Change at Tide Mills
Possibly it helps if you happen to be the same age as the main character and have known the setting all your life. The tale is an imaginative “what if”, the assumption that an old village (and its chief industry) had not been destroyed, something most locals and visitors probably do wonder about, and that lends instant interest. It is also a tale about people, or humanity and how it can destroy both those lacking humanity and the innocent. There are all sorts of sub-plots involving past and present relationships, the education system, drug-smuggling, violence, poverty and a medical system some may think the present NHS ought still to be modelled upon. In the end it is, nevertheless, a hopeful story, with a feel-good outcome, in that it only takes a bunch of people determined not to be messed about to recognise and stand up for honesty and decency to repel the assaults upon them by those lacking such qualities.
Last Saturday I collected … a copy of Change at Tide Mills and this morning I reached the final pages of this most enjoyable read. I have related to the characters from the start as I was born just after the end of 1949 and so Owen and Ruth would be my contemporaries if I had been lucky enough to live in Seaford and the Tide Mills had really been cared for by Max Wilson and his milling/bakery company! I moved to Sussex, having had an introduction to Lewes by driving down the road from Offham and seeing the Ouse valley and the Downs opening out before me; just as they do in your story. I brought the business I came to view, just like Max and moved to Lewes. Loving the town and its history and scenery. After seven years we sold the business and came to Seaford, at first I thought very second rate compared to Lewes but I joined the museum, met Kevin Gordon and discovered the wonderful story of the town and its development of the Tide Mill, Railway, Hotels, Hostelries and Schools and have come to treasure them as if I had been born here. The way you have woven the physical history and story of places like the Buckle, the Hawth Bypass, the route to Poverty Bottom and beyond, the workings of the Mill and Bishopstone with a tale of wonderful people as well as a real evil rogue is gripping. I shall have to admit to many a tearful moment as the innate goodness of your characters shone through and how their caring for their fellow workers, friends and all the people they ran into as they journeyed along the “tracks” around the mill. As Owen says, “Is it our turn next?” It is wonderful when you meet the love of your life at an early age. Incidentally, I married mine after we first kissed at school! Almost as good a story as Owen and Ruth. I so enjoyed the book please write a sequel, perhaps they could live in Lewes and enliven one of the old houses like School Hill surgery or the Old Bank to bring the history of those stubborn Sussex folks “who wont be druv” to a wider audience. Thanks for the read the most worthwhile £6.50 I have ever spent on a book, and by the way my business in Lewes, in case you wondered, was Bags of Books in South Street in a 450 year old building; beating the Tide Mill by 200 years!
PW – Trustee, Seaford Museum
Thought I’d let you know that I have read and enjoyed ‘Change at Tidemills’ and my wife is now reading it, too There being so much familiar in the locations added to the pleasure Shows what might have been if it hadn’t been for the war eh?
Brilliant book, a nice easy read including well researched local info.
The author has succeeded in capturing the atmosphere of the early 1960s, largely from teenagers’ point of view, which resonates with your reviewer as he was there at the time! It is fiction but with enough fact to keep you engrossed, and remind you of a different world (before social media and other current travails).
My Dad got this book for Christmas. His parents met the same way as your characters, on the train platform at tide mills. His family lived in Tide Mills. He’s now telling us stories from years ago including how his brother tried to rescue a man who drowned at Sleepers Hole. Thanks for signing it.
An engaging story appealing particularly to people from the local area who may have long wondered what life could have been like in that fascinating crumbling ruin we have all visited and wondered about. Richard Harbroe Wright tells a convincing and enjoyable tale.
A very good read, which I found difficult to put down.
An interesting step back in time and full of local knowledge and being local myself, thoroughly enjoyed this aspect.
This is an excellent, absorbing, and thought provoking YA adventure book written by a local author. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I’m 74. I very much look forward to the sequel. I recommend Loft Island for all youthful and adult readers.
The first book from Richard Wright. A tale of a group of teenagers who spend the summer camping in a secluded wood. A light-hearted read interspersed with occasional gritty reality. Good for adults and I’m sure great for teenagers.Thank you, CH! A must read for all: from teens to a hundred and teen all will relate to a character or scenario in this book. I read in 4 chunks, when I knew I had the time available to do it justice and finished this week. I have been left wanting more so am thankful I bought Loft Island at the same time. If I were asked to put this book in a category I would say a perfect mix of Swallows and Amazons crossed with The Drew mysteries brought into the 21st Century with relevant topicary (not a word but I like it) that we can all relate to. Have you gathered yet that I loved the book? Do keep them coming.