Wednesday, July 29, 2015

No Place to Hide by Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis' No Place to Hide might be for readers of Jodi Picoult or Diane Chamberlain, as reviews said, but it's really for those who want a long, drawn-out novel leading to an explosive scene of tragic proportions.

Justine Cantrell flees from her home in England, taking little more than her four-year-old daughter, Lula. She changes her last name, and moves to Culver, Indiana because she remembers the town with fondness. It was the place of delightful vacations when Justine's grandmother lived there. Now, though, Justine is seeking a refuge. And, she's looking for her grandmother's house because her mother won't say anything about it, and the townspeople only give her funny stares when she mentions her family connection. It seems Justine isn't the only Cantrell with family secrets.

Lewis alternates chapters, shifting between locations and time periods, with Justine viewing her present life in Culver and remembering what appeared to be a charmed existence in Chipping Vale, England. It's those past memories that drove her to Culver where she's afraid someone will recognize her and reveal her identity and her secrets. At the same time, Justine can't leave behind her family connections, people she once loved.

Lewis develops her story carefully, perhaps too carefully. No Place to Hide is so leisurely paced that I only continued because I was reading it for a book review in a journal. Yes, the tragedy is horrendous. At the same time, many readers won't want to read over 200 pages to get to the climatic scene. Then, in the last one hundred pages, the author tries to reveal two family secrets and tie together two storylines. It's not easy to reach the conclusion in No Place to Hide.

Susan Lewis' website is

No Place to Hide by Susan Lewis. Ballantine Books. 2015. ISBN 9780345549556 (paperback), 432p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review it for a journal.

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