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THE HIDEAWAY: A First Novel ~Lauren K. Denton

Monday, April 17th, 2017

THE HIDEAWAY turned out to be a hard story for me to review.  I need to start with my disclaimer:  I worked in Alabama for a short period of time.  I was never in my life treated as rudely by the people of Alabama in my entire life.  I met several amazing women and lawyers while I was there, and I left with lasting memories of heat, sweat and unhappy human beings – I will never forget and this story was about some of those kinds of people.

We have a sweet Southern story about a lovely retreat location called Sweet Bay.  THE HIDEAWAY is two love stories, one from long ago; you know, the 1960s and one more contemporary.  It is the perfect beach read and the author loves reading at the beach.  She knows her locations.  The read is slow, interesting and well paced for a leisurely afternoon.  The early characters are charming and a bit rebellious; they are developed throughout the whole read as the stories go from Grandmother to Granddaughter chapter to chapter.

“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.”

Maggie was a good Southern white girl and she married for money and then found out that her charming spouse was sleeping around.  After three years of this kind of abuse she packs her car and leaves for somewhere else and discovers THE HIDEAWAY.  There she discovers her work in caring for the house and the B & B tenants, who are primarily artists.  The house is losing money for the owner who leaves it to Maggie in a whirlwind departure.  Maggie falls in love with a woodworker who builds furniture.  She is loyal to the end of her life to her love and THE HIDEAWAY.

Sara lives with her Grandmother Maggie but does not appreciate her differences and her unique rebellious nature.  She discovers her Grandmother’s truth as she spruces up THE HIDEAWAY leaving her home decorating business to a friend’s care in New Orleans.  She falls in love with a carpenter.  Lots of wood and tree descriptions fill the story and the reader wonders casually about the synchronicity or the symbolism wrapped up in the “beauty” of it all.

TLC Book Tours  sent an advanced copy of THE HIDEAWAY for review.  It was an early PDF copy and it needed more editing.  My favorite blooper in the copy I received – made me laugh out loud!

“Mitch sat in the chair next to me, emptied when the previous occupant excused himself to go to the ladies’ room.”

I did not care for the main contemporary character – Sara.  She did not have the spunk or charisma of her Grandmother and she was just so sweet she nearly dripped with her charm.  She could not really connect with her Grandmother and did not try – though she appeared to like her and phoned her to check in sometimes – she feels entitled.  Sara is totally dependent on the males in her life to make decisions except about furniture and remodeling.  She has no depth perception – not a clue.  Everyone needed to help her right to the end.  I am sure she voted against women on her ballot; Sara needed men.  I know several folks who will like this book very much, I on the other hand was happy to come to the last page of THE HIDEAWAY

Lauren K. Denton:

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two 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.

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Everything We Keep
Where We Fall
My Sweet Vidalia

The Smartest Woman I Know ~Ilene Beckerman

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011


This is a wisdom story about love and living your best life by trusting what you get.

It is a short read and it made me laugh and cry.  The illustrations match the words and also make you laugh until you cry.  I have read this book 4 times it is so delightful.  The best time was when I made myself a cup a tea and sat by the fire.

A 76 year old grandmother writes about the woman, her Grandmother, who took her into her home at age 12 when she became an orphan.  Took care of her older sister also and guided these two young women in the ways of the world with a spoonful of wisdom served up at the Stationary Store in Madison Ave. New York City.

Need to diet, you will find the answer here.   Work 7 days a week and still need to put supper on the table for everyone; always take a cab?  Your own bathroom is best.

Now add an Eastside accent and Jewish to the picture and you know you are going to want to give this book to every smart woman you know this holiday season.   It is the pearls.

Ilene Beckerman also wrote Love, Loss, and What I Wore, which Nora and Delia Ephron developed into a successful Off- Broadway play.  The New York Times said, “Illuminates the experience of an entire generation of women…This small gem of a book is worthy of a Tiffany box.”

I am sure you know someone who would love to receive a copy of this delight.  The TLC online book tours know it too…so they have arranged with the author and Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill to give away three copies for each review….Yep 3.
What you need to do to get a free copy is to tell me a short story about the smartest woman you know – or your grandmother – in the comments section below.  I am asking the Grandmother’s who live on either side of my house to pick the winners – one owned a bookstore and the other taught piano students for 50 years.   Hard core readers they are!

We make our selection for Halloween 2011.    You can do it!  Link this review up and tweet and Facebook and Stumbleupon….LinkedIn….I promise you will not be disappointed.

The Smartest Woman I Know

Love, Loss, and What I Wore

If you purchase anything from Amazon I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Related Reading:
Hannah Coulter
To Be Of Use
The Long Goodbye
The Man of My Dreams