Title: These Things Hidden
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Mira; Original edition
Publication Date: January 18, 2011
Paperback: 352 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult in her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.
But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.
Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.
This is appearing to be the week of books dealing with familial relationships and at first I was concerned, is it possible to overdose on books surrounding deeply buried family secrets? Thankfully it is not and These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf proved to be a phenomenal book. Gudenkauf not only has an extraordinary talent for beautiful prose but also for constructing deep, emotional, and realistic characters and life events. The reader will quickly be drawn into These Things Hidden and will not want the book to end. Secrets can bind us together or can tear us apart and for Allison and Brynn Glenn, there is a fine line between the two. Allison goes from being exceedingly popular and an all-around American girl to being imprisoned for murder, disowned and upon her release to a half-way house, Allison learns even her sister wants nothing to do with her. Gudenkauf has a flair for character development and Allison is one tough heroine and the reader quickly discovers many strong female characters in this book. Throughout the book I kept trying to put myself in Allison’s shoes and I do not think I would have made it. Allison is courageous, hard working, and absolutely lovely. As she begins to make a new life for herself, long buried secrets start to become revealed, but saying any more and I will spoil this remarkable story, which I have no intention of doing. These Things Hidden captivated me from the first page and I quite literally was unable to do anything other than read the book, the story line captivated me and held onto me in a manner not many books can. I have had the pleasure of reading Gudenkauf’s The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden and cannot wait to see what she pens next. Gudenkauf is a gifted storyteller with the ability to fully engage the reader from beginning to end. I would recommend These Things Hidden to every reader and discussion group.
Heather Gudenkauf lives in Dubuque, Iowa, with her husband, three children and a very spoiled German shorthaired pointer. She is currently working on her next novel. For more information please visit the author’s website.
I received a complimentary copy of These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf from The Book Trib to offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.