"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hidden by Catherine McKenzie - book review

Author:  Catherine McKenzie
Publisher:  Harper Collins Publisher 
Published:  2013
Genre: General fiction
Source:  I won an ARC in a Facebook contest put on by the author.

When a married man suffers a sudden fatal accident, two women are shattered—his wife and someone else’s—and past secrets, desires and regrets are brought to light.
While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Not one but two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son and contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother—her ex-boyfriend—Tim.
With Tish’s co-workers in the dark about her connection to Jeff outside the workplace, she volunteers to attend the funeral on the company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life. Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, our personal choices and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.
My thoughts:
Beneath the surface, lies lay Hidden, truths distorted, and relationships complex.  The death of Jeff in a motor vehicle accident sends worlds colliding.  Hidden in told in three voices, by Jeff, his wife Claire, and a co-worker Tish.  Through their versions, we discover how easily twisted lives can become.  Somehow, through their telling, we find ourselves questioning whether we would want to know the truth, in whatever form it may come.  Could it be that ignorance is bliss?
We suspect, as Claire does, that there's more to Tish's attendance at the funeral.  Tish attends as a representative of the company Jeff worked for but Claire picks up on cues that make her question her marriage and she cannot leave it alone.
Hidden has a complex plot with the narrative told by three characters.  I enjoyed this effect as it allows us to see their lives much as a fly on a wall would.  The characterization is incredibly well done - the characters are three dimensional.  I dare you to read their portions without shedding a tear.
I had previously read Forgotten, my first of Catherine McKenzie's novels, which I thoroughly enjoyed but Hidden is better!  From the narrative, to the plot, to the characters; everything is well laid out and defined.  Hidden is a captivating novel about grief, secrets, and the lives affected.  Hard to put down.

Meet the author:
A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine practices law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. An avid skier and runner, Catherine’s novels, SPIN, ARRANGED and FORGOTTEN, are all international bestsellers. Her fourth novel, HIDDEN, will be released in June, 2013 in Canada and in Spring 2014 in the US. Her novels have been translated into French, German, Czech, Slovak and Polish. And if you want to know how she has time to do all that, the answer is: robots.

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