Title: These Things Hidden
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Release Date: January 18, 2011
Rating: 3.5 Bookmarks
Nat’s One-Sentence Synopsis: A multi-layered tale of life and loss, Heather Gudenkauf’s second novel is told from four perspectives that are anchored by one 5-year-old boy.
In 2009, TLC Book Tours introduced me to a debut novel, The Weight of Silence, by Heather Gudenkauf. Gudenkauf’s writing style appealled to me, and I welcomed the chance to review her most recent novel.
These Things Hidden opens with 21-year-old Allison Glenn being released from prison into a halfway house. Gudenkauf slowly reveals the back story with a subtle hand, and readers soon learn that a young boy and his mysterious history is at the center of a tangled web which has been woven from tenuous strands of truths, lies, and secrets.
I blazed through this book–it’s an unbelievably quick read despite the darker issues and themes–and was surprised by some of the larger plot reveals. A few of the twists and turns seemed too convenient to be plausible, but as a whole the novel worked and kept me guessing. While it’s not a mystery per se, the novel does have questions to answer and secrets that need to be brought to light.
The ending of These Things Hidden reflects real life in that it doesn’t have a tidy, happily-ever-after ending. I admire authors who resist the urge to tie everything up with a bow. I enjoyed this novel and know it would be a good book club choice or novel to grab when looking for a quick read that has more serious themes. There are discussion questions and an informative afterword on Safe Haven laws in the United States.
For a few other perspectives, try these new-to-me book bloggers: