Book: Hid From Our Eyes
Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming
Source: NetGalley, e-book
I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
First, if you’re waiting for this book to come out and you haven’t re-read “One was a Soldier”, do that. I wish I had. You will easily fall back into the themes and plot of the book, but a refresher on all the threads that get picked up from the last book will not go amiss. Trust me.
I forgot how much I loved the writing of these books. The themes of the police work interspersed with the theological ruminations of the churchwork are finely parsed and dovetail nicely. Without spoilers, this book seems a little more focused on Russ and I found myself missing Clare. She has moments alone, where the reader is let into her interior world, but it was a lot of Russ and other characters. Not that I minded, but I think I remembered more Clare perspective? Like I said, since it had been a while, I should have refreshed myself.
There are several intertwined plots in the book and subplots. At least three romantic relationships in various stages, flashbacks to two different historical times plus the present, interior reflection of Russ, Clare, and at least one other person, and activity at the church, in the community, and in the police department- you won’t necessarily need a flowchart, but the book moves quickly and the writing is as compelling as ever.
I found the main plot and its resolution satisfactory, for the most part. There is an introduction of a secondary character (Joni) whose plot resolution seemed rushed to me. Of course she isn’t central enough to get significant attention at the end, but I was surprised by what happened with that story arc and left a little wanting. Of course, she may appear again.
The baby is in this book, but is definitely a plot moppet. Clare and Russ are happy with him and the struggles about caring for a child are real, but the appearances of the baby and what they do with him don’t quite feel natural. Of course, they’re still learning to be parents and maybe I was still learning to view them as parents.
Do read the afterward. In it, Spencer-Fleming reveals why it was so long between books. (I didn’t realize it had been 6 years.) She’s been through a lot and that she could continue at all is good on her.
I was thrilled to see this book coming out, glad to get an early copy, and I encourage anyone who has enjoyed this series to go ahead and pre-order or buy the book when it comes out. We all need a little pick-me-up right now.