2013/12/26 by rmstrong1980
When Gwen Hillerman and her country-physician father were called to Anchorage, Alaska in early 1935, she had no idea how her life was going to change, just that it would. Gwen hated change. Change always came along with loss and heartache—most notably, the loss of Edith and Sophia, her mother and sister.
In Chicago, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan, has his life all in order. He is on the cutting edge of medicine, he is engaged to one Miss Sophia Hillerman, and all seems to be going well… until one fateful night. One fall down a flight of stairs sets in motion the disintegration of his life. Just as all hope seems lost, he gets a letter from his former mentor—the man who, he had always been told, abandoned his fiancée—to join him in Alaska for some wonderful adventures in frontier medicine. Without any other options, Jeremiah travels to the last frontier… carrying with him a devastating secret.
All Things Hidden (ebook format) was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Historical fiction is always tricky, but the authors did a good job. The historical elements of FDR’s New Deal project to move 200 families to Alaska are in their proper context. The authors incorporate historical and fictional characters well and properly. Both fictional and true elements are separated into their respective categories in both a forward and an afterward.
The story itself is quaint and somewhat believable. The book is written in third person omniscient, with three main points of view (hero, heroine, and villain), with a few minor characters’ POVs thrown in. Each new POV and jump in time is clearly marked, making it easy to understand whose head the reader is in. The villain’s POV is the most unique, with a different voice and vocabulary. The others, though, are harder to differentiate. The grandmother character is slightly unbelievable, in my opinion, but not horribly so. I was able to read the book in a few large chunks and in about six hours total.
With the exception of the villain, all main characters are Christian and the book is written from a blatantly, unapologetic Christian perspective.
The story, however, is predictable. For me, there were no surprise twists. (Enough that I mused that the book was poorly titled.) It was a plain-and-simple romance. I’m not particularly a fan of chick lit, but the historical fiction made the story more interesting than a simple fluffy romance.
The pre-release review copy I was given was the first I received from Bethany House Publishing. It was absolutely rife with conversion errors (errors that would not be present in a print copy, but come from creating the ebook from another format—probably PDF). This may not be the issue in the published ebook (release date, January 7, 2014), but if they have not fixed the issues, the book takes quite a lot of effort to get used to. Once my brain knew what was missing and was able to insert the missing characters (most noticeable, the double F—such as in off, office, Griffin, different, etc.), the reading was only slightly compromised.
All in all, if you like romance, All Things Hidden would be an enjoyable read. The writing, plot and historical aspect of it was enough to keep me—who is, as I said, not a fan of romance—reading.