Lake Union Publishing | April 2014 | 304 pgs
Catherine McKenzie has a way of building intensity no matter whatever the topics are. Last year I read Fractured; a book about family dynamics and the plot simply blew me away. Hidden is no exceptional but this time around she focused more on the complexity of relationships, personal choices and the responsibilities one has towards his loved ones.
Jeff Manning isn't comfortable of firing anyone, especially if the employee used to his superior. Feeling lost and clueless, he consulted Tish on how to deal with this matter with tact. Tish works in the HR department but in another office building. How Jeff and Tish are close was part of the premise of as both of them are happily married to their spouse and have their own teenage child. Despite the distance, they communicated via phone texts or through office emails and nobody knew about their relationship, not even their colleagues and most of all not even their spouse. While most of our minds would wander if their relationship is leaning towards infidelity, the thing is they are more emotional attached to each other than being physical.
Then on that fateful day after Jeff has asked Art to go, he met an accident on his way home. Needless to say, Claire and their teenage son, Seth, are devastated. On the other end, Tish is devastated too but unlike Claire, she couldn't express her grief openly. However, due to company's practice and being a HR personnel she "volunteers" to attend Jeff's funeral on behalf of the company and from there it opens a can of worms for both women.
But that is not all, Catherine McKenzie brings that relationship complexity up a notch as we see Jeff with his estranged older brother, Tim; as well as Claire's who used to go out with Tim before Jeff and she became a couple.
Narrated by Jeff, Claire and Tish and with chapters alternating between the present and the past, Hidden is an engaging story with a subtle sense of mystery that explores the relationship between a married couple as well as questioning readers if a man and a woman (especially if both are married) be in a platonic relationship without complicating matters? This book would make a great book club discussion and will keep you thinking long after you have finishing reading.
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