Some reviews have commented that the love triangle story has been ‘done to death,’ and this is just one of many; however, I firmly believe that everyone has their individual story to tell and no two stories can be told in quite the same way.
I enjoyed ‘Hidden’ very much. Beginning with the dramatic death of the male character Jeff who exists at one point of the love triangle, the story gathered pace towards what seemed to be an inevitable conclusion; the revelation to Claire of her deceased husband’s affair with another woman, Tish.
The clichés are there; Tish, the other woman works for the same company and they meet during a work outing; the sharing of ‘innocent’ emails and browsing of each other’s profile pages; the instability of Claire and Jeff’s marriage as it goes through a tricky patch; Jeff’s fear that his wife Claire still loves another man, in this case his brother, Tim; and the dominant question of whether it is possible to truly love more than one person……but I didn’t feel these detracted from the story.
‘Hidden’ is not a fast-paced story, but rather a sensitively written story with understanding on all sides, and which is unravelled gradually through the first person voices of the three main characters in the triangle, namely husband and wife, Jeff and Claire, and ‘the other woman’, Tish, who is actually married herself, to Brian, with one child.
I do find it very interesting what a huge part technology plays in affairs and betrayals. Tish and Jeff live some way apart and texts, emails and the trails they leave are certainly a prominent part of the novel. It also serves to emphasise the limitations of such communication as Claire tries desperately to read between the lines of the few bits she succeeds in accessing in her investigations.
I wasn’t too sure of the ending. There is huge twist to the revelation in the last pages which I believe will raise some big rhetorical and moral questions in the reader’s mind, and the story will linger long after the book is finished.
My main problem with the story was in the use of the first person narration from Jeff’s perspective. As a child I had it drummed into me by diligent English teachers that a dead person cannot write their own story!! Jeff does just that and it colours the rest of ‘Hidden’ for me.
Overall I enjoyed this book very much, was absorbed in the story and characters, and read from beginning to end very quickly.
I give ‘Hidden’ 4 out of 5 stars.