Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Book Review: Hiding Places by Erin Healy

Since reading Motherless earlier this year, and The Baker’s Wife just a couple months ago, I am a HUGE fan of Erin Healy’s novels.  Those two books have a supernatural element, which isn’t generally my style, but Ms. Healy really makes it work.  Her stories are so compelling and complex in all the right ways.  I felt that Hiding Places was a departure from her other books that I’ve read, but it may be my favorite so far.

This story is about Kate, an eleven-year old who lives in a hotel/resort with her family: her mother, two half-sisters, grandmother, grandfather, and Great-grandmother.  Kate spends most of her days sneaking around and “spying” on her family and the hotel guests.  She does whatever she can to help her family and protect them in her own misguided way, but they pay her very little attention in return.  Charlie Fuse is a young man with no family, except the one he found on the street.  The Fox has his gang brothers for a family, but nothing is as important to him as his son, Coz.  When Charlie is accused of murdering Coz, he runs away, and is badly injured in an accident.  Kate finds him in the woods and offers to hide him.  The gang comes to find him, and places the entire family in danger.  Now, it’s their turn to protect Kate, but do they even know how?

I love that the central theme in this book (as well as the others I’ve read) is family, and the complexities of being in one.  The characters are wonderfully written , and deep in a very real way.   It’s interesting to see the world through the eyes of a child, and know that they see things differently than us.  While he was technically the “bad guy” of this story, I was impressed with the character of the Fox, who would do anything to avenge the death of his son.  Great-grandma Pearl may be my favorite character, and she actually provides some comic relief throughout this serious thriller. 

The climax in this book was slightly reminiscent of the one in The Baker’s Wife with a bad man/men holding people hostage in a kitchen.  This one was a little different and maybe more interesting with the addition of the secret “hiding places” scattered throughout the house and grounds.  I think when you’re reading the hostage and chase parts, it’s important to read a little slower.  I read it too fast, and got a little confused along the way.  I was pretty satisfied with the way it all turned out, but found myself wishing for more at the end.  Ms. Healy’s stories do seem to have mostly happy endings, but I like the fact that she doesn’t tie it all up in a neat little bow.  Life just isn’t like that, and sometimes there are consequences to face, even when we think the worst is over.

If you are already a fan of Erin Healy, I think you will enjoy this book, even with its differences from some of her others.  If you haven’t read her previous novels, I encourage you to start with this one.  It truly shows her depth as a writer with some interesting and non-typical characters and situations.  Since it takes place in Colorado in the late fall, and includes a snowstorm, I definitely recommend this one along with a warm blanket and cup of hot cocoa and a fire if you’ve got it! 

Happy Reading!

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

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