*Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for allowing me to read this book early.
What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?
Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.
Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.
But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.
Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.
Title: The Art of Hiding
Author: Amanda Prowse
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Goodreads Rating: 4.2
My Rating: 4/5
I just want to start off by saying how bizarre some aspects of this book mirrored my life. It sounds so weird but I am a stay at home mom of boys (although 3 not 2 like the story) and my oldest boy is named Connor as well. Also, I identified so much with the social anxiety the main character, Nina, has when it comes to school activities and interacting with other parents.
Nina, is a rich mom of 2 who spends her days cleaning her humongous house and cooking and taking care of her husband and sons. She is very happy with her life when all of sudden her husband dies in a car accident. After his death, she is confronted with the betrayal of a husband who hid their severe money problems from her. The book does such a good job of detailing this and making us really feel the loss of not only her husband but also of the life they lived together.
Since Nina is now broke and nowhere to live she brings her two boys back to her hometown and rents a flat (apartment) from her cousin. It is a very rundown apartment in a not that great area of town. Nina’s sister, Tiggy, lives in the same town and they are able to start building their relationship back up after years of drifting apart. Nina obviously doesn’t have much money so she spends a good chunk of the story trying to find a job. Which, was so nice to see her struggle with this instead of the author having her find a job quickly.
My favorite thing about this book was how realistic it all felt. Amanda Prowse really understands how to write about the complexity of emotions in a such a beautiful way. From dealing with her unexpected loss of money, to her relationships with her kids, to her healing relationship with her sister and in so many more ways.
I took a star off of my rating for two reasons. One, is that her oldest son, Connor, is understandably very unhappy with the recent developments in his life and spends most of the book angry at his mom and their new circumstances. However, their is a moment in the book when the Nina is forced to confront some truths about her past, which Connor overhears and then for the rest of the book is pretty mild mannered and sweet. His behavior is also explained by a couple of other events in his own life that happen but I still wish it hadn’t been such a stark contrast in his behavior. The other reason I couldn’t give this book five stars is because I think the author could have done a better job in how she handled the job of stay at home moms. The last half of the book, being a stay at home mom is portrayed as something weak and negative. Nina did take things to the next level by pretty much being a servant for her family and just doing whatever her husband wanted all the time. Which I completely agree is a huge negative and she should have been a complete partner in her life with her husband. But a woman can have a job outside the home and still let her husband have complete control of the finances and be submissive to him. In fact, Nina was quite happy with her life, so had Finn not died she would have never been upset with how unbalanced their relationship was. Being a stay at home mom was never the problem, it was Nina allowing her husband to take complete control over their life and relationship.
Overall, The Art of Hiding, is a great story about a woman who finds the strength within herself to overcome the immense loss she is dealing with and really rises to the challenge. It is also a great story about a mom and her kids. I love how her kids really motivated her to be strong and keep it together, even when she just wanted to hide in bed.