Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

April 3, 2017

The Hideaway {Lauren Denton}

the hideaway lauren denton
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.

My Thoughts:
This is a tough review for me to write because I have very mixed feelings about this book. I'll start with the book itself. This is a debut work from author Lauren Denton.

The characters in this book are very complex and have backgrounds that tell the story here. The book switches time frames as it tells the stories of Mags in the 1960s and Sara in the present day.

The characters themselves were somewhat interesting and had complex backgrounds that made you want to know a little more about them. The book had the potential to be a decent read.

So why do I have mixed feelings? Because this book is published by Thomas Nelson, the publisher of many of my must-read authors. Thomas Nelson has always been known to me to publish amazing Christian stories. This is not one of those. Other than a couple of brief paragraphs in which some of the characters attended a church service, there is not God in this book. There are affairs, drunkenness, and an openly gay character. I kept thinking these characters would find God, and the story would come full circle, but it never happened.

So yes, I am mixed. The author does a great job and I am sure she will be successful . I'm just not sure Thomas Nelson is the correct publisher for this type of book. If you are looking for Christian fiction, stay away from this one.

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