Monday, January 17, 2011

Review of These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

These Things Hidden

Heather Gudenkauf


352 pages (pub date 1-25-2011)

Allison Glen learned just how hard and far the mighty fall when their pedestals crumble, once Linden Falls Ohio’s golden girl in the eyes of her town and her family she’s sent to prison for a monstrous crime, even with blood on her hands she’s released early and quickly learns what it means to be completely erased not only by the town but by her parents as well. Younger sister Brynn has also suffered the consequences and has started over away from the scene of the crime and the painful memories. Brought to town by their father’s hospitalization Brynn sees Allison for the first time since she was taken away in the back of a police car. Charm Tullia is about to realize her dream of becoming a nurse although it’s become clear to her that her beloved step-father will not be around to see it. Claire Kelby has been fortunate enough to see her dreams come true, she has her bookstore and finally she’s a mother thanks to someone’s ultimate sacrifice. These women will fit together the puzzle pieces of our startling, incredibly emotional and realistic story.

Heather Gudenkauf brings us a sordid tale of lies, secrets, betrayal and death. It’s about loss of innocence, of growing up and learning the hard knock lessons of life. The story line could be taken from any headline, but Ms. Gudenkauf goes us one better, she gives us a behind the scenes look at what really happened, she does it in pieces so we’re always wondering what we missed and how to piece it together. She brings it to us with at times child like dialogue that points us in the direction of mental illness and at other times she gives us maturity beyond the age. Her characters run the gamut too from childlike to sophisticated, but don’t let them fool you they’re hiding things and it’s up to us to find out what and who. They will also pull at your heartstrings and draw deep emotions from you as well to the point you’ll have to reinvent who the villain is several times during the novel. It’s not a romance but it’s a love story, the love of a sister, the sacrifice for a child, the unconditional parental love and the parental love that comes with a price.

Still waters run deep and secrets are revealed to agonizing results in this highly charged novel. If you’re looking for a intensely emotional, complicated piece of literary fiction it’s all in this read. It fit’s in the mystery, women’s literature or literary fiction category and it’s a superb tale told by an excellent storyteller.


  1. Heather Gudenkauf is a great storyteller. I don't think she gets the attention she deserves.