The Tide Watchers by Lisa Chaplin
(from the back of the book)
Though the daughter of an English baronet, Lisbeth has defied convention by eloping to France with her new husband. But when he breaks her heart by abandoning her, she has nowhere to turn and must work in the local tavern. Her only hope for the future is to be reunited with her young son, who is being raised by her mother-in-law.
A seasoned spy known by his operatives as Tidewatcher, Duncan apprenticed under Lisbeth’s father and pledged to watch over his mentor’s only daughter while he searches the Channel region for evidence that Bonaparte has built a fleet to invade Britain. But unpredictable Lisbeth challenges his lifelong habit of distance.
Eccentric, brilliant American inventor Robert Fulton is working on David Bushnell’s “turtle” – the first fully submersible ship – when he creates brand new torpedo technology, which he plans to sell to the French navy. But when his relationship with Bonaparte sours, he accepts Tidewatcher’s help to relocate to the French side of the Channel but refuses to share his invention. With an entire army encamped in the region, blocking off all access, Tidewatcher must get that submersible, along with someone who knows how to use it, to uncover Bonaparte’s great secret.
When Lisbeth is asked to pose as a housekeeper to charm Fulton so she can learn to use the submersible before the invasion fleet sails, she will be forced to sacrifice herself for her country – but is she willing to sacrifice her heart when she’s already lost it to another?
This one is tough to review. The whole premise of the story is very interesting. I usually like historical fiction. The characters were not one dimensional and you actually had to think about whether they were even good people and doing the right things or not. And I like when everything is not black and white. There is a lot of action and suspense. And a story about the first submarine is just cool. But I didn’t really like the book. I didn’t like the main characters as people and found them uninteresting as characters. I didn’t care what happened to them. And the plot, that should have been extremely compelling, was strangely not. Despite all the good components it was never hard to put down and I was never very eager to pick it back up. And the abrupt ending was less of an ending than a ‘tune in next week’ cliffhanger. To write this review I had to skim through the book again because soon after I finished reading it I had forgotten it completely.