Rating:

Reviewed by Claudia R.

“I wonder if things might have been different if we’d had a dog growing up. Would a particularly intuitive golden retriever have been able to sense Allison’s pregnancy? Would he have sniffed at Allison’s nearly nonexistent belly long enough for our parents or for me to notice something was up? Or maybe, just maybe, in the time before the police came to take Allison away, he could have alerted my parents to how sick Allison was I wouldn’t have had to do what I did. I don’t know.” ~ Brynn, These Things Hidden

Twenty two year old Allison Glenn has spent the past five years of her life behind bars for murdering her newborn baby. Released early from a 10 year sentence for good behavior, Allison moves in to a half-way house for women in Linden Falls, intent on getting her life back and reconnecting with her estranged and bitter family, especially her younger sister, Brynn, the only person who was with her that fateful night and that really knows the truth of what happened.

With the help of her lawyer, Devin, and Olene, the house Mother of the half-way house, Allison manages to procure a job at a local bookstore, owned by affable, good natured Claire. When Claire brings her five year old son, Joshua to work one day, Allison realizes that putting the past behind her isn’t going to be as easy as she thought, and when an old schoolmate, Charm stops in to buy a book, life, for all the women involved, is suddenly turned upside down, unleashing a maelstrom of emotion and turbulence upon the tiny town of Linden Falls.

[amazonify]0778328791[/amazonify]These Things Hidden, by Heather Gudenkauf is an artistically written, poignant narrative of the lives of four women, their unintentional connection, and the culminating catalyst that ensues from Allison’s reappearance. Allsion’s quest for truth, forgiveness and closure, results in a heart-wrenching story that illustrates the truth behind the cliche, every action has a reaction. The consequences of Allison’s actions on that fateful night, five years ago, transforming a former honor role student with high aspirations and a golden future in to a convict, affected not only Allison’s life, but everyone who had a role, however unknowing, or involuntary.

And yet, was it Allison who set these series of events in to motion, or was their another force at hand? Not all is what it seems in Linden Falls.

Altered perceptions, misconstructions, judgment, all play integral parts in this story that unfolds quickly, painfully, from a tale of rebirth and second chances in to one that harbors dark secrets, twisted minds, cruelty and horror. These Things Hidden keeps the reader guessing, assuming, and challenging their perceptions throughout the entire book. What on the outside appears as a leisure, feel good read, is anything but. Smart, deep, intense and dark, These Things Hidden delivers a drama laden surprise punch that will leave the reader pondering the surety of anything. Well written, powerful, provocative, unapologetic, moving, utterly unique, These Things Hidden is a definite must read.

Rating: 4/5

Read our review of Heather Gudenkauf’s last novel, The Weight of Silence.

Claudia lives on Cape Cod with her husband and two children. She entertains her passion for reading in between being a full-time Mom, aspiring writer, avid photographer & volunteer for Missie’s Closet, an emergency food & necessities pantry for the low-income in her area.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Meryl L. Moss Media Relations. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.