I read Catherine West’s Yesterday’s Tomorrow and enjoyed it. It was a good story with well-developed characters. Plus, it gave me insights into the Vietnam War. However, it wasn’t a book I could really relate to. Hidden in the Heart, on the other hand, gripped me and held me until the end.
I value a good plot, but I am relationship-driven. Therefore, I want a novel to be inhabited by “real” characters, those I love – and those I want to pummel. The characters in Hidden in the Heart fit the bill. (There was only one individual I would like to beat. But, knowing him, it wouldn’t help. However, a number of the others could have used a good talking to at certain points in the story.)
Another thing I look for in the novels I read is evidence that their story started before Page 1 and will continue long after I close the book. I’ve known for a long time that the latter was important to me. I want to “hit the ground running.” However, it wasn’t until I’d read Hidden . . . that I learned it matters that the characters go on without me.
I want a cathartic read. Whether I have a smile on my face, a tear in my eye, or both, I crave the “emotional purging.” Things don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to be tied up neatly in a pretty bow. (Unless it’s a fairy tale, I’m not much for fairy tale endings.) On the other hand, I don’t want to be left shaking my head and thinking, “Really?”
Endings have to be one of the most difficult things to write. Loose ends have to be tied up, but the characters have to go on living. Burning questions have to be answered while leaving something to the imagination. Characters have to grow and evolve, but they have to be left with a foible or two. We all have them. In a well-written book, the resolutions must be as organic as the tragedies and challenges along the way.
Hidden . . . is about real characters on a real journey encountering real obstacles and overcoming them with help from the people in their lives and heaven-sent grace.
And how did the author make the characters and their story come alive? She dipped into the well of her own emotions, her own reality. You can read about it on Catherine West’s website.
If adoption has touched your life – or if you simply appreciate a well-written story with well-defined, believable characters, check out Hidden in the Heart.