Author: Kelli Clare
A quick, steamy, genre-bending romance to spice up your summer – just not the book for me…
Synopsis via Goodreads: Small-town Connecticut art teacher Ellie James finds the intense connection she’s longing for when she meets Will Hastings, a seductive Englishman with an alluring darkness. But just days later, her sister and grandmother are murdered and she must confront the unthinkable: is Will a man she can trust, a killer—or both?
After surviving a near-fatal attempt on her life, Ellie makes a desperate move: she takes her young niece Lissie and runs to England with Will. There, fiery passion becomes possession, London paparazzi call her by another name, and assassins of a secret society close in after the stunning truth about Ellie’s family is exposed. When Will suddenly disappears after putting a ring on her finger, Ellie must find the strength to elude assassins, disentangle herself from the haunting lies she’s lived for twenty-seven years, and answer one pressing question: who is Ellie James?
My Review: I gotta be honest – I could not get in to this book. Hidden was not the thriller I thought it was going to be. Maybe I was too quick to judge this book by its cover, but based on its looks and synopsis I settled down to read this one expecting a dark, twisty mystery; but this was not that. This is a romance first a foremost with some thriller/mystery elements thrown in. Unfortunately, I found the romance aspect to be way too distracting. That being said, I was probably not the intended audience for this one.
The lust between Ellie and Will was extremely overpowering, and I found it to be entirely unbelievable and not properly developed in overall plot or even just plain time. On almost every page I found myself marveling at how many strong emotions were being described but how little I was really buying in to them and how quickly big events were passing me by without any real detail. To me, Ellie seemed like a gullible, somewhat shallow young girl and Will seemed like a macho, testosterone driven caveman. Ellie’s reaction to her family’s murders was entirely unrealistic, in my opinion, and this occurs so soon in the story (too soon) that I found it hard to take her seriously for the remainder of the story.
Don’t get me wrong, I can enjoy a good genre-bending romance, but I need to care about the characters and the love story to do so (a certain kilt wearing Scottish man and his Sassenach come to mind…). However, about 20 pages in to Hidden I said to myself “is it just me, or am I getting Fifty Shades vibes here?” You should know, I got about 2 chapters in to Fifty Shades and never could finish it… I was one of the snobs saying “I just can’t get past the juvenile writing!” I know, I know, I might be in the minority on that one.
I do think this could be an enjoyable read if it makes its way in to the right readers’ hands. Anyone who loves the romance genre and could get in to a romantic mystery with an element of English historical fiction as well could probably really get in to this one. If my likening of this to fifty shades intrigued you then this might be the book for you.
Thank you to BookSparks for my free review copy. While I was given a copy to read and review, all opinions are my own.