The Art of Hiding, by Amanda Prowse
Publication: Lake Union Publishing; July 18, 2017
About the book:
What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?
Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, 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 run-down 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.
Who, What, When, Etc.
Nina is a wealthy wife living in her beautiful home with her husband Finn and her two sons, Connor and Declan. She has always kept to herself and shied away from socializing with the other parents at her sons’ upscale school, preferring to take her sons to school each day, take care of their home, do the grocery shopping, pick the boys up, and cool dinner.
One day when Nina is at Connor’s rugby game, she gets a call from the hospital informing her that her husband has been in an accident. After Finn’s death, Nina learns from their accountant and attorney that they have nothing. No home, car, or money.
Nina packs up her boys and the few belongings they have left and returns to a less than ideal flat in her old neighborhood. From there, Nina struggles to help her boys acclimate to their new school and new life, as well as, rediscover herself as an adult woman apart from her husband.
Thoughts and Reactions
Over the years I’ve heard countless divorcees say they never handled the finances in their homes and were shocked after the divorce about various financial issues. Imagine losing your husband and then discovering that you are about to lose every material possession that you own. Whether we want to face it or not, this is a very realistic possibility for any number of us that aren’t in charge or involved in the financial affairs in our relationships, therefore, note to self and to everyone – get informed!
This story poses several issues about the overwhelming guilt and weight of debt, as well as, the absurdity of a spouse thinking they are being protective when they keep these issues from their loved ones. More importantly, this novel is about survival, growth, and reinventing one’s idea of happiness.
Nina struggled with such burdens helping her sons through their father’s death, then the loss of everything, then adjusting to a new town, new school, and new peers. All the while she was struggling on her own trying to find a job and her only support system being her older sister that, until Finn’s death, they had not been very close.
Nina’s strength and determination were incredible throughout this novel and I love that the author did not feel the need to include a love interest, but rather focus on Nina’s own personal growth. But the most outstanding and compelling character was her teenage son, Connor. His character was so wonderfully developed as he went from being angry to sad to helpful to caring. As time passed, his insight into his father’s death and their situation was so moving and so impressive, that he absolutely stole the show in this novel.
Let me say that this novel leaves you with a wonderful and optimistic feeling about life, but only after taking you down to the lows of losing everything and having to put everything back together all alone. The Art of Hiding is intelligent, relatable, emotional, and inspiring. It was such a pleasure to read and review this book by an author that I already admired. There is no unnecessary drama or exaggeration in this novel, but it is real life with real people that will shake you to your core, but eventually, inspire you.
*Many thanks to NetGalley for providing this novel in exchange for my honest review!
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Learn more about Amanda Prowse.