When These Things Hidden begins, we meet Allison Glenn, who is just coming out of a five-year prison sentence for an unthinkable crime. Allison was the golden girl of her small town before being sent to prison, and the repercussions of what happened that fateful night have deeply affected her younger sister, Brynn. We also meet Claire, owner of a bookstore and mom to a delightful little boy, Joshua. And then there is Charm, a girl who grew up with Allison and Brynn and who still carries secrets of her own. Allison, Brynn, Claire, and Charm are all tied together in one major way, and when they figure out exactly how, years of secrets will finally be released.
I purposely tried to give a pretty vague summary of These Things Hidden because so many of the elements of the plot surprised me, and I liked it that way. This novel threw me for a loop in a lot of ways and when I finished, I was sort of in shock – in a good way. The story is much more complex than I had anticipated, and I felt that Gudenkauf crafted the plot of the novel extremely well.
These Things Hidden is told from alternating points of view between Allison, Claire, Charm and Brynn, and telling the story this way was extremely effective. It allowed each of the characters to win over the reader individually, while at the same time revealing their story in such a way that I had real difficulty putting the book down. These four women definitely captured my heart, and I was alternately annoyed with all of them and rooting for all of them at different points throughout the novel. For me, I can tell I’m enjoying a book when I feel deep sympathy for the characters, and that was definitely the case here.
I feel like I haven’t said anything here, but I honestly don’t want to say more because there’s just so much about this book that’s better left unsaid. I’ll just say that I was very impressed with this novel – the characters, the story, the writing, everything. I would definitely recommend These Things Hidden.