I've been a fan of Canadian author Catherine McKenzie from book one. She's just released her fourth book - Hidden. I never know what to expect when I start one of her books - all four have been completely different reads. What I do know is that I'm going to enjoy it.
What if you died unexpectedly? What if there were secrets you were keeping? What would happen then....
"...we all lie about things. Little things, big things. We all keep stuff hidden. And the longer you're with someone, the more stuff there is like that..."
McKenzie explores that premise in Hidden. Jeff Manning is struck and killed by a car one night. This unexpected loss leaves two women grieving - his wife Claire.....and his co worker Tish.
Hidden is told in those three voices, with Jeff recounting his life with his wife and his...relationship... with Tish. We are privy to Claire's grief and her memories of their life together. And we get to know Tish and her family as well. (Sharp eyes will be able to tell whose chapter it is by the font used in the first line)
McKenzie's exploration of the dynamics of these relationships is incredibly well drawn. The sense of grief both women feel is palpable and beautifully written. My heart broke for Jeff's son Seth as he attempted to deal with his father's death. I initially expected to dislike Tish, given that she is 'the other woman'. But is she? When is a line crossed? I found my thoughts on each character and their choices changing with every new chapter and revelation revealed.
Although the main focus is these three characters, Catherine also explores the relationships between family members, friends and workmates as well. Tim and his brother Jeff have one of the most difficult of all. McKenzie does an impressive job writing from a male perspective. Actually, it was all impressive. I was caught up in the story and characters from the first page. The ending caught me totally unawares - and had me rethinking what I had read.
Catherine McKenzie has written a very real, insightful and powerful novel exploring the complex and complicated relationships that shape our lives. This would be a fantastic selection for a book club - Catherine has come up with a set of questions sure to start a great discussion.
Another fantastic novel from a very talented author. I can't wait to see what she comes up with for book number five!
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