- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 11, 2017)
When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in 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, Alabama. 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 her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’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 Sheetrock 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 Mags’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.
Buy, read, and discuss The Hideaway:
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two 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.
The Hideaway is her first novel.
Connect with Lauren:
I read this novel nearly a month ago, while I was on vacation, convinced that I was supposed to review it at the beginning of April. Alas, I’d confused it with another book, which I managed to review on time (barely), and I am finally posting this review today. Forgive me if details are slightly murky.
What I loved about this novel were the characters – especially Sara and Mags – and their relationships with each other and with others in the book. Sara is someone I’d love to be friends with and Mags reminded me of my own grandmother in some ways, though she was radically different in others.
It’s not a spoiler that Mags dies very early in the story, and that much of Sara’s story involves her discovery of the hidden bits of her grandmother’s life. Those discoveries – sometimes significant, sometimes just tiny details that make you go, “Oh, okay, that makes sense now,” felt incredibly real. I think we’ve all gone through that to some degree when a loved one, especially one from an older generation, dies.
Lauren K. Denton’s writing was incredibly evocative and felt extremely real. I loved the way she wrote Sara’s internal conflict throughout the novel. The pull of ‘home’ in opposition to the bigger, more urban life she’s been leading was especially well conveyed.
I also appreciated the way Denton turned the B&B – the Hideaway – into a character in its own right. Yes, it was a place, but it was a place with emotional resonance and its own breath of life, and it takes a special kind of writer to convey that.
While The Hideaway is a fast read, you’d be doing the book – and yourself – a disservice by dismissing it as too cozy. It’s very real, and very warm, and I enjoyed curling up with it during an epic rainstorm.
Goes well with iced sweet tea and lemon cookies.
Sunday, April 2nd: Writer Unboxed – author guest post
Tuesday, April 11th: Reading Reality
Thursday, April 13th: Buried Under Books
Friday, April 14th: Books a la Mode – author Q&A
Monday, April 17th: Just Commonly
Wednesday, April 19th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, April 21st: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, April 24th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, April 26th: Bibliotica
Friday, April 28th: Laura’s Reviews
Monday, May 1st: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Wednesday, May 3rd: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, May 4th: Dwell in Possibility
Monday, May 8th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Wednesday, May 10th: Kritter’s Ramblings