The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
Published by Lake Union Publishing on July 18, 2017
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, women’s fiction
Format & Length: e-book, 290
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Nina McCarrick has it all: a loving husband, two beautiful boys, a well-appointed home and more time than she knows what to do with. Life is perfect. Until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.
Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.
But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.
Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.
The Art of Hiding is the second book I’ve read by Amanda Prowse, and I can certainly see why she is such a popular author among women. I’m not entirely sure how she does it, but she has a way of writing that tugs on my heartstrings and can make me both laugh and cry within a few short paragraphs.
The themes Prowse explores in her stories are always relevant. While reading this book, I found myself thinking about how people change throughout the course of a lifetime. To be sure, there are certain core aspects of our person that stay the same, but we are also shaped by our surroundings and circumstance. Big life events happen to everyone: marriage; loss of a loved one; moving out on your own for the first time; and how we react and grow through these experiences inform who we are presently and in the future.
In The Art of Hiding, I really enjoyed following Nina’s growth as she learns how to stand on her own two feet and support her family. It made me consider my own marriage, wherein my husband, much like Nina’s, deals with all of our banking and household bills. Unlike Nina and Finn, we discuss anything and everything that might affect us as a family and I do know how to access our accounts. Our reasons for splitting up responsibilities in the way we have are solid, and yet, I found the need to bring up the topic of finances and the need for open conversation with him while reading this. Suffice it to say I could understand and relate to Nina in a variety of ways, and her emotions were so powerful that they pulled me along into her story.
Other than Nina, the majority of the remaining characters felt somewhat stereotypical. There was also a fair bit of lucky coincidence in this book, and the overall story felt vaguely familiar and slightly predictable. In some ways, this actually added some realism to the story. The plotting was focused, staying its course and not veering into a clichéd romance, and tying all the loose ends together in a nicely wrapped package.
A fairly straightforward story that deals with themes of loss, grief, love, and finding oneself, I imagine The Art of Hiding will appeal to most fans of contemporary women’s fiction.
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.