Original Books

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Hidden Places by Lynn Austin

Eliza Wyatt does not believe in prayer anymore. Not since her husband died of tetanus and her father-in-law died of a heart attack, leaving her and her three children helpless during the Great Depression with debts they have no money to pay. But when two people invite themselves into Eliza's life-her old aunt Batty and an injured hobo-things begin to change for the better. Even so, Eliza does not open up or let anyone into her heart, even though she's falling in love with the hobo. There are still many unanswered questions that she desperately wants answers for, but sometimes answers can be found in the past. Eliza embarks on a journey into her family's past with Aunt Batty, who seems to know more than she lets on.

Hidden Places

is another one of Lynn Austin's historical epics that traces the strands of a complicated family web. Lynn intertwines each character's past with the present plot to make for an interesting read. Even though the present plot is a fairly typical story, Lynn Austin made the plot as good as it could have been by deeply developing each character and their past. However, she once again falls short of the five star rating.

Eliza, Batty, the hobo, and several other characters in the past are all good characters with personalities. These developments are aided only by the past subplots. Without these, this book would be a run-of-the-mill historical novel. There are no perfect characters, even with the presence of a mysterious male lead. Just because an author is going to write a typical plot does not mean that they should ditch character development. I believe Lynn Austin understands this, which causes her to stand out among other female authors she is often placed with. Characters should be developed above all else, despite what type of plot one is writing.

Lynn masks her weakness of writing typical plots by creating intricate pasts for each character, which she does again in Hidden Places. Many realistic events occur in the pasts of each character, which serve to jack up the book's rating. There is an angel theme throughout the book that is used correctly and not extravagantly and serves to keep things interesting. The end of the book is what really ruins this book's chances at a five star. Even though one unexpected event happens regarding the hobo, there is much tidying up in other areas. As I said before, without the three hundred pages Lynn Austin's hard work adds to this book, this novel is nothing special.

Lynn Austin is a true author because she actually writes her own plots rather than borrow ideas from other authors. She may never write that five star novel she has the potential to write, but at least her work is refreshing and reflects her hard work.

4.5 stars

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