Book Critique: Hideaway

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Strong familial values are showed doesn’t matter you are a rancher or a rich star; support; friendship; give and take freely with emotions; despite a few clichés thrown here and there. Overall comes out as a good book to read.

Hideaway is the 83rd stand-alone novel by Nora Roberts published in May of 2020. The central plot revolves around - Caitlyn "Cate" Ryan Sullivan - a voice-over artist - and her mother, Charlotte Dupont - a washed-out actress - and a plethora of other characters that change their lives.

Caitlyn "Cate" Ryan Sullivan returns to Los Angeles, to her roots in acting, and get past the trauma she had endured and survived as a child, when she was a famous child artiste and kidnapped for a ransom. However nothing prepares her for the past to be thrown at her face and new perils added to it. Dillon James Cooper comes to her aid just like he had unexpectedly done so long ago when they were merely kids. But now both are pulled into a plot of revenge and retribution set in motion on that fateful night years ago.

Typical with all of her characters Cate and Dillon both are strong and determined in nature. Although their paths cross each other over the years, they don’t converge until a little over half the book. Nora makes them go through a series of ups and downs before they find each other. 

Cate is the star here who is out of reach for a normal person but comes with loads of goodness and understanding in her. And Dillon is the down to earth rancher boy who simply captivates one's heart from the very beginning of the plot. 

She designs a plot around two different sets of characters living in two different worlds - one in show business and the other in ranching. Nora gives justice with both worlds to the readers by showing us in painstaking details how people in both worlds live. And very subtly she draws a thread between them getting them closer and closer together into one unit as the book progresses. 

She gives us romance; makes us laugh; shed some tears; a mystery and stalking; all keeping us up and hooking to the book. However, it does come with a few flaws. It was easy to figure out one of the antagonist in the very first chapter itself, even if no as an antagonist by then, but at least as one of the bad person who would turn the tide of the plot. 

Nora took us into the story really well just like her books that she used to write prior to 2009 - filled with emotions, an intense plot and above all some really strong characters. I was happy to see Nora back in action for the first few chapters. 

Another flaw is the entire Part 2 felt like someone else had written it. Although the plot flows through keeping it connected to Part 1 and Part 3, the writing style felt someone else's hand. Either Nora's understudy might have written it and they just simply plugged it in; or Nora was simply careless in that part.

Nora again has her plot divided into major sections with a page-insert giving a title to that section and quotes giving an idea what the readers might expect in each section - Part 1 Innocent;  Part 2 The Next Turn; Part 3 Tending Roots; and Pat 4 Love, Dark And Bright. Pretty much all her books lately have been having this format. 

With so many books that Nora has written between stand-alone, series versions and novellas, there would be bound for the plots, or at least part of them to be repeated. As I was reading this book, it reminded me of two of Nora's past books - her 1990 Public Secrets and 1999 River's End. Both books dealing with some sort of show business and crime attached to it. 

The book felt a lot like a family saga with romance added to it and mystery surrounding both. Strong familial values are showed doesn’t matter you are a rancher or a rich star; support; friendship; give and take freely with emotions; despite a few clichés thrown here and there. Overall comes out as a good book to read, but still looking for that Nora from the past. May be this is a new Nora that I need to be satisfied with.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Book Trivia and Plot Reveals:

a. Antagonists - Frank Denby; Grant Sparks; Jessica A. Rowe, a lawyer; 

b. Sullivan Family:

i. Liam Sullivan, a Hollywood legend, his wife Rosemary, their two kids - a son Hugh, a daughter Maureen & her husband Harry.

ii. Hugh has a child, Aidan, from his first wife, Olivia Dunn, who dies in a plane crash; his second wife is Lily Morrow; their other kids - Miranda & her husband Jack; Keenan; Josh

iii. Aidan's ex-wife Charlotte Dupont, and daughter Caitlyn "Cate" Ryan Sullivan.

iv. Cate's cousins - Boyd; Ava; Circi; Mallory; Flynn; Miri; 

v. Sullivan family help - Nina Torez, Cate's Nanny, & her husband Rob; Maria , Circi's nanny; Susan; Consuela.

c. Cooper Family - Dillon James Cooper; his mother Julia Cooper; grandmother Maggie Hudson; Red Buckman, ex-sheriff & Maggie's lover; his dogs Gambit, Jubilee, Stark, Natasha; horse Beamer.

d. Other Friends - Darlie Maddigan, an actress, & her son Luke; Leo, Hailey & their new born Grace; Dave & Tricia; 

e. Law Enforcement - Sheriff Michaela Lee Wilson; Detective Riley; Detective Wasserman;

f. Food, Media, Books referenced in the plot:

i. Soda Bread - Cate makes this often in the book. I found an easy recipe to make it. Will have to try one of these days.

ii. Cate serves Mexican Food to Dillon along with Negra Modelo, a Mexican beer. And adds to my craving for Mexican food. 

iii. Cate makes Irish Bread and Butter Pudding, another item that intrigued me. Found an easy recipe and I tried it as well. Surprisingly it turned out pretty good.

iv. Bellini Cocktails (Recipe here.) and Mimosas (Recipe here) in the plot made me want one.

v. Movies & Music - Blues Brothers; Footloose; The Great Escape; Tom Perry's I Won't Back Down;

2. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. The male hero in the book is Dillon James Cooper. However, the blurb on the book jacket names him as Callan Cooper.

b. At the time of kidnapping Dillon is shown as 12 years old. Again the blurb on the book jacket calls him a teenager.

c. All through the book one of the characters Miranda is mentioned along-side Jack which made me assume he is her husband. But on Pg. 158, Nora mentions "Josh & Miranda". Wonder if Jack was misnamed as Josh here cause we don’t hear or see Josh anywhere again in the book. 

d. When introducing his friends, all Dillon mentions that Hailey was teaching fifth grade and that he knows Leo, Hailey and Dave since they were kids but not which grade. However a few lines later Nora has Cate musing about Dillon and his friends being friends since fifth grade. 


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