Book Review: The Hideaway

23 Jul

When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever knew in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it — no small task considering her grandmother’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid drywall dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed her grandmother’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice — stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. Her debut novel, The Hideaway, was a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, Hurricane Season, released in spring of 2018. Her third, Glory Road, will release in February of 2019.

Find her at LaurenKDenton.com or on Facebook (LaurenKDentonAuthor), Instagram (LaurenKDentonBooks), or Twitter (@laurenkdenton).

 

My Impressions:

The Hideaway, Lauren K. Denton’s debut novel, was my book club’s selection this month. I was eager to read it since I had already read her second novel, Hurricane Season, and knew that this one had been a best seller. A debut novel that became a best seller — there had to be a reason. Yes, yes there was. The novel is written in the currently popular dual time/story style. It tells in first person accounts the stories of Mags and her granddaughter, Sara. The similarities between the two women become apparent as the narrative progresses. Both chose to run away from other’s plans for their lives, as well as emotionally difficult relationships. Part love story, part women’s fiction, the novel was an enjoyable read and got a unanimous thumbs up from my group.

The dual story line style can be difficult to sustain, as a reader often loses interest in one of the stories. Denton does a great job of maintaining the pacing of each storyline. The characters are interesting, although caused frustration for more than one member of our group. There are a lot of assumptions, wrong assumptions, that they make that cause pain and separation. I did like that as Sara came to know and understand her grandmother (and recognize their similarities), that her choices were informed by the wrong turns her grandmother took. The setting of the novel is perhaps the best part of the novel. Denton does a wonderful job of creating the world that is The Hideaway. There is also a sweet love story that will appeal to the romance fan. Now for the cons of the book. The novel was published by a Christian publishing house, yet there really isn’t anything Christian about it. A secondary character is described as a person of faith, but not much is said beyond that. Mags has an almost come-to-Jesus moment that also goes absolutely nowhere. My group was a bit puzzled by that scene as well as the lack of regret for the more adult of situations. Did it keep us from liking the book? Not really. We just expected a deeper reading experience.

All in all, my book club and I liked The Hideaway. Well-written with great characters and a wonderful sense of place, it definitely is a good read. But if you are looking for a novel with a strong Christian message, I would pass on this one.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased a Kindle version of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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3 Responses to “Book Review: The Hideaway”

  1. bellesmoma16 July 23, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

    This sounds amazing!!! Another book for my TBR mountain. 😁

    Like

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  1. If You Liked The Hideaway . . . | By The Book - July 31, 2018

    […] The Book was unanimous in our approval of The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton. This well-written novel focused on relationships that shape our lives. If you […]

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