I’m pretty picky about fiction. I tend to read titles that have been recommended to me in some way: friend, podcast, or book club. I’m also a little stingy when it comes to how many stars I give a book on Amazon or Goodreads.
The Hideaway (2017) was a title that kept showing up on my Libby library app as I searched for a new fiction read. I was not familiar with the author, and I had swiped past it a couple times. This month it popped up again, and I took a moment to read the book description. It may have been the intriguing recommendation by Patty Callahan Henry (author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis) cover that pushed me to check out the book:
in the greatest southern traditions of storytelling.”
The Hideaway is a story with dual timelines, one in the present and the other beginning in 1960. I enjoy dual timelines, but it’s not always well done. In The Hideaway, it is masterfully well done.
One timeline tells the reader about Sara, the owner of “Bits & Pieces” in New Orleans. She loves her life as it is: staying busy with her shop, refinishing old furniture, and redecorating projects. She doesn’t realize that anything is missing in her life until her grandmother dies unexpectantly. She is called back to Sweet Bay, her hometown, and all its memories she left permanently. Or so she thought.
Sara assumes her time in Sweet Bay, Alabama, will only be long enough to take care of the funeral and other necessary duties. Instead, she winds up with an unexpected inheritance, but with a charge from her grandmother, stated in the will. Now Sara begins the real journey, with an old house and discoveries about her grandmother’s past that she never knew.
Once from high society and married into an influential family, Mags became an eccentric character who was well-loved in her community. She is the owner of The Hideaway, formerly a bed and breakfast, now a community-dwelling with two other couples who never left from their stay. Mags reveals from her perspective what events transpired in her life that got her to The Hideaway in 1960 and why she decided to stay.
Both characters become strong women, but not necessarily by determination alone. There are hard choices and heartbreaks along their paths in life, which become intertwined in an unexpected way.
Once into the book, it only took me only a couple days to finish. It was hard for me to put down because I wanted to keep reading of Sara’s discoveries about her grandmother’s life that she never anticipated. This book got a 5-star review from me on Goodreads.
The Hideaway would be an excellent book club read, with many details to discuss the two protagonists. (There are book club discussion questions at the back of the book.)
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