I have long been a fan of Catherine McKenzie. From her very first book she captivated my interest and has held it since with three more books including her newest entitled Hidden which releases tomorrow. Hidden takes us into the lives of husbands, wives, maybe mistresses, and all the things that make up the lives we live each day. It is a very real and honest novel that is raw and emotional and is a change from her previous novels that always seemed to have a funny side to them. Hidden shows just what an extremely talented writer Catherine McKenzie is.
Hidden introduces us to three narrators: Claire, Jeff, and Tish. Each chapter alternates between them giving us an insight into who they were and are now. Claire and Jeff are married with a son and Tish is married with a daughter. Jeff and Tish work for the same company although in different locations and have developed a strong friendship. After Jeff’s death certain things come to light that cause Claire to wonder if Jeff and Tish had been having an affair. Her sister tells her to leave it alone as what can it matter now that he’s gone but Claire can’t do that. She can’t go forward with her life until she finds out for sure what had been going on. Had Jeff cheated on her? It’s not like he and Claire didn’t have a complicated past. And more importantly why does this woman Tish seems just as broken as she Claire is over the death of Jeff?
Hidden addresses a very complex circle of relationships, both past and present, and how they make us the people we become and also how these past experiences shape our future relationships with each other and others. The characters are all very well developed but as usual with me I gravitated towards the female characters but mostly with Claire. Her emotional response to losing her husband was just so raw that you couldn’t help being drawn to her. Despite feeling as though her whole world had ended she knew she had to pull herself up and move forward for her son and for herself. I could feel her pain and uncertainty when she became suspicious of Jeff’s relationship to Tish and also of her need for the truth even if it was even more devastating to her already fragile heart.
Hidden is one of those novels that would make a fantastic book for your book club. There is even a Reading Guide that can help you and your book club have a great discussion. There are a multitude of topics to discuss in this novel from marriage, children, identity, jobs, and infidelity. I can guarantee that there will not be a shortage of things to discuss and debate and I imagine that this is one of those novels that will evoke a strong response from those chatting on the issues brought forth.
As always Catherine has impressed me with yet another fantastic novel that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. She has a way of getting to the heart of people and their emotions and portraying that in a story that literally enthralls you from the very first page!
Source: Review copy provided by Harper Collins. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.