The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli {book review}


The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli  ~ Mercy’s journals comfort Natalie from across the centuries as both women struggle with their own secrets and shame, wondering how deep God’s mercy extends.

There is darkness in this world, and as a writer who longs to bring truth into it, I can’t in good conscience ignore the darkness. I can, however, bring hope into it.  ~Heidi Chiavaroli

Summary:

New York, 2016
Natalie Abbott offers answers for hurting listeners on her popular radio program. But she struggles to connect with her teenagers, with her daughter in an unhealthy relationship and her son uncommunicative and isolated. When one member of the family commits an unspeakable act, Natalie is forced to uncover who she truly is under the façade of her radio persona.

New York, 1776
Mercy Howard is shocked when her fiancé, Nathan Hale, is arrested and hanged as a spy. When she’s asked to join the revolutionary spy ring in Manhattan, she sees an opportunity to avenge Nathan’s death. But keeping her true loyalties hidden grows increasingly harder as the charming Major John Andre of the King’s Army becomes more to her than a target for intelligence.

Mercy’s journals comfort Natalie from across the centuries as both women struggle with their own secrets and shame, wondering how deep God’s mercy extends.

My Reaction:

This is my first read by this author. I have looked forward to reading one of her books for some time. I love Christian historical fiction from the Revolutionary War period. I love historical fiction period. This is not simply a work of historical fiction. It is written from two time periods simultaneously, 225 years apart. I admit it was difficult for me to switch back and forth from 1776 to 2016 with a rather loose connection. It was like reading two separate books with three points of view.

My Rating:  I give this book three-stars because it meets my requirements of a good book. The characters and plot are well-developed, thought-provoking, emotional, clean, and it is faith-based. Yet something is missing. While the author did a laudable job of writing parallel stories, I would have connected more with only one.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

The Author:

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail. She writes Women’s Fiction and won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category.

Both her debut novel, “Freedom’s Ring” and her sophomore novel, “The Hidden Side” are Romantic Times Top Picks. “Freedom’s Ring” was also a BOOKLIST Top Ten Romance Debut, 2017.

What lessons or truths do you (Heidi) hope readers will take away from The Hidden Side?

That no matter what we try to conceal, even from ourselves, there is nothing that God can’t free us from. That the only place worth hiding is in Jesus. There, we don’t have to have it all together or pretend to be something we’re not. We don’t have to be afraid of rejection. He loves us perfectly and enough to do a good work in us—a real work that will draw us closer to Him and make us more like Him. That’s where our true identity resides.

This novel explores some devastating events and topics—a school shooting, the loss of loved ones, and division within and among families. Why did you choose to tackle these difficult issues?

There is darkness in this world, and as a writer who longs to bring truth into it, I can’t in good conscience ignore the darkness. I can, however, bring hope into it. The funny thing about hope and good news is that it shines more brightly in the darkness.

So when I write about a bombing or a historical war, when I write about the unspeakable actions of a family member or a heart torn apart by addiction and suffering, in part, it is what I relate to. It’s where despair tends to trip me up in this messy, broken world. BUT there is hope. And that is where I choose to cling, and it is this message that burns in my heart to bring forth to my readers.

She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle. Visit her online at heidichiavaroli.com.

Right now, she’s finishing up some research for her third book with Tyndale, scheduled to release in 2020, in revolutionary and contemporary Boston.

To learn more about the author and her books, visit her website at heidichiavaroli.com, her Twitter account, her Goodreads page, her Pinterest boards, her Facebook page.

Thank you, Heidi, for your hard work in writing this difficult story, and may God bless your future writings!

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