I have a backlog of book reviews that I’m excited to share with you in the coming week. Since 2012 is nearly half over (what?!), I thought it’d be fun to check in on my list and see where we’re at. The total for the year to date is 18 books! An average of three books per month? I’ll take it.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon Voyager by Diana Gabaldon Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides Re-read Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Re-read Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins Re-read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins Gone with the Wind Insurgent by Veronica Roth Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James Sister by Rosamund Lupton Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James The Dark River by John Twelve Hawkes The Golden City by John Twelve Hawkes These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
This book is a blend of creepy thriller and family saga. It begins with Allison Glenn, a now 21-year-old who committed an awful crime at the age of 16, being released from prison for good behavior and sent to a halfway house. Allison was once the golden girl of Linden Falls who could do no wrong. Now she is a social pariah, a consequence of her crime that has trickled down to her younger sister Brynn, who has had to endure nothing but teasing and whispers behind her back since Allison was convicted. The story unfolds as Allison tries to reconnect with her sister – but Brynn wants nothing to do with her. It is told from the perspectives of both Allison and Brynn, as well as two women by the names of Charm and Claire, who at first seem to come out of nowhere but soon begin to fit into the pieces of the plot puzzle. Much of the book is centered around one little boy – and a secret that could undo them all. Read this book if you enjoy suspense and unforeseen plot twists that can have potentially dire consequences.
I am always so impressed by authors who can tell a story from multiple perspectives. Not only does it take a lot of creativity and imagination to get into the minds of four different people – and keep them sounding unique throughout the book – but it’s also incredibly difficult to make sure every section fits logically within the context of the story as a whole. Heather Gudenkauf did an amazing job with this task, creating chapters that flowed into one another even though they were coming from different voices. There was the occasional cliffhanger as it moved from Allison to Charm or Charm to Claire, but it was never to the point where it was frustrating and felt like it was done merely for effect. If anything, it kept me wanting to read more until I reached that person again!
The subject matter of the novel was also intriguing. From teen pregnancy to infertility, from Safe Haven laws to adoption, the book and its characters dealt with a lot of serious life events, and Heather Gudenkauf gives them the appropriate level of attention and thought that they deserve. Both Allison and Brynn tell their story from first-person perspective, which allows the reader to get more inside their heads. That said, though Charm and Claire’s stories are told from third-person, their story lines were very emotional and palpable among the pages devoted to them, as well.
But it was the ending of the book that really made me say wow. Obviously I’m not about to give anything away on here, but it was intense, unexpected and powerful. A true page turner.
Have you read These Things Hidden or anything else by Heather Gudenkauf?
I’m tempted to check out some of her other books now. One Breath Away just came out on June 26 and looks interesting. It deals with a very serious plot, too. I’m sensing a trend.