Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Review: The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar

From Goodreads:
Hannah Riley and her musician husband, Will, hope that a move to the countryside will provide a fresh start. Hannah is desperate for a baby, and she hopes that this new life will allow her to realize her dream of adopting a child . . . and revitalize her marriage. 
Yet when the worst snowstorm in years comes to Suffolk, Will is working in London and Hannah is cut off in their remote village, obsessively scrambling to turn the tumbledown manor into the perfect refuge for a child. 
Life in Tornley proves to be far from idyllic, however. Hannah has spent her professional life doing the right thing for other people. As she starts to uncover a terrible crime, she realizes she can no longer do that without putting everything she's ever wanted at risk. But if Hannah does nothing, the next victim could be her . . .
 Again with the Gone Girl cover rip-off?  This is the second (click here to see the first) domestic suspense/thriller I've read that just blatantly goes for the Gone Girl look.  It kind of aggravates me because this book could really stand on its own.  It's well done (which I'll get into below) and only vaguely reminiscent of Gone Girl.  The rip off cover is totally unnecessary.

This is genre work, but it's well-done genre work.  I read Millar's Accidents Happen last summer and I was excited to see this one come out given how much I enjoyed the first.  Once again, Millar does a great job of building slow, psychological suspense.  The horror elements all take place in the mind, delivering a fantastically unreliable narrator (the one element resembling Gone Girl).  I really enjoyed the interspersing of Hannah and Will's backstory with the drama of the present.

Entertainment Value
Loved it!  I was completely captivated by the story and by Hannah and Will's emotional experiences surrounding the adoption of a child.  I had some inklings about the mysterious happenings before the big reveal at the end, but it honestly didn't have any effect on my enjoyment of the story.  If you're a fan of the domestic suspense/thriller genre, you really need to give Millar's books a try.  They're fun and easy reads and completely engrossing.

My one small quibble is with Hannah's relationship with Will.  I don't want to reveal anything spoilery, but I felt like he had some really questionable character qualities.  In the end, however, I think Millar did a good job of showing how real couples work out difficulties.

I highly recommend that you give this one a try if you're a fan of the genre.  It's dark, but not as dark as Gillian Flynn's books.  Still, it provides some edge of your seat moments and some back and forth-ing on whether or not our narrator is in her right mind, which always makes for a fun read.  In terms of violence, gore, and general discomfort, this is a rather easy read.  If you're hesitant to read Flynn because of the graphic nature of the writing, this might be an alternative.  That said, there is some violence, and the vague discussion (not depiction) of sexual violence that might bother some readers.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.


  1. This does sound good. But I'm so tired of Gone Girl comparisons too!!

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