“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
― Thomas Campbell
I love books, and what I truly love about the whole reading experience is when a book grabs hold of you and refuses to let go until the last page. This, for me, is one of those books. They say when people are dealing with difficult situations, it speaks volumes about character, and in the prologue we are introduced to Jeff Manning who is facing one of the most difficult days of his life. I couldn't help but react with admiration and empathy and by the end of the prologue, I was already reeling from the possibility of never being able to know this man more.
When Jeff Manning's life is cut short, so unexpectedly, it really takes a toll on his family and friends, and none so much as his wife Claire, and their son Seth. As the days continue though, it's pretty clear to Claire that the presence of Tish - one of Jeff's co-workers - is something more than it seems. If you had suspicions, wouldn't you want to know? Trying to hold things together, for Seth, and for herself is difficult, and with the constant questions in her mind, along with the resurfacing of Jeff's estranged brother Tim.. it's almost more than she can bear.
The book is narrated by multiple characters, which is something I almost always enjoy. Claire of course is one of them, Tish the co-worker is another, and the character I loved hearing from most was Jeff himself. Although it's bittersweet knowing he's already dead and that can never be undone, it's still a joy to be able to know more of him, through his own eyes.
I found this to be a warmly written, highly emotional read that really delivers. I've liked many of Catherine McKenzie's books but I think this has to be my favourite so far. I love her writing style and it's not many who can create a high level of suspense within such a few short pages, and fuel that suspense throughout the entire novel without it breaking. My heart was in my mouth so often and it's definitely, for me at least, one of those books that even as you read, you catch your mind racing in every direction trying to piece together the information and answer questions that you can't shake.
I couldn't put this book down, both times. It went everywhere with me (yes, I was even that crazy person sitting outside the store in the minivan, in -10c temperatures, reading away because I couldn't bear to put the book down long enough to join my husband in the store). The author skillfully draws out the story as well as leading the reader on an emotional roller-coaster which brought tears more than a few times. It's a highly charged, intelligent read that brings so much to mind regarding grief, and unresolved issues, but also with regard to ethics. I've tried to share as much as I can without sharing much of the book itself as I firmly believe that you'll find it much more rewarding to be able to read the book yourself. I'd like to think you'll enjoy it as much as I do. For me, Hidden is now a favourite that will be re-read often. While it's been days since I last read it, Claire, Tish, and Jeff, are very much still on my mind. I love characters that haunt.
I reviewed this title as part of a Holiday Blog Tour, for which you'll find the info below. Thank you to everyone who organized it, for having me along for the ride! Do take time to go and see what my fellow tour bloggers had to say and I'm sure many will agree, that this is a title that would make a great gift that will not disappoint. Also, when you get this title and read it, do drop me a comment and let me know what you think of it too! I love hearing from fellow bookworms,
Author's website - http://catherinemckenzie.com/