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These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf Review

Title: These Things Hidden

Author: Heather Gudenkauf

First published January 18, 2011

337 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780778328797 (ISBN10: 0778328791)

Rating: 3.87


After being convicted of a horrific crime, teenager Ava Taylor’s life is changed forever. Her once perfect reputation is now tarnished, and her family denies her existence.

Her old friends celebrate her downfall, while her younger sister, Charlotte, struggles with the whispers and rumors that have taken over their small town. Charlotte just wants to forget the past and move on, but when Ava is released to a halfway house, she is determined to reconnect with her estranged sister.

As they come together, they discover a shocking secret that has been hidden for years, a secret that could destroy the lives of everyone involved. The truth is now focused on one little boy, and if it comes out, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him, and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

About the Author

Meet Heather, a talented author whose books have earned her spots on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Her works, including “The Weight of Silence” and “The Overnight Guest,” have captivated readers worldwide with their compelling storytelling and rich characters.

With Heather’s writing, you’ll be swept away into richly imagined worlds, where anything is possible and every page is a new adventure. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience her incredible stories for yourself!

Editoral Review

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf is a poignant and stirring novel that explores complex themes of family, trauma, and forgiveness. This book, first published in January 2011, follows the story of Allison Glenn, who is recently released from prison and returns home to seek redemption and rebuild connections with her estranged family.

Gudenkauf is an award-winning author, known for her gripping portrayals of human emotions and the complexity of familial relationships. The book is a contemporary drama, with elements of psychological and legal thrillers that will appeal to readers of all ages.

Set in a small Midwestern town, the novel poignantly captures the communitys reactions to Allisons return and their perceptions of her troubled past. As the story unfolds, readers journey through a series of flashbacks, exploring the secrets that have haunted Allison and her family members for years.

The major characters of the novel are Allison, her sister Brynn, their mother Claire, and Claire’s best friend Charm. Allison’s traumatic experience and incarceration have torn her family apart, with each member grappling with their own emotions of anger, guilt, and forgiveness.

Gudenkauf cleverly weaves together the perspectives of each character, providing a nuanced and complex portrayal of their personalities and motivations. One of the novels strengths is its rich portrayal of the town and its inhabitants.

The setting provides a backdrop for the nuanced portrayal of small-town life, with its particular quirks and unspoken social norms. Gudenkauf keenly observes the dynamics of the community, highlighting the varied reactions of individuals to Allison’s return and the ensuing events.

The novel explores the themes of love, loss, trauma, and forgiveness, as well as the connections that bind families together. Gudenkauf also addresses the topics of sexual assault, victim-blaming, and the legal system’s all-too-common miscarriages of justice.

The story is heartwarming, endearing, and deeply moving, with the author giving each character a distinctive and empathetic voice. However, the book may seem slow-paced at points, but the pacing allows the readers to fully understand and connect with each character.

There are also moments of heavy-handed exposition, breaking the flow of the narrative at times. Overall, These Things Hidden is an exceptional novel, full of depth and complexity, that delves into the intricacies of human relationships and the struggles for redemption.

Gudenkauf’s writing style is evocative, and her characters are fully realized and multidimensional. Readers who enjoy stories of interpersonal drama, family dynamics, and legal thrillers will appreciate this book.

I recommend These Things Hidden to anyone looking for a thought-provoking exploration of trauma and the impact of secrets on individuals and families. I rate this book 8 out of 10, as it delivers strong prose, emotionally resonant characters, and a satisfying ending that leaves readers thinking about the book long after they have put it down.

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