Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Heidi Chiavorli: The Hidden Side

By Kelly Bridgewater

New York, 2016
Natalie Abbott offers answers for hurting listeners on her popular radio program. But she struggles to connect with her teenagers, with her daughter in an unhealthy relationship and her son uncommunicative and isolated. When one member of the family commits an unspeakable act, Natalie is forced to uncover who she truly is under the façade of her radio persona.

New York, 1776
Mercy Howard is shocked when her fiancé, Nathan Hale, is arrested and hanged as a spy. When she’s asked to join the revolutionary spy ring in Manhattan, she sees an opportunity to avenge Nathan’s death. But keeping her true loyalties hidden grows increasingly harder as the charming Major John Andre of the King’s Army becomes more to her than a target for intelligence.

Mercy’s journals comfort Natalie from across the centuries as both women struggle with their own secrets and shame, wondering how deep God’s mercy extends.

Image result for The Hidden Side Heidi Chiavaroli

My Thoughts:

The Hidden Side the second novel by author, Heidi Chiavorli. I haven't gotten around to reading her first novel, but I think I will want to pick that up soon. With The Hidden Side, I was introduced to Chiavorli's writing and now understand why good things are being said about her writing.  With a women's fiction novel, I expect to be touched by a difficult topic and dive deep into the character's emotions. Chiavorli does a good job at creating a timely story with deep characters.

My favorite thing about her writing is the transformation of the characters as they move through the story. In the beginning, the character claim a faith and belief in God, but then a crisis strikes, and they are tested. Their faith deepens as they struggle and grow closer to God. Some novels I have read, the deep desire to question and seek God appears fake and forced by the author, but I believe Chiavorli's  dug really deep and created an authentic character.

I enjoyed the character of Mealynn. I personally related to her the most. Being a mother, I thought I would empathize with Natalie, but I didn't. . I empathized with Natalie as she pondered what  she could have done differently when raising Chris. I empathize with the twin of Chris. I could feel Maelynn's hurt and anger as she walked through this difficult time in her teenage life. While the character of Mercy is the historical character, I really didn't empathize with her or enjoy her story. After reading the complete story, I still am confused on what Mercy's story has to do with the other one. I understand Natalie and Maelynn read the journal, but what did it have to do with the modern day story.

I enjoyed the contemporary timeline. It was very timely and important for this day with all the school shootings. Chiavorli's perspective with the mother, father, and sister of a shooter is different than anything I have ever read, and I felt swept up into the action within the first chapter. This was a wonderful book to spend a day or longer with.

Overall, Heidi Chiavorli's second book The Hidden Side was all about taking a different viewpoint on a hot topic. Maelynn was the character I related to the most. The historical story felt out of place. Even though the contemporary story captured my attention. I believe fans of Rachel Hauck, Beth K. Vogt, or Laura McNeil would enjoy this women's fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavorli from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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