Secrets of the Tides

Secrets x2

A Richard & Judy Book Club Selection
A Waterstones’ Book Club Selection
Shortlisted for the Australian Independent Bookseller Best Debut Fiction Award 2013
Shortlisted for the 2013 Australian Book Industry Awards: General Fiction Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the 2013 Australian Book Industry Awards: Newcomer of the Year

Every family has its secrets. Some are small, like telling a white lie or snooping through a private drawer. Others are more serious, like infidelity and betrayal. And some secrets are so terrible they must be hidden away in a deep, dark place, for if they ever came to light, they would surely tear a family apart . . .

The Tides are a family full of secrets. Returning to Clifftops, the rambling family house high up on the Dorset coastline, youngest daughter Dora hopes for a fresh start, for herself and the new life she carries. But can long-held secrets ever really be forgiven? And even if you can forgive, can you ever really learn to love again?

Secrets of the Tides is a family drama with a dark thread of suspense at its heart.

English language rights for Secrets of the Tides have been sold to Orion in the UK, Grand Central in the US and Hachette in Australia. Translation rights have also been sold to: Belfond (France), Random House (Germany), Garzanti Libri (Italy), Forum (Sweden), House of Books (Holland), Novo Conceito (Brazil), Civilizacao (Portugal), Forlaget Punktum (Denmark), Cappelen Damm (Norway), Prozsnyski (Poland), Alnari (Serbia), ARA Llibres (Catalan), Emece (Spain) and Lesbok Ltd (Iceland).

Nice things people are saying about Secrets of the Tides:

“This gripping book is a sweeping generational saga exploring the tragic secrets of what was once an ordinary, happy family … A richly rewarding novel.”

Richard & Judy Book Club, Autumn 2012

“A compelling debut tale of infidelity, betrayal and tragedy that will have you turning the pages until the early hours.”

— Grazia (UK)

‘I read with my heart in my throat … heartbreaking, funny, clever and a total page-turner’
— Jacquelin Perske, Creator, Producer and Co-Writer of Love My Way and Spirited


“Assuredly written and impeccably structured, it excavates the emotional layers of family drama when something goes terribly wrong – think Jodi Picoult without the formulaic writing … Moving and darkly suspenseful.”

— Sydney Morning Herald

“There’s more than a nod in the direction of Daphne du Maurier in this rather fun debut novel … Artfully crafted, Richell’s narration takes us back and forth in time as she gradually leads us to an awful event that split a family apart a decade previously … She is very good at describing the intimate details and the texture of their lives. But it is Clifftops in its windswept setting that is the real star.”

The Age

“A compelling tale of grief and forgiveness.”

— Woman & Home

“The writing is so vivid that we became completely lost in the Tide family’s world – this one’s going to go far.”

— Good Housekeeping 

“The Tides in Hannah Richell’s forceful debut are a family … the revelations of what happened, and the burden of guilt the Tides carry, are powerfully evoked in a classy melodrama with very well-realised characters. Once you start reading, you’ll be hooked.”

— A. N. Wilson, Readers Digest

“Set against the ebb and flow of the ever-present sea, this complex family drama is a page-turner of a debut novel.”

— Australian Women’s Weekly

“The theme of a cataclysmic event that continues to shape the lives of all those involved is central to Hannah Richell’s ambitious, wide-ranging family saga.”

— Daily Mail

“Sorrowful and masterfully woven, this cracking debut novel will have you turning the pages so fast you’ll get a paper cut.”

— Sunday Life

“This confident debut novel is a dark but compelling read. The characters are so believable your heart will ache for their pain, and you’ll be driven to ask yourself the question – could you forgive and forget?”

— Candis

“This novel flits between past and present, and dangles a just-out-of-reach secret that will have you frantically turning pages to reveal the shocking final truth.”

— Weightwatchers Magazine

“Moving between the past and present it’s a gripping story of troubled young women.”

— Star Magazine

“If you love classic family sagas, in English settings, full of country-house atmosphere and complex relationships you’ll love this story about how a family faced with tragedy deals with grief and loss.”

— Caroline Baum, Better Homes & Gardens

“This is a tale of secrets, lies, betrayal and infidelity. It’s also about a loss that strikes right at the heart of a family; one that time will mellow but never completely heal. Heartbreakingly good.”

— Sun Herald

“I held my breath from the first page to the very end. Secrets of the Tides is a masterpiece – a rich and intricate exploration of a family torn apart by tragedy. Du Maurier, Pilcher, Shreve – it is easy to make comparisons, yet it would be wrong to liken Hannah Richell to any other, her voice is so strong. There’s no doubt about it, she was born to write.”

 — Veronica Henry, author of The Beach Hut

“Exactly the kind of book I adore. An idyllic English house, a broken family, past and present, threaded by piercing secrecy. The House of Tides propels us forward with hope, even as our hearts break. Tragically beautiful, achingly authentic, Richell’s debut will resonate across generations.”

— Sarah McCoy, author of The Baker’s Daughter

“A Rosamund Pilcher-esque family saga, very cleverly structured and compulsively readable”

— Alice O’Keeffe, The Bookseller

“Sensitive, convincing and beautifully written … this is a magnificent, moving debut”


“A compelling family drama about how a single event can tear a family apart … With a fantastic coastal setting and the tone of Rosamunde Pilcher and Kate Morton, this is a hugely appealing novel that you will find difficult to put down.”

— Sue Scholes, Fiction Buyer, W H Smith

“[The] story of a family that almost tear themselves apart before discovering the ties that bind them. It offers engaging characters, tension and pathos.”

— We Love This Book, Best First Novels

“A great commercial debut … This should be popular with fans of Rosamund Pilcher.”

— Sarah Clarke, The Torbay Bookshop

“It’s so real and stirring that I truly feel as though I am part of the story. I haven’t relished a book like this for a long time.”

— Kathryn Royans, Booked at Unley, SA

“Gut wrenching is an understatement for this book. I almost had to put the book down to compose myself. Hannah Richell beautifully captures the grief and devastation that engulfs a family after an awful tragedy: the blame, the hurt, the guilt and the inability to forgive, forget and communicate. But there is also hope and redemption, in time. Hannah packs an almighty punch in her first novel and I can’t wait to see where she goes next.”

— Jon Page, Bookseller and President of the Australian Booksellers’ Association

“A beautifully, thoughtfully written debut novel that transcends the genre in a way that is almost cathartic … This novel really makes you think, forces you to examine your own prejudices and dares you to shy away from those implications.”

— Shelley Cameron, Better Read Than Dead, Newtown, Australia

“A very special novel, gritty, compelling and acutely perceptive  – a superb debut”

— Patricia Scanlan, author of Happy Ever After

29 thoughts on “Secrets of the Tides

  1. DrD says:

    Congratulations Hannah! I also started writing my book when my first baby was a few months old, for many of the same reasons. I find it harder to write book number 2 now when that baby is a toddler and I have another infant, but crave that hour or two when I can just sit down and write! Best of luck with the release of your book!

  2. Hannah Richell says:

    Thanks for leaving a comment, Dawn. I agree it’s getting harder with two. Interested to read your blog too. I’m sure I’ll be dropping by for parenting advice and details of your own exciting book release… Congratulations. H.

  3. Alexandra says:

    I am from Ukraine. I`m sure when translated and published this book will be very popular here. The story is terrible but seems so real! I am still under great impression! Thank you for your talent!

  4. Anna Coverdale says:

    Hi, I really like the sound of ‘Secrets of the Tides’ and want to purchase it for my Kindle, I see on Orion’s website that it has an ebook listed in the formats to be released but on Amazon only hardback and paperback are available. Please could you tell me if a Kindle version will be released. Many thanks and kind regards Anna

    • Hannah Richell says:

      Hi Anna, thanks for your message. Orion say the kindle edition will be available on publication so maybe check back on next week. Publication day is Thursday 12th April. Thanks so much for your interest – I hope you enjoy it.

  5. Anna Coverdale says:

    Hi Hannah, thank you so much for your reply, I will definitely check back on the 12th. Good luck, although I am sure you won’t need it, the book sounds fantastic. Anna x

  6. Kellie says:

    Loved it! I finished it in two days- I couldn’t put it down. Thanks so much for an exciting read.
    Waiting for the next one now!


  7. Aline Dickinson says:

    Started it Yesterday, will finish it today, I don’t want to finish it because it is so good. It’s a long time since I have enjoyed a book so much. I have recommended it to all my family and friends and I don’t even know how it ends, but I know it will be brilliant.

  8. Cristina Fantacci says:

    Dear Hannah,
    Why make two different versions of the book: The House of the Tides and The Secrets of the Tides? And the book begins in two different ways. I am just about to review the first 14 pages in Italian and compared them with the original book, and I was curious to see the differences: Very different. Thank you, Cristina in Florence, Italy

    • Hannah Richell says:

      Hi Christina,
      Thanks for your message. My American publishers wanted to change the title for their market to ‘The House of Tides’ and the book was copyedited there to ‘Americanize’ the text where necessary for their readers, but these were minor changes and the two books are in essence the same. As far as I’m aware the Italian edition from Garzanti Libri is a straight translation of Orion’s UK edition so it should be identical. I hope that helps! Thanks for getting in touch and for reading the novel. All best, Hannah

  9. Maria Sartori says:

    Congratulations! I have really appreciated your novel even if i read it in Italian, one of the best that i have read. It may be strange because i’m only 16 but your story has got me emotionally involved, even if i didn’t have some of this experiences narrated in your book. Reading your book was for me a fantastic experience. I’m looking forward for your next novel.

  10. Mia Richell says:

    Hi Hannah I’m Mia Richell, Giles Richell’s daughter. I love your book Secrets Of The Tides!! Uncle simon helped me to find your blog. I look forward to reading your new books!!!

    • Hannah Richell says:

      Hi Mia, it’s lovely to hear from you. I saw Simon and Karen just a few weeks ago in Sydney when they were here on holiday, so although we’ve never met, I feel a little closer to your side of the family. Thank you for reading Secrets of the Tides – I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Sending a big hello to your family over there. Lots of love, Hannah x

  11. Gail Williams-Hook says:

    I am not generally a fiction reader, but a friend gave me Secrets of the Tides to read and said I would not be able to put it down. She was wright, I have read it in 2 days a miracle for me! What a brilliant book.

  12. Sharyn says:

    Hannah, I chose your first novel as my book club choice and wanted to know if you had any book club questions for this novel? Sharyn

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