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The Tide Watchers

(The Tide Watchers #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  65 reviews
In the winter of 1803, one woman stands between Napoleon and the fall of Great Britain

The free-spirited daughter of an English baronet, Lisbeth defies convention by eloping to France. When her husband abandons her, she must find a way to survive and be reunited with her young son, who is in the care of her mother-in-law.

A seasoned spy known as Tidewatcher, Duncan apprentic
Paperback, 454 pages
Published June 30th 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published June 9th 2015)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
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Raven Haired Girl
Jul 06, 2015 added it
Shelves: 2015
Fabulous debut effort full of history of Napoleon's invasion of England. Espionage, intrigue, suspense and mystery along with the perfect amount of romance create a compelling narrative. The fast pace contributes to your need to continue reading, refusing to tear yourself away. Chaplin masterfully balances fictional characters with historical nonfictional characters. Lisbeth and Ducan take center stage - two affecting characters with painful pasts. Lisbeth a woman of principle, strength and inte ...more
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After a career of writing contemporary romance novels under a pseudonym, Lisa Chaplin's debut historical novel under her own name is a gem. The Tide Watchers is a quasi-fictional exploration of Napoleon Bonaparte's long rumored attempt to invade England via the English channel in the late winter of 1803. Coming on the heels of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, this story is especially timely and engaging. As a fan of this time period in British and Continental European history, I ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
The first thing that drew me to this book was that it was about spies during the Napoleonic Wars. In the US, these wars don't get a lot press in the classroom, so to speak. Growing up, my takeaway was that Napoleon was a little man who wanted to own everything, and then he was exiled. In fact, these wars lasted quite a long time. England and France were at war for over 10 years and I am surprised that more fiction doesn't dig deeper into the intrigue that was surely going on at this time, but Th ...more
Jul 02, 2022 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book but I couldn’t get into it.
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: espionage, reviewed
Suspenseful espionage novel set mainly in Napoleonic France, with a feisty, down-to-earth, clever heroine. Lisbeth Sunderland, daughter of a baronet, to escape a hated marriage, elopes with a charming Frenchman and returns to France. Subsequently she discovers the hateful persona hidden under his mask of elegance and suaveness. He takes their baby son and deserts her; she is reduced to working as a tavern maid. With promises to retrieve her son and to return them to England, she agrees to help D ...more
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kathleen Fannon, Robin Agnew
This was a very interesting book. I chose it because it was set just prior to the Regency period in England, a favorite time period of mine. The main characters are a young English woman, Lisbeth, who eloped with a Frenchman, only to find out he was extremely abusive. After the birth of her son, she was forced out to become a barmaid, though she didn't become a whore like the other barmaids. Our other hero is Duncan, a ship's captain and British spy. They meet in Lisbeth's bar, and the plot evol ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lies are more abundant than the truth between France and England in the early 1800’s. Napoleon is quietly planning an attack on the British, and the British network of spies, known as the King’s Men are secretly keeping watch. Known as the Tidewatcher, British spy Duncan is on a mission not only to watch the French Coastline for signs of invasion, but to find and protect his mentor, Sir Edward Sunderland’s daughter, Elizabeth. Lisbeth Delacorte has been dragged through the gutter. She eloped wit ...more
Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it
The Tide Watchers is part spy novel, part adventure novel, part history lesson and a little bit of romance. It takes place in England and France during Napoleon’s rise. Our hero is in France trying to learn what he can about the soon to be Emperor’s plans and to try and find his employer’s daughter, Lisbeth. She ran away with a French emigre against the wishes of her parents and he did not turn out to be the romantic man she thought he was so now she finds herself working at a tavern and branded ...more
Kate Baxter
Early 19th century espionage, historical fiction featuring battles of wits between France, Britain and a bright, albeit not so willing 19 year old woman who stands in the midst of posturing men and through cleverness may yet save the day. Of course there's a ruggedly handsome brooding ship's commander eager to catch her and save her from certain death. But our heroine proves fierce and capable. The story's twists, turns, clever contraptions and long list of well-known historic characters keeps t ...more
I wrote a feature article for the Historical Novel Society on this novel.

My personal reaction to this book was that it never really came together for me. I didn't like either of the romantic leads, which didn't help. I found Duncan forgettable and Lisbeth's oh-so-frail-but-so-plucky character irritating. I think I would have enjoyed the read better if the story line had been simplified to cut out several of the characters--this is apparently the start of a series, so plenty of time to introduce
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very well written, well researched historical fiction novel. I enjoyed it quite a bit- until the ending, which was rather abrupt and felt unfinished. I'm wavering between a 3.5 and a 4 because of that. Strong female character, if a bit unforgiving. ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is one of the few books I really liked, but would not recommend to everyone. If you love reading about history and you don’t mind having more than 50 characters in a book, you will like this one too. In our small neighborhood book club only one other gal besides me really liked it. Most of the group did not like it and few finished it. Too many characters and very detailed writing threw others off.

Now we have gotten the cons out of the way, let me tell you the reasons I fell in love with th
Michelle Griep
No rating from me. Only read the first few chapters...great writing, just happened to move on to something else, so apparently it didn't grab me at the time. I'm willing to give it a second look in the future, though. ...more
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was difficult to follow the action... interesting characters, but some seemed to lack depth.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
In the beginning, I would have certainly acknowledged that this book was a page turner. I was intrigued by the plot and felt that there was a lot of potential to give historical fiction fans a serving of unique. After all, a British spy network trying to keep tabs on Bonaparte's coming and goings in 1802-1803 France would be interesting. Right?

The problems appear to stem initially from the prescence of too many characters. Lisa Chaplin decides to give many of them their own chapters/ excerpts a
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I normally love historical fiction and spy novels, but this one didn't do it for me.

The book started off awkwardly, I felt like I was dumped in on what should have been chapter 3 or 4. Obviously the author needs to save some mystery to reveal later, but in this case, a little more backstory would have helped to set the scene and explain some of the character motivations.

The plot was also confusing as hell to follow, and not in an "oh, this was so clever!" sort of way. e.g. how Duncan seems to h
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was my first book with a great Napoleonic setting. It was very well written, and the story was compelling and intense. I was pulled right into a world of spies and espionage. It was an exciting read with some very good twists and turns, and it had some romance in it which sweetened it up a bit. The characters were well-developed. The heroine was a very strong and brave 19 year old woman, and the hero was well-matched for her given his strong character and bravery.

I enjoyed this book very mu
Cathy G
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book and cannot wait for its sequel! Historical fiction at its best, suspenseful and gripping with romantic elements, set during the time period of Napoleonic France and Bonapartes attempt to invade England in the early 1800s. The main protagonists, Lisbeth and Duncan, are both well written, believable characters and the book kept my interest engaged throughout. I felt the ending was a bit abrupt and kind of left the reader hanging so almost downgraded my rating accordingly ...more
Lauren Chater
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a glorious historical novel which blends fact with fiction and tells the untold story of Napoleon's attempt to invade England and the brave spies who thwarted him.

Lisbeth and Duncan, the story's main characters, are brought vividly to life by author Lisa Chaplin; their relationship is volatile, compelling and irresistible. When these two characters are together, the story just sizzles!

With a host of other characters, both real and cleverly imagined, including the inventor Robert Fulton,
The sign of a really good historical fiction is that I learn something new about an era with which I am very familiar. Lisa Chaplin succeeded with this book. Her imaginative version of events to explain the mystery of the Napoleonic wars is plausible and a ripping story. The only flaw in this otherwise gripping spy adventure was a little too much detail on the working of the submersible. For us non-engineers, it dragged the story down a bit, but not for very long.
Lisa Jensen
This has more of a romance novel approach than I was expecting — rugged, wounded hero, feisty and beautiful heroine, an uneasy alliance in a desperate quest (to stop Napoleaon's secret plan to invade England). Legions of supporting characters to keep track of, both historical and fictional, but by p 175 or so, I'm still not invested in any of them. Maybe I'm just not in the mood for a spy novel. I'll put this on hold for now and try again later. ...more
nikkia neil
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Surprisingly this is Lisa Chaplin's first novel! This book is awesome! It has every element you want in a exciting historical fiction/romance. The action built up just right and I can't wait to read her next book! ...more
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
Great History book, a little slow in parts, had several good storylines, and lots of history
Christina Trotter
Enjoyed it was a simple book to read and easy to follow the plot of the characters through France in the French Revolution.
Louise Wilson
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-romance
I enjoyed this book as a sustained feat of writing and because it explored, very creatively, a period of European history unfamiliar to me beyond the dates of the French Revolution, the Battle of Trafalgar, the 1812 campaign in Russia and the Battle of Waterloo. It was good to learn something new, especially about the term 'King's Man' and the work of Robert Fulton. I am bound to remember him through the vehicle of this book, whereas reading about his inventions elsewhere, as a non-fiction accou ...more
Ariena Stam
I did not enjoy this book as much as I hoped. The author wanted to write a general historical novel, I think, about a forgotten period/event in French & Englis history. But in the end I did not care so much any more about the main characters preventing "the big invasion" of England by Napaleon. After all, as a reader you know from the start that it's not going to happen. And I felt that for a general historical novel, there was still a strong focus on romance and whether Lisbeth and the English ...more
Khoa Dang
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
A beguiling tale of secrets, loyalty and treachery, peppered with romance along the way. The story was set in the early 18th century amid the bustling atmosphere of the Napoleonic era. France, awaken from the Terror of the Revolution and led by the vision and ambition of one man, now set to conquer the whole of Europe. He brought the country to the brink of confrontation with Great Britain, her longtime enemy. The prospect of a French invasion and Republicanism arriving in the Kingdom was someth ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wandering into this novel is much like walking into the post-Revolution French tavern of its first scenes... you'll do well to remember you're a stranger here. Sit quietly in the corner, pay attention, and you will learn some crucial facts.

This excellent espionage thriller is a Napoleonic double-cross between the gadgets and techniques from the TV show TURN and the smart historical plot twists from David Liss' Benjamin Weaver books.

While there is no small quantity of cringe-worthy melodrama in t
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I fell into this novel and could not put it down. Lisbeth, in defiance of a prearranged marriage, elopes with a Frenchman. She walks into a foreign country, is physically and mentally abused, and her husband leaves with her newborn son. She is left to be a degraded tavern wench. Her father sends a unknown man to save her, but she won’t leave without her son. With Britain and France uneasily looking toward another war, she becomes involved in espionage. It depicts the strength of a young woman du ...more
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are a lot of characters in this book. Good thing there is a list of them. I tried to read this last Sept. but I was in the middle of a bad experience and couldn't concentrate, so put it down. I really liked this book. Historical fiction based on the story of Napoleon's plan to invade England in 1802-3, that was foiled by British spies of whom some were women, which in that time period nobody wanted to give credit to. I understand there is a sequel, Blind Fall (the Tidewatchers #2) which I ...more
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A Sequel is needed 1 5 Jun 14, 2016 12:23PM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 2 3 Aug 17, 2015 05:09AM  

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I'm a born and bred Sydneysider. After twelve years of writing for Harlequin as Melissa James, I quit to try my hand at my first love, historical mainstream. While living in Europe, I found a small piece of Napoleonic "hidden history" that led to my first historical novel, The Tide Watchers. Returning yearly to Europe now for research purposes, I hunt for the little-known details that bring a stor ...more

Other books in the series

The Tide Watchers (2 books)
  • Blind Fall (The Tide Watchers, #2)

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