The Hiding Place is the third novel I’ve read by Jenny Quintana. Looking at my ratings and reviews, my appreciation of her books is pretty consistent. I enjoy them and usually read them in a sitting.
I notice I’ve commented before on the pacing or found their conclusions unsatisfying however, and it was the same here.
It was only when I was in bed after I’d finished reading, that certain factors played on my mind. If you’ve read the book you might also have wondered about Connie’s luggage including the letter from her lover. Why did Quintana make the current tenant of flat one so elusive and felt like an unfollowed thread? And why did Marina try to talk to everyone but Mrs Hyde?
Of course the fact I was pondering it hours after closing the book is probably also a good thing.The Hiding Place
by Jenny Quintana
Published by Mantle
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
Marina is adopted. She’s always known this – but the circumstances of her birth remain a mystery. Baby Blue, the newspapers nicknamed her at the time, after she’d been found wrapped in a blue shawl, in the hallway of a large, shared house in London.
24 Harrington Gardens. That was the house. And it’s still standing now Marina is an adult; still split into flats. And one of them is to let . . .
Of course, Marina knows that the chances of her uncovering the truth about her birth are remote – but she hopes the house might hold some clues.
What if it’s not just the house, though? What if someone connected to it knows what really happened that day? Someone who doesn’t want the truth to come to light?
I was disappointed initially that [the identity of] Marina’s mother seemed very obvious. We meet 27 year old Marina in 1991 (the present) and then we’re introduced to Connie in 1964, a 17yr old who thinks she’s pregnant to her neighbour (Johnny) who’s gone to Paris.
Connie’s likeable but frustratingly naive. She comments on Johnny’s lack of interest in her life, guilelessly tells us she hocked her dead mother’s jewellery to help pay for his fare to Paris and is now worried because he’s not been in contact in months. Yet, she seemingly believes he’ll accept, even welcome, news of a potential pregnancy. If she can find him.
The blurb implies there’s something dangerous in the present so, though it felt predictable, I kept reading assuming there’d be a twist. After all, we meet a young man (about Marina’s age) living in the basement in the present, as well as Eva who joins Connie and Marina as a narrator part-way through the novel. It gave me hope that the mystery of Marina’s mother wasn’t quite as obvious as I feared, or that Connie’s offspring may not have (in fact) been Marina.
The owner of the house (then and now) is a bank robber who spent years in jail and almost-certainly double-crossed his partners, so there’s a smidge of menace but ultimately this book left me somewhat unfulfilled.
I’m conscious that may partially have been planned by Quintana on purpose. Rather than being an edge-of-the-seat read, there’s something upsetting, almost devastating about what happens and perhaps my disappointment is a reminder that life isn’t always fair.
The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana was published in Australia by Pan Macmillan and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.