Hidden - Reviews
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A review by Anne Williams from the Being Anne book blog.
"... Something I really enjoyed about the book's construction was that the author chose not to alternate the stories - and that would only have lessened their impact. Esme's story in particular is one that needs continuity, to follow the steady rise in tension as her husband's behaviour becomes increasingly extreme, the threat to her safety increases, and the atmosphere steadily thickens. And it's really quite a story, as she uses her art as an escape from her desperate situation.
There's an all-pervading sense of claustrophobia about her existence, quite wonderfully captured and conveyed through the writing in a way that you can feel with every fibre. The characters are just wonderful too - I did find Esme difficult to sympathise with at first, unable to identify with the reasons behind her choices, but that certainly changed dramatically as the story progressed. The portrayal of her husband Guy, with his slow descent into insanity brought about by his wartime experiences, is both believable and thoroughly shocking.
I also really loved the way the house itself became part of the story - the moat, the surroundings, the hidden features of its architecture. In the contemporary story, its unusual construction and its art collection make it attractive to visitors, as well as a refuge for Miranda and her family - in its earlier incarnation, it became a prison.
The way the secrets of the past and the central mystery are resolved had me breathless - so original, quite unexpected, the pages turning faster and faster, the ending wholly satisfying and so well handled.
Yes, this really is one of those unmissable ones - I loved every moment and urge you to add it to your reading list without delay. Highly, highly recommended."
A review from Joanne Baird of Portobello Book Blog.
"...HIDDEN is so beautifully written with the characters all so well drawn. I can't quite decide if I liked the story in the past or present best or if I liked them both equally and I think that is a good sign.
I felt so much sympathy for Esme and the awful situation she found herself in. Whilst initially, like Esme, having some compassion for her husband and how he was not coping with his experiences in the war, as his behaviour grew more irrational, I began to not only seriously dislike him but also worry for her safety...
HIDDEN is quality storytelling, a real page turner which is full of tension as the secrets from the past are revealed. So much was hidden in the book, not just in a physical way but also in a more emotional way.
Linda Gillard tells the interwoven stories of Esme, Miranda and Myddleton Mote in a compelling way in this richly detailed, atmospheric novel."
"I have mentioned the abuse the female characters suffer, and although this is mostly mental, it should come with a warning, as it is horrifying at times. Some of the descriptions of the experiences during the war are harrowing as well, and there is also illness to contend with. Notwithstanding that, I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. Any readers who love historical fiction set in the early 20th century, particularly during WWI, in the UK, who are keen on mysterious houses, a good love story, and prefer stories told (mostly) from a female perspective, should check this one. Oh, and the ending is... as close to perfect as anyone could wish."
A five-star review on Goodreads by Olga Miret
"Another brilliant page turner from Ms Gillard. Beautifully written as always. I loved this book which had shivers running up my spine and made me cry."
MAGGIE CHRISTENSEN, author of The Good Sister, reviewing on Goodreads