When their beloved grandmother dies, siblings Sebastian and Elise find themselves suddenly alone. Fearing foster care and separation, the children seek refuge in their isolated woodland home, hoping the outside world will pass them by.
But the outside world is the least of their concerns. Nana May’s body still sits out in the garden, in the grasp of a summer heatwave. A malevolent figure stalks through the trees, waiting for nightfall. The household chores have yet to be done.
And what of the mystery surrounding the siblings’ abusive mother, who vanished without trace four years earlier?
In a place where secrets hang from every branch, Sebastian and Elise will discover that real life is no fairy tale.
The Hiding House by Malcolm Richards took me a little while to get into, but once I did, I was really drawn into Elise and Sebastian’s world!
The entire book has a kind of dreamlike state to it- although it seemed to be set in the real world, it was hard to pinpoint exactly which decade, and exactly where in the world. I couldn’t quite get my head around what I was reading- I think the fact that various parts of the narrative were very reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel and other fairy tales added to this, and make me expect certain things that didn’t actually happen. However what did happen certainly kept me entertained (though I got a little confused sometimes at the change from present to past narratives)!
The characters were likeable and interesting; I cared what happened to Sebastian and Elise and felt their intense fear at certain points. There were parts that were quite creepy and I was impressed at the way that the author used just the right amount of hyperbole and drama to create a menacing, threatening situation for both siblings.
I feel that Malcolm Richards has created a unique, atmospheric story in The Hiding House, which keeps the reader absorbed and, at times, guessing too!
Many thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review