BOOK REVIEW ~ CHASING THE TIDE BY A. MEREDITH WALTERS

The powerful continuation of the story that began in Reclaiming the Sand– a tale of love and forgiveness and learning to move on from a past that has come to define you.
Bully and Victim
Friend and Lover
Past and Future
Ellie McCallum and Flynn Hendrick’s story was as painful as it was devastating. But they were able to find within each other an unlikely yet beautiful love. Despite the obstacles that tried to keep them apart.
And together they rose out of the ashes of their tragic history.
Now years after their life changing reunion Ellie is back in Wellston, having just graduated from college and ready to start her future with the man who taught her how to love. However, returning to a town that held so much bitterness and anger was the last place she wanted to start over.
But for Flynn, who is now an art professor at the community college and firmly rooted in the place that gave them their beginning, she’d do just about anything.
Yet it’s difficult building a life when you’ve only just learned how to live.And love, no matter how strong, doesn’t always conquer all.
Ellie and Flynn must learn how far they are willing to go to stay together. Or whether the ghosts of the past will consume them both.
Because finding a happily ever after is harder than it seems. Particularly when you’re fighting against the one thing that could destroy you.
Yourself.

After reading the heartbreakingly emotional Reclaiming the Sand I was ecstatic to hear that there’d be a sequel. While I did think things were wrapped up nicely in the first book, I could never turn down more Ellie and Flynn, two characters I love with all my heart. It does sting a bit that I couldn’t rate this second book higher but I do want to say disappointment didn’t lead to this rating. I think there are two ways to look at ratings: on one end, disappointment leads to a drop in rating and on the other side, enjoyment level is high but just doesn’t quite hit a certain star rating. In this case, Chasing the Tide is the latter. I certainly liked it, and loved being able to reunite with these characters but I just can’t help but compare it to the first book and when I do, well…there’s just no comparison. Nevertheless, I do believe this book is crucial in fully concluding Ellie and Flynn’s story. I like that their story doesn’t end just because a happily-ever-after is stamped and this book explores conflicts that were touched upon in the first book, and seeing them work through their issues and fight for their love was definitely worth the read.
As known from the ending of book 1, Ellie heads off to college and pursues her dreams while Flynn stays behind, grounded to his hometown and the only life he’s familiar with. Now three years later, Ellie’s graduated and Flynn’s a teacher. Though they were able to keep a long-distance relationship, there is an uneasy tension between Ellie and Flynn. Their differing personalities, Ellie’s past mistakes, and Flynn’s disability weigh heavily against their love for each other, leading to conflict and arguments.
This story mainly focused on character psyche rather on plot, and how even though they’re together, Flynn and Ellie still have problems to work through before they can truly function as a couple. Ellie still harbors immense guilt for the way she treated Flynn in the past and even if he has forgiven her, she hasn’t been able to forgive herself. On the flip side, at times Flynn feels inferior and constantly worries he’s not good enough for Ellie, not the kind of boyfriend she wants.
While I believed these conflicts were explored and properly concluded in the first book, after reading this book I can definitely see a lot of issues were only briefly touched upon. I think I went into this book expecting ‘new’ conflicts and was a little surprised that it was somewhat of a rehash of the first story. I can’t say this book was unnecessary because it wasn’t. The characters needed this book in order to be able to fully move on. But as for me, the reader, the story just wasn’t as compelling as the first one was.
I’d still recommend this book but only to those readers who thought the ending in book 1 was rushed and wanted more details. This will be the book to smooth out those gaps and deliver a stunning ending to Flynn and Ellie’s story. I was one of the readers who thought book 1 was perfect as it was, yet no matter what, I would never turn down a book (even if it was a filler) with more Flynn and Ellie. Metaphorically, this story felt more like the icing on the cake rather than a cake itself.
Chasing the Tide is an optional companion novel to Reclaiming the Sand and should only be read after that book. It fully concludes Ellie and Flynn’s story.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
 
Rating: 3.5 stars!