What if home is the most dangerous place you can be? For fans of Room and readers of Shari Lapena.
Gloria Janes appears to be a doting suburban mother and loving wife. But beyond her canary-yellow door, Gloria controls her husband, Telly, as well as seven-year-old Maisy and her older brother Rowan, through a disorienting cycle of adoration and banishment.
When Telly leaves, Gloria turns on Rowan. He runs away, finding unlikely refuge with a homeless man named Carl, with whom he forms the kind of bond he has never found with his parents. After they are menaced by strangers, Rowan follows Carl to an isolated cottage, where he accidentally sets off a burst of heightened paranoia in Carl, and their adventure takes a dark turn.
Gloria is publicly desperate for the safe return of her son while privately plotting ever wilder ways to lure Telly home for good. Her behaviour grows more erratic and her manipulation of Maisy begins to seem dedicated toward an outcome that only she can see. The two storylines drive relentlessly toward a climax that is both shocking and emotionally riveting.
Suspenseful, unsettling, and masterful, Hideaway explores the secrets of a troubled family and illuminates an unlikely hero and a source of unexpected strength.
Out July, 2019
316 Pages approx.
I received this book in exchange for my honest review.
I had problems with this book. Not because it delves deeply into the unsettled mind of a mother who has mental issues and abuses her own children out of desperation (self-serving), but because it was written from the perspective of her two children as seen through their eyes.
This is a difficult route to go. In my opinion, the author faces the potential of writing adult emotions into children, giving the children either too mature a take on events or giving them unrealistic reactions to what’s going on. Although the author does a brilliant job with this, there are times I found reactions by the child Protagonists just too unrealistic. This killed the story for me.
The story is basically, a broken woman (who seriously needs her own counseling) using her children as pawns to get a man back. How she goes about this, is the conflict that drives the tension felt throughout the book. The manipulation and control she places over these innocents is indeed repulsive, but the author is depending on your (the reader’s) reaction to this to keep the story moving forward. “Wanting to know” how things turn out flips the pages. I must admit, I wanted to know.
Has this story gone too far into the realm of something that shouldn’t? Have authors lost the ability to ‘hook’ their readership in all ways possible? Is exposing possible abusive situations now to become the norm, especially involving children? Have thrillers lost that “grab and hold” ability so now it too ventures into the “shock and repulsive” realm? Can we not thrill our audiences with other gripping ways?
Is all the above my way of avoiding to recognize that the topic matter actually exists in today’s society? Am I in denial? Dysfunctional families and their plunder of happiness does exist, a lot. But is it the fictional world’s responsibility to use it to thrill audiences? Isn’t that where non fiction author’s responsibilities lie?
I wish I had the answers to all the above questions, but instead, all I can offer my fellow readers is that you need to decide what it is that you want in a book. Why do you pick up a fictional book instead of a non fiction? More importantly, are you to be satisfied delving into the types of truths “Hideaway” exposes, or, should fiction authors world-wide leave such harsh and blatant realities to non fiction?
Fiction is meant to entertain. With that thought, is a mother abusing her two children for personal gain entertaining? THAT, my friends, is the real question.
I gave this book: