the small town of Mallee Bay on the Eyre Peninsula. Erin has fond childhood memories of Mallee Bay and her elder son Mike quickly settles into the towns way of life and is soon learning all about oyster farming. Mike's young brother Ryan has a much harder time trying to fit in. He is angry and upset with his mum for dragging him away from Sydney and from his father. Soon there are incidents of theft and arson around the Bay and fingers are pointed. Not only are the new residents under the microscope but so are the locals and ex partners. Ortlepp develops her stories and characters in such a way that makes for a compelling read.
This book was a delight to read. Ortlepp has written a book with many layers and developed the characters of this book well. It would also appear that Ortlepp researched the art of Oyster farming as well, I found her descriptions throughout the book very informative and for the uneducated (such as myself), very realistic, adding an interesting backdrop to this novel. There were twists and turns in this novel that really kept me wanting to read to the end to establish who was causing Erin grief. Erin, the main character of this novel is starting afresh after a messy separation from her husband. With two teenage sons in tow, Erin decides to uproot them to a country town, best known for it's Oysters. Needless to say, a move of this kind for two city teenagers brings with it, many issues. One son flourishes under the circumstances, the other, retreats within and a set of separate issues unfold. I won't give any spoilers in this review, but what I will say, this is a really interesting insight/study of relationships. Relationships between parents, children, neighbours and new romances are under the magnifying glass in this novel, with some mystery thrown in for good measure. A thoroughly enjoyable read. It would be very suitable for a book club read, given the diverse cross section of characters, making for interesting discussions. I read this on holidays and it would also be a great holiday read! Thank you net galley for the opportunity to read and review this title, it was a privilege.
‘… you don’t realise the effect you have on people. You don’t understand that your actions have consequences.’ Erin Travers and her sons Mike and Ryan have left Sydney, hoping to start a new life in the small town of Mallee Bay on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. Erin spent some happy times in Mallee Bay as a child, and hopes to find refuge and start a new life away from her gambling addict husband Marcus. Mallee Bay is a small, close-knit community, where everyone knows almost everything about everyone else, and where newcomers are obvious. It can be difficult establishing yourself in such a small town, especially for Erin’s son Ryan who really doesn’t want to be there. And it doesn’t take long before Erin’s move becomes complicated. Mallee Bay is no utopia, and thefts from the oyster leases have people suspicious. As does a fire. While Erin and her son Mike are settling in to life at Mallee Bay, Ryan is finding it far more difficult. And he really doesn’t want to be there anyway. This is one of those wonderfully written, multi-layered novels peopled with interesting and at times complicated characters. Two of my favourite characters would have to be Erin’s next door neighbours, Jono (an oyster farmer) and Helen. I really enjoyed this novel, and while I worked out certain aspects before the end, there were plenty of twists and turns along the way. And the ending? You’ll need to read it for yourself to find out. Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster (Australia) for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this novel. Jennifer Cameron-Smith
Having lived in a small country town in Australia I can attest to the atmosphere of a slower pace of life that Amanda Ortlepp has created in Running Against the Tide. She has also accurately described the way that there are no secrets in a small town and once a reputation is gained (whether fairly or not), it tends to stick. This book starts slowly, setting the scene, introducing the characters and gently sucking you into the pace of living in rural Australia. Crusty old neighbour, emo troubled son, new possibilites for Erin, the book moved along at a laconic drawl that was somehow like wrapping a comfortable blanket around you on a winters night. I didn't mind the slow pace because it gave me time to absorb the characters and picture myself in Mallee Bay. Just when I was beginning to wonder if anything was going to happen, Ortlepp let loose with a dramatic and unexpected conclusion that somehow didn't feel rushed or forced or out of place. Unlike my conclusion to the review! I really enjoyed this book.
I'm in heaven. Another crime fiction title set in authentically in South Australia. For most of this story you might think this book is on the very outer edge of the crime fiction genre, but its place is firmly established by the end. Erin Travers takes her two sons away from Sydney and her abusive gambling addict husband to the fictitious town on Mallee Bay on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. Her older son needs to find a job and teenaged Ryan will go to school. Ryan in particular finds the move away from his father hard and turns in on himself. They move into a rented dilapidated weather board house next door to elderly oyster fisherman Jono and his wife Helen. Their friendship makes life bearable for Erin and through Helen she enters a painting in the local art competition, and Jono gives Mick some part time work on the oyster farm. Then someone plants some iceberg roses in Erin's back yard and things take a slightly sinister turn. Oysters go missing from the oyster farm and Ryan has a tough time settling in at school. Another very readable story, and South Australian readers will love the setting.
Erin Travers takes the leap to leave Sydney for Mallee Bay in South Australia with her two teenage sons. The town is small and heavily focused on Oyster Farming. Problems start with the theft of oysters and someone is stalking Erin while she tries to create a new life for her and her sons. Mike is trying to move on with a new life in Mallee Bay while Ryan is still wanting to be back in Sydney. This book was so well written, I thought I knew what was going to happen or who it was and the author had me second guessing myself all the time. I LOVE it when I find a book unpredictable as it isn't often that it happens. The characters were very likeable and easy to connect to. I felt sorry for Ryan the whole time even when I wasn't sure about him.
I always enjoy books that are set in Australia, I guess because the settings are more familiar to me, as is the use of language. The story is set in the sleepy town of Mallee Bay, a town that is known for its oyster farming. When I first started this book, I thought it was about a mother starting again as a single mum with her boys, in a place that had good memories for her, from her childhood. A simple tale of her new life and her adjustments from living in a city to living in a country town. I quickly realised that this book has more twists and turns than a mountain road! It was very well written, I enjoyed the interactions between Erin and her boys with the locals, especially her neighbours, and just about all human emotions were covered - love, friendship, resentment, anger, obsession, sadness....it was all there. Enjoyable read, looking forward to reading other books by this author. Highly recommended. My thanks to NetGalley for the ARC and to the publisher as well, this was an unbiased and honest review. (less)
I absolutely love relating to books that are set in Australia, it helps me visualise the surrounds of the small town Erin and her boys lived in. This story I thought wouldnt be for me but I was pleasantly suprised by this Author. I had never heard of Amanda Ortlepp, but now will explore more of her novels. This book had many twists and turns and I enjoyed the relationship she has with her children. Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to have this title for free in exchange for my honest review.
After fleeing a broken marriage and looking to make a new start, Erin Travers has spent almost two days and a night on the road. With her two teenaged sons and a car loaded with their few remaining belongings, they arrive at the address given to them by the real estate agent. When they pull into the driveway of the small weatherboard cottage, which has clearly seen better days, they sit for some moments and stare, wondering what they are doing here. Remaining hopeful as this is the place where she grew up, Erin rallies the boys and tries to put a brave face on it, though they are all quietly wondering what they are going to do in this remote place...for work and play. Set in a small fictitious oyster farming town called Mallee Bay in the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia, the story begins with this small family of three trying to settle into their new surroundings as well as a whole new way of life. The eldest boy Mike, tries to stay positive for his mother and is optimistic of finding work in the mines. Not so for young Ryan though, who never wanted to leave his home and is resentful at not being given any choices, he wants to live with his father. As a teenager, and still at school, Ryan was not very popular anyway and has always struggled to make friends because of his seemingly dark outlook. Because of this, and his angst about leaving home and having to start at a new school, he has developed quite a belligerent attitude towards people in general, as well as his mother and elder brother. Being a small friendly community where everyone knows and trusts each other, it is quite alarming for them to find that things suddenly start going wrong, and theft becomes an issue in the oyster community. Naturally suspicion at first falls on the newcomers and Erin herself begins to have her doubts when she also falls victim to some strange occurrences. Young Ryan's attitude appears to be darkening all the more as his general popularity wanes along with his demeanor as people look for blame everywhere. Lots of action going on as we follow the people of this small community through their work and daily activities in search of a culprit, or culprits. There are quite a few red herrings to keep the reader guessing and pointing the finger at this one or that one. This was an enjoyable read with lots of twists to keep you guessing. 4★s Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy to read and review.
This review will appear on the link below approx 23rd February Erin Travers was accompanied by her two sons, nineteen year old Mike and fifteen year old Ryan, as they made their way to Mallee Bay on the beautiful Eyre Peninsula north of Adelaide. They had left Sydney and Marcus; her husband and the boys’ father – and Erin had no intention of returning. Mallee Bay was where Erin had grown up – she had many happy memories of the small town, and hoped her boys would come to like the lifestyle as well. But the sight of the rental in the late evening was depressing, even though Erin tried to keep their spirits up… Ryan was surly and untalkative – he hadn’t wanted to leave Sydney and his father but his mother hadn’t consulted him or explained what had happened. But Mike was supportive and Erin was trying to do her best. Their elderly neighbours, Jono who was an oyster farmer, and his wife Helen were friendly and welcoming, with Jono giving Mike a job a few days a week. With unexpected suddenness, the locals discovered thefts of their property – and when a fire erupted in the middle of the night, it was too close for comfort for Erin. What on earth was happening in Malley Bay? Was there someone out to get her? Had she brought danger to her boys; to the town, by arriving in the secluded place which she’d thought would be a haven? Running Against the Tide by Aussie author Amanda Ortlepp in my first by this author, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Filled with menace and danger, the twists were gripping. I had no idea who the culprit was and when the secrets were unravelled I was blown away! Running Against the Tide is a fast flowing, suspense ridden story and one I have no hesitation in recommending highly. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this copy to read in exchange for my honest review.
Erin Travers has uprooted her two sons from Sydney to move to a small oyster farming town on the Eyre Peninsular in South Australia, where she had happy holiday memories from childhood. Older son Mike 19 yrs, understands the reasons and tries to help his Mum as much as possible. Ryan, her youngest at 15 yrs old, has been sheltered from the real reason and he is extremely resentful that he can't live with his Dad in Sydney and he doesn't make things easy for Erin or himself. I really loved this book from Amanda Ortlepp, which brought a few characters in a small country town to life. There are neighbours Jono who is a local oyster farmer and quick to make judgements and is wife Helen, both with hearts of gold (even if Jono's is a bit of a dicky ticker). The story centres around these characters and Erin's family, there are lots of threads running through which touch on a lot of issues. But I really felt for teenager Ryan, who finds it hard to be accepted anywhere (even in his old life in Sydney). His answer is to rebel and act like he doesn't care but it's Jono that first cuts through his defences. Then there are unexplained incidences occurring in and around Erin's house that create suspense and unease that lead up to a unexpected dramatic end. This had me unable to put the book down till I finished. It really was an enjoyable read. Thank you to the Publisher and Netgalley for a copy to read and review.
Erin Travers left Sydney with her two teenage sons Mike and Ryan after the breakdown of her marriage and moved to Mallee Bay, a small seaside town on Eyre Peninsula where she had happy memories of childhood holidays. With no money due to her husband's addictive gambling habit, Erin can only afford to rent the cheapest of ramshackle houses and her youngest son Ryan is not impressed. In fact he is not pleased with the move at all, hating his new school and everything about the town. Older brother Mike has settled in better, making friends and finding work with their neighbour Jono helping with his oyster farm. Not long after the family arrives, the oyster farmings start experiencing thefts of their oysters. Strange things also start happening to Erin; theft and damage to her property and a series of threatening notes. I enjoyed the story of this family trying to restart their lives together after the upheaval of their lives in Sydney. The characters are interesting with Erin friendly but somewhat tentative about forming new relationships after her marriage breakup. Mike at 19, seems to be a happy go lucky young man who seems to have no plans and falls easily into the world of oyster fishing. Ryan at 15 is a broody teenager, resentful that he has been taken away from his father, friends and home and makes life hard for Erin and himself. Setting this novel in an oyster farming community gave it a good Australian flavour and added interest with descriptions of the process and hazards of farming the oysters woven into the story. Although there are hints earlier in the book that someone has been watching Erin, I wasn't prepared for the later events in the story and was quite blown away by the direction it took from a slowly developing story into a dark and threatening one. There are several false leads and twists along the way that seem to be leading in a different direction to the suspenseful and dramatic ending.
This novel is one that will make you feel for all the characters in one way or another, especially towards the later half of the book when all the long-held grudges and prejudices really start to show. Erin never really escapes her past and brings a whole lot of baggage with her when she moves to a peaceful community with her two sons and without her husband. Running Against the Tide is the perfect name for this story as it is not only a great analogy for the Oyster Farms but works so well for Erin Travers and her life challenges. The characterisation of Erin’s youngest son was so well done I moved from wanting to tell him to wake up to himself to feeling so sorry for him that I wanted to scream at Erin to take more notice of him and his issues. I have not read Amanda Ortlepp’s first book ,Claiming Noah, but it will now be on my to be read list. I have heard good things about it.
3.5★ Amanda Ortlepp is a good Aussie writer, and I look forward to reading more of her work. I think many readers will enjoy this, especially if they love the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia and oyster farming. Erin is a mum with 2 teenaged boys, a 14-year-old and one just out of school. They leave Dad in Sydney and move back to the South Australian fishing village where Erin spent much of her childhood. Like a lot of people, when things go wrong in the family, they either want to go home or want to go to the last place they were happy, which is often a holiday locale. In this case, it’s a bit of both. Mallee Bay is an oyster farming community and a tourist destination. But when Erin and her boys finally arrive, it’s all looking pretty uninviting. Ryan, the young son, is a bit of an emo, dark, secretive, unhappy. Mike, the older boy, is tall, handsome, and feeling his oats, ready to make an effort now that he’s out of school. “She had moved her family halfway across Australia to live in a small, dingy house, in a town where they would immediately be classified as outsiders. ‘It’s a fresh star,’ Mike said, coming to her defence. ‘And that’s exactly what we need right now. I think we’re going to like it here.’ "** Ryan, on the other hand, is sure how bad life is likely to be. He was okay in primary school, when the kids pretty much managed to bump along comfortably together. “But high school had separated them like a colour sorting game. Orange to the left, purple to the right, red in the top corner, blue in the bottom corner. Each group had split and then split again until the schoolyard was filled with tenuously-linked pairs and trios and quartets. Only a few were left alone like him, disparate colours without a match, and so they’d grouped together even though they had no reason to, like a collection of miscellaneous items in a lost and found box.”** A local discovers Erin’s painting hobby, and a local art show proves it could actually be turned into a career. Meanwhile, Mike discovers he enjoys both earning and learning about oyster farming from the old codger next door runs a business. Ryan remains unhappy, of course. There are some odd occurrences which aren’t completely resolved, and there is a rather sudden change about three-quarters of the way through, where this family’s story becomes a mystery/thriller. I found the change awkward and peculiar. It ended kind of abruptly with some questions unanswered. Maybe I missed something? Always possible. But that's the reason I docked it half a star. Good writing, though. Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster (Australia) for allowing me to review a copy. **The quotations are from an advanced review copy so possibly subject to change.
I would like to thank Simon & Schuster (Australia) for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review. This book was a little different for me. It was general fiction that almost had the feeling of literary fiction to me as well as having that taste of intrigue and mystery I do so enjoy. Add to that the, for me, almost local feel and imagery that brought to life memories of my own and… wow, what a great read. And I really must thank Simon & Schuster (Australia) again as they are one of the first major Australian publishers to take me on as a reviewer and boy was I not disappointed by the quality of read I was given! Don’t get me wrong Indie publishers I review for all the time! I love a lot of the stuff you let me read too… but to get my hands on something so well-written, Australian, set in the same state I live in and all in all just so engrossing – I really felt special getting to read this. Like someone had slipped the blue ribbon ice cream in the home brand labelled container again! ;-) ‘Running against the tide’ started out like a bit of a home coming/ coming of age story and I did wonder what I was doing reading it – as it seemed so unlike my usual genre. And then the little tendrils of mystery started to unfurl and grab my attention. By the end of the book – and that fantastic red herring in the basket – wow! It literally was a page turner I could not, and would, not put down. I was reading it at the same time as I am meant to be reading one of my favourite authors… and HER book was put to one side so I could race to the finish to see what happened with ‘Running against the tide’. And I was not disappointed. The story run its course, wrapped itself up nicely and ended well. None of that ‘I’ve reached my word limit so can just stop’ sorts of endings… no, ‘Running against the tide’ was indeed a quality read from start to finish and smoothly glided through, tidying up as it went and then ending with a smile and a wave goodbye to the reader. Loved it. Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. I can’t really express why, but this was just a great read. The South Australian link, the ocean living, the compelling characters and the mystery, thrill and even slight supernatural touch – It might not be my usual read, but it was amazing and seriously, if you like a good Australian based tale, you will love it too. Would I buy this book for myself? I would, despite it not being my usual sort of read. It was just… GOOD. And good enough I’d be proud to own a paper copy to show off to people and rave about if given the chance. It is just a compelling, addictive and well written story, what more can I say? In summary: This book is great. Perfect pace, believable characters, fantastic setting and a good mix of finding oneself, mystery and just… life. Highly recommend it.
So liked this book. Enjoyed it from start to finish. It was an added bonus coming from parts of Adelaide it was based in and also having traveled the Eyre Peninsular. I could see everyhting happening in front of me. I did feel like jumping in my car to find the house and go have a drink at the pub mentioned. So different from Ortlepp's first book 'Claiming Noah'. I found 'Claiming Noah' predictable but 'Running Against the Tide' was a thriller that when I thought I had it all worked it out there was so many unexpected twists or turns of events that I had to start guessing again. I wasn't sure who the culprits were and kept pointing the finger at the different characters. There was loads happening though out the book. I thought Ortlepp did a great job with the characters. I really enjoyed reading about the lives of people from a small country community. Jono was my favorite. Many issues were dealt with in the book from bullying, domestic violence and gambling addictions. Overall enjoyed reading 'Running Against the Tide' and looking forward to Amanda Ortlepp's next book.
Really enjoyed this suspenseful tale set near Adelaide. Amanda Ortlepp is certainly yet another talented Australian author to look out for! With her two teenage sons, Erin moves away from her life in Sydney, to down to her childhood home near the Eyre Peninsula not far from Adelaide. Mallee Bay is an oyster town, many of the locals making a living from hard work at the oyster farms. But did Erin really leave her past behind her? Strange things begin to happen and Erin feel she is in danger. But from who? And what can she do about it? I thought this book was great. I really enjoyed all the characters, especially the ones who live in the town. Jono and his wife Helen, and Puff were fabulous characters. I didn’t warm to Erin as much as I was expecting to. I thought some of her decisions were a bit silly and I really didn’t like how she dealt with her difficult son Ryan at times. But I enjoyed her character a lot more by the end. I really appreciated that the main characters were older. I enjoy reading about characters with a bit of life experience behind them. It seems a lot of novels I have read lately have been filled with young characters so it was refreshing to read about older people for a change. Having said that, Mike and Ryan were the youngest characters in the novel yet they still had quite a depth to them, especially Ryan. Loved the twists and turns throughout the book. However I figured out the main twist well before it happened so that was slightly disappointing. However it didn’t stop me turning the pages. Would I recommend Running Against The Tide? Yes, it was a good story, had some suspenseful moments and I ate it up! Womens fiction fans as well as romantic suspense fans will appreciate this one. As well as fans of books in Aussie settings by talented Aussie writers! Many thanks to the author Amada Ortlepp and publisher Simon and Schuster Australia via NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.