Title: These Things Hidden
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Release Date: January 18, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Allison Glenn has been in prison for five years. Five years of living with her crime, five years without any family contact. Once she was the golden girl of her high school, with dreams and aspirations of college and beyond, but now she is just another incarcerated woman about to be released on parole. Allison wants to start over as she tries to get back in touch with her beloved younger sister, Bree. But what Allison doesn’t realize is that her release from prison sparks a chain of events that will make her realize that there is no hiding from what happened that fateful night.
I’ve heard amazing things about Heather Gudenkauf’s first novel The Weight of Silence, and though I never found the time to read it, it’s a book I really want to explore at some point. Therefore, when I heard that Gudenkauf’s second novel was releasing in early 2011 and was offered the chance to review it, I jumped at it. And I have to say, I’m so glad I did – These Things Hidden was densely plotted, intriguing, and utterly absorbing.
Gudenkauf wrote Allison Glenn with such care, the reader can’t help but care about her. From the very beginning, the reader is emotionally involved in Allison’s story. They know fully well that she committed a crime, something heinous by the sound of it, but by the time they find out what it is, they are so sympathetic towards her and so involved in her well-being that they can’t hate her. It’s incredibly well done and beautifully depicted. I cared so much about Allison, and while I understood very well that something very bad had happened, I felt so much for her. I was so caught up in this story and in its characters.
These Things Hidden deals with a lot of contemporary issues; I won’t list them here because doing so will ruin parts of the book. However, it’s very interesting to see how Gudenkauf presents them and how the characters in the book grapple with the consequences. She writes the entire novel in a very suspenseful manner, such that the reader is hooked, unable to put the book down until the very end. It was incredibly well done and I was impressed with Gudenkauf’s efforts.
After reading this book, I know I need to go back and read Gudenkauf’s debut The Weight of Silence immediately. It’s clear that Heather Gudenkauf’s is a very talented author, and I love her mix of suspense, mystery, and contemporary fiction. I also loved how much she captured me with Allison’s story, and how involved I was in it. I had to know that everything would turn out okay, and could not put the book down until I turned the very last page. Fans of books dealing with contemporary issues and that mystery/suspense blend should definitely consider picking this book up; it would also make a great book for book clubs, as it goes quickly but leaves the reader with a lot to think about and discuss.