Title: The Hiding Place
Author: Jenny Quintana
Published: March 30th 2021
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 4.5 stars
Some houses have their secrets. But so do some people . . .
From Jenny Quintana, the bestselling author of The Missing Girl and Our Dark Secret, comes The Hiding Place: a story about identity, love, long-buried secrets and lies.
Marina is adopted. She’s always known this – but the circumstances of her birth remain a mystery. Baby Blue, the newspapers nicknamed her at the time, after she’d been found wrapped in a blue shawl, in the hallway of a large, shared house in London.
24 Harrington Gardens. That was the house. And it’s still standing now Marina is an adult; still split into flats. And one of them is to let . . .
Of course, Marina knows that the chances of her uncovering the truth about her birth are remote – but she hopes the house might hold some clues.
What if it’s not just the house, though? What if someone connected to it knows what really happened that day? Someone who doesn’t want the truth to come to light?
The bestselling author of The Missing Girl returns with a riveting new mystery story. Questions of identity, family lineage, deep secrets and a tragic past circulate around this new suspense novel from British author Jenny Quintana. The Hiding Place proved to be an utterly absorbing read from cover to cover.
Featuring two timeline branches, The Hiding Place is set in Britain in the sixties and in the early nineties. In the nineties storyline we meet Marina, a woman desperately searching for her birth parents and family history, after learning that she was abandoned as a baby. The key to unlocking Marina’s mysterious past rests in a shady residential building, 24 Harrington Gardens. This unsettling abode has been the home to a range of residents over the years. Some tenants have stayed on for the duration, while others have left, but Marina is determined to find out who her parents are and will she find them in this complex? A series of connected events and figures help to slowly build a picture around the circumstances surrounding Marina’s birth and subsequent abandonment. But someone out there is keen to bury the truth. Will Marina find the answers to her past?
The Hiding Place is exactly the sort of mystery novel I love. This slow build suspense tale is drenched in intrigue and and a very tense atmosphere. Jenny Quintana’s latest is not a white knuckled thrill ride, instead it dishes out clues to a complex family mystery case in a reduced pace format. I would shelve The Hiding Place in the classic mystery novel genre and those who love a decent double timeline narrative will definitely find much to appreciate about this novel.
With one narrative supporting the other, The Hiding Place takes the reader to the years 1964 and 1991 respectively. I have to say I connected a little more to the sixties based storyline, it was slightly more interesting. However, I did find great merit in the early nineties timeline, it was essential to the novel as a whole. Without the nineties narrative we would not be able to travel so well into the past and observe how ill choices made in the past impact future generations. I liked how Quintana examined this angle of the novel, there is plenty to consider in this area in terms of choices for women who had babies before marriage. The Hiding Place looks at moral choices, societal attitudes and cultural norms of the sixties. Via the character of Will, Connie’s lover, we see how a man could indulge in his own passion and sense of freedom without responsibility. Even Will’s mother bowed down to his frivolous and selfish actions! This earned my ire, but it is an accurate depiction of the attitudes of this era.
In Connie, the lead character in the sixties narrative, we have a very naïve and innocent woman on the cusp of adulthood. The grief over the loss of Connie’s mother cuts deep in this novel. Quintana examines bereavement from both a father and daughter’s perspective very well. My heart went out to Connie, she definitely needed a woman’s touch and embrace in the difficult times she was faced with. Connie’s father is a man who suffers from ill health both mentally and physically during the novel. While I felt sorry for Connie’s father, I was also upset by the expectations he placed on Connie to replace his wife. He also failed to read the warning signs when his daughter was in trouble. However, good name, reputation and expectations ruled the world at this point in time, which is extremely evident as the story unfolds.
Quintana’s present time character Marina is an intriguing protagonist. I enjoyed following Marina closely as she worked hard to unveil the circumstances around her birth and ancestry. I also admired Marina’s approach to unlocking the secrets of 24 Harrington Gardens, the location base for the events of this novel to unfurl. Quintana builds an exceptional portrait of 24 Harrington Gardens. I conjured some very vivid and moving images of this locale in my mind. There was a strong sense of menace, unease, dodgy dealings and shadowy intrigue that filled my body as the full story emerged surrounding the characters of The Hiding Place. The intersection of the past and present merging together as the book moved progressively to its conclusion caught my undivided attention. I couldn’t turn my eyes away from this one, not for a beat! I was waiting with bated breath as the gripping conclusion was rolled out. I still had a few niggling questions about this one after I read the final paragraph. However, my overall impression of The Hiding Place was very high indeed.
The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana was published on 30th March 2021 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Hiding Place, Jenny Quintana, visit here.
*Thanks extended to Pan Macmillan for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.