These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was fortunate enough to receive a pre publication copy of this book to review via NetGalley from whom I am giving the following quote ...
Quote: from the publishers "Allison Glenn tried to hide what happened that night...and failed.
The consequence? Five years in prison. Now she’s free. But secrets have a way of keeping you imprisoned.
When Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’s golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult in her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces the whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.
But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her sister.
Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.
Heather Gudenkauf is the critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Weight of Silence. These Things Hidden is her second novel."
What a brilliant novel Heather Gudenkauf has written, even better than her great debut The Weight of Silence This book would fit the same title but the stories are very different.
These things hidden is the story of 4 women, Allison who at the beginning of the book is being released from prison to a halfway house, her sister Brynn, less confident as a youngster and having lived in Allisons shadow through their childhood, spends her time looking after abandoned animals.
These sisters relied heavily on one another throughout an upbringing with rather cold and harsh parents but are now estranged, though Allison is desperate to contact her sister now she has been freed from jail.
We also meet Claire, owner of a Bookstore and adoptive mother to 5 year old Joshua and Charm, training as a nurse and caring for her terminally ill stepfather.
The 4 womens' lives are intertwined by events in their pasts, things hidden and an innocent little boy. Events and coincidences conspire to force these women to examine the events in their pasts and culminate in a dreadful revelation.
The book is told by the 4 women and sometimes they are talking about the past and sometimes the present but its not difficult to follow and the beautifully written dialogue moves seamlessly from one viewpoint to another.
I found the story intense and gripping and I'd describe it as an emotional suspense story. I found myself muttering "Oh Nooo" in parts and shed more than a few tears too.
I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Ice Cream Girls or Sister but you'll have to hold your breath until February when it will be available in the shops.
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