Book Review: As The Tide Comes In by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

as the tide comes in cindy woodsmall book review

The synopsis on the back of the book:
After losing two loved ones in a devastating tornado and suffering a head injury, Tara Abbott flees to St. Simons Island, where her disorientation causes the lines between imagination and reality, past and present to blur. 

There she encounters island residents Julep Burnside, Luella Ward, Sue Beth Manning, and Dell Calhoun--The Glynn Girls--who have been friends since Bible camp, forty years earlier. When Julep's son Gavin identifies a troubled soul in need of help, can the Glynn Girls guide Tara back to herself? 

  • Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction
  • Publisher: WaterBrook
  • Will Be Published: 8/21/2018 (out tomorrow!) 
  • Pages: 352
  • Goodreads Rating (so far): 4.34
as the tide comes in by cindy woodsmall and erin woodsmall
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous hand right hand.
— Isiah 41:10

Why I Chose This Book

Waterbrook kindly sent a copy of this book. I was excited to read a book set so close to home! 

First Initial Thoughts

Tara is a woman who grew up being shoved to one foster home to another. She never got to know the real love of a family. Her mother ran out on her when she was just a child. One day she gets a letter in the mail from her Grandmother. She finds out that she has two half-brothers- Sean and Darryl. When she goes to meet them she finds out that her Grandmother is dying. it is her Grandmother's wish that she take care of the boys until they are of age. At first Tara objects. How can a 18-year-old take care of two little boys?! However, Tara after some contemplating she complies. 

The story then jumps forward 12 years. Both of the boys are about to graduate high school/enter college. Then the unthinkable happens. A storm reaches the area and tragedely she loses both of her brothers. She is absolutely devistated. 

Gavin, he is a good man and he was there for Tara when she needed someone to help her through the tragedy. Other than that I wasn't really attached to his character. 

The Glynn Girls. Oh, they would be so fun to meet! They remind me of the group of elderly ladies you see in the mall or park just chatting away like they have been friends forever. 


Cindy and Erin really brought out Georgia perfectly. Ugh, the humidity during the summer is the worst! She really did well in describing St Simons Island and the charm it holds. It makes me want to go take the short drive and visit someday! I just love little small coastal towns. 

You Believe in love a lot (Tara).
I do. It’s the most real thing we come in contact with every day. I see it all the time. If love would not do anything cruel, Tara, God would no do it. It doesn’t have to be syrupy or sentimental, but it’s kind and patient. It protects and preserves, and it doesn’t fail.
— Tara and Gavin

Final Thoughts

I found Tara's grief journey very realistic. It shows what a person goes through after a tragedy - both physically and emotionally. A few chapters were kind of trippy with Tara being drugged on Vicodin. Although her dependency on those first couple chapters wasn't a major plot point- I appreciated that the authors included it. Cindy and Erin took the time for the reader to understand what Vicodin dependency does to one person. Vicodin along with other opioids are a major issue right now. 

Ultimately, this book main message was to help the reader understand why God let's bad things happen. This is often a major question that most people ask. Especially when we lose loved ones that are close to our heart. God wants us to understand that there is a purpose for everything. Tara realizes that she would have never met or even raised her half brothers if she never received that letter. God wanted her to know love- the love of a family. The book also emphasizes the fact (especially in the beginning) that we will one day be reunited with the ones we love in heaven. It's never goodbye forever. 

The only gripe that I had about the story was that it took almost half of the book for the girls and Gavin to meet and start to get to know Tara. Although, there are reasons for that. We needed the background of her story to build on the rest of the story. Some may want to be aware of that- that it's not a fast paced story. 

Would I Recommend? 

Yes, of course! However, if you just recovering from a recent loss like Tara, it might not be the right time to read it. 


Q&A with Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall, 

Authors of As the Tide Comes In

Tell us about your new novel, As the Tide Comes In.

Cindy: As the Tide Comes In is a journey through loss and renewal set in a gorgeous, unique location. Tara Abbot is a young woman who has set everything aside in order to raise her half-brothers to adulthood. But when tragedy strikes, she’s floundering and lost like a rowboat in a squall. But God’s love endures, even through the worst of storms. She encounters a spunky group of life-long friends, as well as a young man who stirs something inside of her that she’s never experienced before.

You have an incredible following of dedicated readers of your Amish fiction. What inspired you to venture into Southern fiction?

Cindy: I love the Amish setting. I’ve written over 20 novels in that setting, and I’ll continue to write Amish books. But since I live in the South, my creativity has been asking for a while to be let loose in my own stomping grounds. Southern fiction feels very homey, a world in which I dwell in real-life.

With your daughter-in-law Erin Woodsmall co-authoring As the Tide Comes In as well as a couple other titles with you, can you tell us what it has been like working as a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law team? 

Cindy: It’s been rejuvenating, like opening the windows at the end of winter and welcoming the fresh spring air. Erin has helped me behind the scenes for a lot of years, but to dive into a story as a writing team has been completely different. The great thing about writing as a team is that each person brings something special to the table. We know different things about life, loss, and love, and we’ve navigated through life as a family for 12 years, so we can rely on each other’s strengths and shore up each other’s weaknesses, both on page and off.  

Erin: It’s a lot of fun! I’ve always loved reading and making up stories, but for the first time I’ve been able to use these skills for something tangible. Cindy is so skilled at her craft of writing, and she has this wonderful intuition about shaping stories. She can really create juicy conflict and ultra-romantic scenes, no explicitness needed! I learn something new every day.

As the Tide Comes In tells the story of Tara Abbott, a woman who has suffered an unthinkable loss. The Glynn Girls—a group of eccentric fifty-something women who live on St. Simons Island—take her in as their own. What message do you hope readers glean from the support they offer Tara? 

Since the novel’s conception, we liked exploring the difference of helping in a clean, hands-off way verses getting “dirty” and uncomfortable. It’s a great thing to donate to our churches and give to charities and to spend time helping teens or elderly and then return home. But can we muster the courage to really minister to those who pull us out of our comfort zone? Jesus was all in. To Him it didn’t matter who someone was. He ate with sinners and ministered to the “unclean” of the day. How can we apply that to modern life? It’s not easy! 

There are a few different storylines happening at once, including each of the Glynn Girls’ stories and Tara’s relationship with one of their sons, Gavin. Which storyline was your favorite to write? Which one was the most difficult?

Erin: I loved writing the scenes between one of the Glynn Girls Luella and a man new to the island from New York City, Charles. Without giving anything away, the interactions between the two of them are a little different than what’s typical in a romance novel because they’re each in their fifties and they’re bringing all their life experiences and developed perspectives. Let’s not forget their well-developed, strong opinions. But even though she’s not as young as most book protagonists, Luella still has many playful, fun moments, especially when she’s in cahoots with the rest of the Glynn Girls.  I liked pulling in many familiar elements of St. Simons, and I was able to use references and even stories from my parents’ lives growing up there and they are very close in age to Luella and Charles.  

Cindy: I feel Erin did an exceptional job with fifty-something Glynn Girls points of view. My heart was invested in Tara’s story. It’s a story that has been on my heart for a long time as well as her fledging, fragile relationship with Gavin. Their two worlds collide in a beautiful setting, but Tara can’t see beyond all that she’s grappling with in order to realize who Gavin is. As a mom of three sons, I really enjoyed creating Gavin, a grown man who basically has four “mamas,” and he loves them, but they also grate his nerves, so it feels true to life. ☺ Many kids growing up in the South have multiple “mamas” that take them under their wing, but it’s even more pronounced with Gavin because the Glynn Girls are so close. 

Erin and I agree that the most difficult part was handling Tara’s loss, which happens at the beginning of the book. We wanted to show Tara’s journey through it, but we also needed a way to let readers see the beauty of what’s happening for the ones who passed, the eternal hope despite the earthly grief. It took a few times of rewriting the opening scenes to find what felt like the right balance.

What can you tell us about what you’re working on next?

Right now we’re working on two Amish books: first, we’re writing a follow-up Christmas novella to this October’s release, The Christmas Remedy. The next novella is tentatively titled A Restoring Nativity, and it’s a romance for a young Amish woman who has many dreams and aspirations, and none of it includes a man. A unique aspect to this new work is readers will meet a brother and sister who are in need of refuge, and readers will learn facets of the Swartzentruber Amish life. This novella will release in October 2019.

We’re also working on a stand-alone Amish novel tentatively titled His Debt to Pay. In this story a married couple grapples with a secret that threatens to undo their family. We’re very excited about this unique storyline that asks the question: Can forgiveness release every prisoner? 


You can purchase the book ---> HERE

Have you been to the beaches in Georgia? I admit that being so close to Georgia I have not. I do want to make a trip up to Jekyll Island one of these days! 

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! 

the caffeinated bibliophile

NOTE: I was sent this book to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

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