Lauren K. Denton
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“A story both powerful and enchanting: a don’t-miss novel in the greatest southern traditions of storytelling.” —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author
When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever knew 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 The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering her grandmother’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 drywall 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 her grandmother’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.
“Two endearing heroines and their poignant storylines of love lost and found make this the perfect book for an afternoon on the back porch with a glass of sweet tea.” —Karen White, New York Times bestselling author
A Southern novel!
The Hideaway is a debut novel by Lauren K. Denton. Sara Jenkins lives in New Orleans where she owns her own shop called Bits and Pieces. She gets a call from her grandmother’s attorney asking her to contact him. Later that day Sara calls Vernon Bains, the lawyer and discovers that her eccentric and fun loving grandmother, Mags passed away. Sara was raised by Mags after her parents passed away in a car accident. She was raised at Mags’ bed and breakfast, The Hideaway along with the guests that checked in, but never checked out. Sara leaves the shop in the care of Allyn, her trusty assistant, and heads back to Sweet Bay, Alabama (three hours away). When the will is read, Sara finds out that she has been left The Hideaway, a bed and breakfast, along with funds to restore it. Her grandmother’s wish was for Sara to restore The Hideaway. Sara is reluctant to stay in Sweet Bay for that length of time, but she feels a pull to the home. As Sara starts going through the house, she finds a box in the attic. It contains mementos belonging to her grandmother, Margaret Van Buren (aka Mags). Mags had wanted to share her story with Sara, but she died before she could accomplish the task. Mags’ friends (the permanent guests of The Hideaway) along with the possessions in the box, Sara starts to piece together her grandmother’s past. Mags was not always the flamboyant free spirit that Sara knew and loved. Sara discovers that she is enjoying staying in Sweet Bay, but then Sammy Grosvenor threatens The Hideaway. Sammy has been trying to buy the land for years to develop it and Mags refused to sell. Now Sammy has found another way to accomplish his goal. Can Sara find a way to save this special house or will she return to her life in New Orleans?
The Hideaway is a sweet novel that I enjoyed reading. I found it well-written, contained a good setting, and had a good pace. There are a variety of quirky characters that enhance the book and go along with the Southern charm and setting. The book is written with alternating chapters. We are in the present with Sara’s story and then in the past with Mags’. I give The Hideaway 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). While The Hideaway is released by a Christian publisher, it is not a true Christian novel. There is no foul language or explicit sex scenes (thank heavens), but there is adultery. Religion is not a factor in this story. I appreciated the author’s descriptive writing that made the setting and characters come to life. Ms. Denton also did a good job with mingling the past and the present. There is the requisite romance in the story between Sara and the contractor (Crawford) she hired to restore The Hideaway. I did feel that the book was just a little too long and there were a couple of slow, meandering spots. The end was a bit rushed with some strange details (I was say but then it would be a spoiler). Otherwise, I enjoyed Lauren K. Denton’s debut novel The Hideaway. The Hideaway is a charming novel that readers can enjoy on a slow, summer afternoon with a glass of cold, sweet tea.