The Hidden Side

Oh gosh. This book dug into deep, dark places. It got serious REAL fast, and it never really came up for air. And, honestly, I couldn't put it down.

Heidi Chiavaroli, author of "The Hidden Side", took on a myriad of tough topics in this fast paced, addictive piece of historical fiction. From bullying to school shootings to family tragedy to some good old fashioned war-time espionage, the subjects just kept coming and Chiavaroli handled them carefully and with an expertise that was impressive. That said, this is not a breezy read.

In 2016, a family finds their entire world turned upside down after a school shooting. Their quest to find new life, new hope, after tragedy is compeling in part because Chiavaroli has created characters that we can root for. She has also created characters that feel real. They are not shined up, made pretty for a Christian fiction title, forced to minimize their problems and make them tidy. Instead, they find redemption and hope from a God who accepts them, even in their worst moment.

In 1776, one woman must decide if she will support a cause she believes in with all her heart, that of the Revolution, by living a double life. Her decision gets more and more complicated as she realizes that, in spite of their allegiance to Britian, the redcoats are in some cases well meaning and [dare I say] worthy of her affection.

These two stories absolutely held my attention from the first page to the last. There was not a moment of lag, not a moment I didn't care about the outcome of their narratives. Don't read this book for a breezy break, do read it for a well-written and challenging story.

I only have one critique of this book, and it was large enough to make me rate it 3/5 on Goodreads. The character in 1776, by all appearances in my own research, did not exist. She is tied to extremely influential historical figures in the story, and it bothered me that she was not real. I am a big fan of historical fiction, and for me, the most successful stories manage to hug close to history enough so that you are not alterring it. Creating this particular woman and placing her right alongside real people, often motivating their decisions, seemed one step too far. BUT, it sure made for a good read!

Tyndale has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.