These Things Hidden is a powerful, complicated story about the ties that bind us to our families. Completely unpredictable, this novel will have readers guessing about what will unfold next.
Newly released from prison, Alison tries to contact her family without much success. She was their “golden girl” upon whom everyone placed their hopes. No one planned on Alison making a mistake--dating an older student and becoming pregnant. No one planned on "perfect" Alison tossing her newborn baby girl in the Druid River.
The second thread is Claire's story. Faced with infertility, Claire happily adopts a baby boy whom someone has left at the Linden Falls fire station. She and her husband own a bookstore where she meets many members of the community, including Alison. Few people know that Alison is “that girl”—the girl that killed her newborn.
When Claire hires Alison to work at her bookstore, the truth begins to unravel. Two other women, Charm, a nursing student, and Alison’s sister, Brynn, play an important role in this taut, interconnected drama.
Like Jodi Piccoult, Gudenkauf is great at presenting domestic novels that explore deeper psychological issues. Other novelist who write about troubled families include Anne Rivers Siddons, Michelle Richmond, Elisabeth Hyde, Lauren Groff, Penny Vincenzi, Laura Moriarty, Mary deMuth and Joyce Carol Oates.