The Art of Hiding is a new novel by Amanda Prowse, releasing on August 22nd. I was invited to read an advance copy by Lake Union Publishing, so I owe them a big thank you for sending this book my way! I was excited when I received this book because I had not read any novels by Prowse before, and I love discovering new authors!
To be perfectly honest, I was a little disappointed after reading the synopsis. The book sounded, well, depressing. The main character, Nina, finds her world unraveling at the death of her husband (not a spoiler – the whole book is based on this event and the ripple effect it causes). It seemed rather sad and dark and reminded me of a novel I read earlier in the summer, Sisters One, Two, Three, which also had a depressing vibe up front. However, like Sisters One, Two, Three, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by The Art of Hiding.
While it turned out that, yes, the circumstances of this book were in fact depressing, I found the story to be interesting and ultimately uplifting. Nina, a woman who came from nothing, marries a successful and wealthy man and lives a whole new life, filled with luxury. Her world then shatters when she loses her husband and is left alone to try to provide for her two boys, with no one but her sister, Tiggy, a bit of a grown up wild child, to help her out.
While books set with sad and depressing circumstances don’t often appeal to me, strong characters do. Nina was very well-written. Her character went through many stages and developed beautifully into a strong, independent woman. Prowse writes Nina’s struggles elegantly, using detail and emotion to make the reader really empathize with her.
In addition to Nina being well-written, Tiggy was a great supporting character, bringing laughter and a sense of security to the story. Nina’s boys, Connor and Declan, are also great characters. They are tasked with staying brave for their mother while also mourning their father and having their entire lives turned upside down. Unlike Nina, the boys have only ever known luxury, private schools, fine clothes, and a mansion. So their new circumstances are less of an uncomfortable adjustment and more of a complete and utter shock.
I liked this story. I wasn’t sure I would, but good writing has a way of doing that!
I think Nina is a strong character and I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading real stories that show what it means to struggle and to overcome.
The Art of Hiding releases on August 22, 2017.
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“She recalled how she had judged the hopeless and hapless people that she had spied trudging into a similar establishment in Bath. Maybe some of them had been far from hopeless and hapless; maybe they were just individuals who were a little down on their luck, whose lives had been thrown into disarray… People like her.” – The Art of Hiding