Disclosure: I received the following book for review purposes only. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from others as well as those of the author and publisher.
When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.
After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.
Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.
Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.
When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.
Lauren Denton is a wonderful writer, so much so that I never would have known that this is her first book. It was well written, developed, and realistic. The characters are well developed and relatable. The book is told from two different points of view and two different time frames. One of Sara and the other of her grandmother. Now, this is usually a small throw for me because it can be hard to keep track. However, Denton did a great job at not letting things jumble up. The two stories are woven together in a natural, effortless way.
I really enjoyed the story and felt that it offered a steady pace and some twists, most of which were unpredictable. It was a relaxing book that was easy to read. I loved being able to pickup this read and get lost in a whole new world. I can’t wait for Denton’s next read!
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Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren now lives with her husband and two young daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. The Hideaway is her first novel.