As y’all may remember, I reviewed books professionally for RT Book Reviews (aka Romantic Times) for three years until it shut its doors. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to share these reviews with you here on the blog as long as they still belonged to the magazine. However, now that it has closed its doors and deleted its website (including my reviews) from its corner of cyberspace, I’m free to share my reviews for those books here too! Today I’m featuring The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton – don’t you love that cover?!?
GENRE: Inspirational Women’s Fiction/Southern Fiction
PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson
RELEASE DATE: April 11, 2017
In this USA TODAY and Amazon Charts Bestseller, Sara is wrenched back to Sweet Bay, Alabama, by her grandmother’s will, where she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever knew in her life.
After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering her grandmother’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.
Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid drywall dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.
Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed her grandmother’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.
When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.
In The Hideaway, Lauren Denton tells a gripping story of love and loyalty as Sara Jenkins must choose either to fight for the people she has come to love, or return to her life of solitude and simplicity.
“A story both powerful and enchanting: a don’t-miss novel in the greatest southern traditions of storytelling.” —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author
“Two endearing heroines and their poignant storylines of love lost and found make this the perfect book for an afternoon on the back porch with a glass of sweet tea.” —Karen White, New York Times bestselling author
Sara Jenkins keeps meaning to take a few days off from her busy life in New Orleans to head home to Sweet Bay, Alabama, and visit her quirky grandmother and her stalwart home. Mags’s death takes her by surprise, as does Mags’s wishes for Sara to renovate The Hideaway to its former glory. A handsome contractor, a house full of old friends, and uncovered secrets make the days fly. As Sara finally gets to know her grandmother and herself, a land developer threatens to undo all the restoration they’ve set in motion.
This debut novel is the kind of book you want to curl up with on a rainy day or stick in your beach bag for your next vacation. It is poetic and compelling, emotional and full of life. The dual timeline – and dual perspective – makes Mags’s and Sara’s stories all the more captivating, and the parallels between William and Cameron are poignant and grace-filled. This is a story of choices that change your life… and lives that change your choices. Its haunting beauty will linger long with readers.
(I was paid to write a review for RT Book Reviews. All views expressed are nevertheless only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 5 stars / Loved it! (Top Pick)
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren now lives with her husband and two young daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. Her debut novel, The Hideaway, is a USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, Hurricane Season, released in April, 2018, and was listed on BookPage’s 2018 list of Most Anticipated Fiction. Her third novel, Glory Road, released March 2019 and has over 90 5-star reviews on Amazon.
What about you? Have you read this book? What interests you most about The Hideaway? (Or, what did you love most about it if you’ve read it already?)