Walking home from work, Jeff Manning is hit and killed by a car. In his wake, he leaves a wife, Claire, and a son. Claire is devastated as she begins to imagine life without Jeff. Over 500 miles away, Jeff’s coworker, Tish, is just as devastated.
Jeff worked for a company that merged with a company Tish worked for, both happened to be located in cities named Springfield. Jeff and Tish often joked with each other about working in “the other Springfield.” Most of their communication is done through email and text messages, but because they’re so friendly and personal in them, the automatic assumption is that something must be going on between the two. No one would suspect that the two had met under such strained circumstances at a company retreat.
As the story shifts between narrators, it’s difficult to feel compassion for Claire. I can’t say that her marriage to Jeff is dead, but there doesn’t seem to be any spark between them. The same applies for Tish and her husband.
This is probably the first time that I’ve read something from Catherine McKenzie and wasn’t immediately drawn in. Usually, I’m caught up in her characters and their story line, but there was something different about Hidden. I wasn’t invested in any of the characters and didn’t care what, if anything, happened to them. Looking back at other books I’ve read from the author, it seems that her focus is usually on female characters, whereas Hidden has a male at the center. I won’t say that McKenzie didn’t write him well, I will say that I’m partial to stories that focus on women. They’re just more relatable to me.
Published: April 2014
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