Friday, April 12, 2013

Hidden in the Heart by Catherine West

It took me about 50 pages to get into this book but after that, it was a compelling novel.

Claire is a young wife who had just lost her (adoptive) mother and then, a few months later, experienced a miscarriage. Overwhelmed, she turns to alcohol and prescription drugs. Knowing she is adopted she wants to find her birth mother. She is afraid there might be a genetic cause to her miscarriage that would make a disaster at further attempts to have a child. Claire's adoptive father refuses to help her. Her loving but frustrated husband is loosing his patience. He can't understand why she just doesn't move on. And then Claire finds a clue, a name written on the back of a paper in the file her father kept on the
adoption. As she makes plans to follow the clue, she realizes she is terrified her mother may not want to be found.

I was not adopted and I have no idea what that must mean to a person. Catherine clearly takes the reader in with Claire as she experiences the agony of not knowing and then the agony when she begins to uncover the truth.
Catherine shares in her Author's Note that this book is loosely based on her own experience of adoption and then searching for her birth family. As with Claire's experience in the novel, not everything worked out as Catherine had hoped.

This is a compelling novel. It was amazing to read how God worked through people and experiences to heal Claire, on so many levels. When you get towards the end, be sure to have a tissue handy.

Catherine has a way with words. Here are a couple of quotes so you can see what I mean. Speaking of Claire's pain: “Anger, pain, and stubbornness pitched a tent and demanded she camp out with them.” (48) And when Claire finds the ugly truth about her birth and adoption: “She'd released the deadbolt and opened the door to the past, and they all had to walk through it. Whether they wanted to or not.” (163)

Questions for Reflection and Discussion have been added so this would be a good choice for a reading group.

Read an excerpt here.

Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing.Her first novel, Yesterday's Tomorrow, was released in 2011 and won the INSPY for Romance, a Silver Medal in the Reader's Favorite Awards, and was a finalist in the Grace Awards. She and her husband live in Bermuda and have two college aged children. Find out more at

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book. You can find other reviews here.

Oak Tara, 248 pages. Buy the book here.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from a publicity group for the purpose of this review.

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