Posted by Book Mavens on April 7th, 2011
Title: These Things Hidden
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Mira, January 2011
Summary: Though Allison Glenn’s parents considered her their golden child, they soon learned that no one is perfect. Allison deviated from the plan-she fell in love, had a secret affair, and started to enjoy life-until her grades slipped and her parents stepped up the pressure. That was six years ago. Nine months after ending that affair and hiding her pregnancy, Allison was accused and convicted of drowning her newborn daughter. Allison has spent the last five years paying for that crime in Cravenville prison. Released early for good behavior, Allison is now 21 years old, living in a halfway house, and working part time at Bookends, a local bookstore owned by Claire and Jonathan Kelby. It is clear to Allison that her parents want nothing to do with her; her younger sister Brynn isn’t taking her calls either. Brynn just wants to forget that awful night when she helped her sister give birth on the bedroom floor. She thinks of that baby all the time-being taken away by the swift current of the Druid River.
Twenty one year old Charm Tullia is a nursing student who frequents the Kelby’s bookstore. She has been taking care of her beloved stepfather, Gus, who is dying of cancer. Claire sees how difficult it is for Charm and the two have become friends over the past few years. Charm always asks about the Kelby’s five year old adopted son Joshua when she visits the store. As an infant, Joshua had been abandoned at a local fire station under the “Safe Haven” law and Claire and Jonathan adopted him soon after. Charm has a special interest in Joshua that the Kelby’s don’t know about.
This is a cautionary tale of the danger that comes with expecting perfection, from yourself or others, and leaving no room for failure. It is a riveting and fast paced story in which the greatest parental love has nothing to do with biology (the biological parents here leave much to be desired), but with the character and heart of the people who step in to take over where others have failed.
Who Might Like This?: If you like characters that stay with you after you’ve finished the book, and if you liked Heather’s last novel “The Weight of Silence”, I think you’ll like this one as well.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
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