The good parts: The relationship between Fiona and Ace.
The not so good parts: The entire cast of other characters and the whole convoluted plot.
There were way too many secondary characters, none of them fleshed out very well. And, for the most part, none of them the least bit likeable or interesting.
There is a strange side trip into a retirement village that seems to be inhabited entirely by these weird secondary characters.
The plot involves a murder, a doll, a map, some gold lions and a host of old weirdos from Fiona's past.
And, if Fiona was so beloved by her father, why is her middle name the same as one of the "bad" characters? Confusing and too scattered to be interesting.
I truly hope that I must have missed the entire gist of this book because if this is where she's headed with her writing style I really do want to enjoy it.
But she's written enough great historical romances that she deserves to do anything she wants.
I'm still a fan of hers, but not of this book.
The style of this latest book didn't seem to be hers. I felt an abrupt change at the end of Chapter 18, and from then on it was as if an amateur writer had taken over-- there were too many "baby" this and "baby" that phrases which were totally out of character for Ace Montgomery. The murder-mystery concept was a good one, and it was fairly well done and quite enjoyable, but I kept getting the sense that I wasn't reading Ms. Deveraux's normal style. It was very unsettling. The love plot within it was subtle and growing nicely, but it came to too quick of a climax and resolution, almost as if Deveraux decided, "Oops, I've written too many pages! Must end the story NOW!" In the end, I was left very disappointed.
If you are a Deveraux fan looking for another great read, you're not going to find it here. I've given my copy to my mother to read to confirm my bad feelings about it, and then it's going to Goodwill. I refuse to add it to my collection of her other novels.
The main problem is that this is a Taggert novel, not a Montgomery except in name only. When Ace Montgomery finds himself in trouble, he does not go to his Montgomery family but to his Taggert cousins. His brother is mentioned in an aside and never by name, but Michael and Frank Taggert are heavily involved in helping Ace and Fiona clear their names. If this book was supposed to be a return to the Montgomerys, why didn't we see any of them other than Ace? It would have been more interesting if Ace had gone to Reid Stanford and Dougless Montgomery Stanford (from A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR) for help, rather than the Taggerts. I love the Taggerts but wanted to revisit old favorites from the KNIGHT.
All in all, HIGH TIDE is worth the cover price, but it does not measure up to classics like A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR and SWEET LIAR.