Thursday, March 17, 2011

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

These Things Hidden
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Published: 2011
Publisher: Mira
Paperback, 337 pages

Summary: 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 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. (From

My Thoughts: I decided to read this book after reading The Weight of Silence last year. That book had me up all night as I tried to finish it, because I knew that I wouldn't be able to sleep until I had figured out what happened to all of the characters. I was expecting the same for this book, but it fell just short of what I was looking for. That's not to say that it wasn't a good book or one that I didn't enjoy reading, but it wasn't what I was expecting from Heather Gudenkauf.
One of the things that I did like about this book was that each chapter is told from a different character's point of view. Your narrators for the story are Allison (the girl who went to prison), Brynn (her sister), Charm (a nursing student who takes care of everyone but herself), and Claire (mother to a five year old boy). Their stories are all intertwined and with each chapter told from a different point of view, you learn more about each woman than you would if it was narrated by one person. 
Gudenkauf writes poetically, drawing you into the story and creating a connection between you and the characters. Even though Allison went to prison for a horrible crime, when you are reading her chapters, you are on her side. Gudenkauf's writing is that good. The only real criticism I have is that I would have liked a little more differentiation in the voices of the narrators. I felt like they all sounded the same, even though all of their stories were different. 
My favorite character from the book was Charm. She was such a strong character, always trying to take care of everyone else and do the right thing for everyone. I felt like she had the strongest chapters and that I could really connect with her. Overall, it was a quick read, one that moves at a fast clip. And this book could fall into a variety of categories, so it could appeal to many audiences: it's contemporary fiction, a mystery, a thriller, and chick-lit. So it has something for everyone.

My Rating: 3 stars


  1. I recently read this one myself, however I read it before I read The Weight of Silence. For that reason I had no expectations and I rated it a bit higher. It was a quick one and I really liked it. Of course I then had to read the other one. :)

  2. I had the exact same reaction. You and I are in the minority from other reviews I have seen but maybe it is because they didn't read Weight of Silence.

    My review if interested.

  3. Part of me wants to read These Things Hidden and part of me wants to e-mail you and force you to tell me what happened!

    Great review!

    Marlene Detierro (Gun Parts and Accessories)