Thank you to Savvy Reader for including Reading In Winter on the Hidden Blog Tour! Catherine McKenzie is one of my favourite Canadian authors and one who I recommend to everyone I meet! You can start reading the story on Catherine’s Facebook page — the more likes she gets, the more she reveals of the story! Check that out here!
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Date(s) read: November 10, 2012
Source: HarperCollins Canada & Savvy Reader / Book Tour (ARC)
When a married man suffers a sudden fatal accident, two women are shattered—his wife and someone else’s—and past secrets, desires and regrets are brought to light.
While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Not one but two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son and contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother—her ex-boyfriend—Tim.
With Tish’s co-workers in the dark about her connection to Jeff outside the workplace, she volunteers to attend the funeral on the company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life. Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, our personal choices and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.
Thank you to Savvy Reader and HarperCollins Canada for sending me an ARC of this book!
Being a Canadian, I am always on the lookout for my next favourite Canadian author. When I first found out about Catherine McKenzie, I was thrilled. Her books had the perfect blend of seriousness and chick lit that I just ate up — it was nice to find something that was a light, easy read, but something that still had some substance to it.
Hidden is very much a departure from her previous works. Bordering more on the serious and not so much on the lighter fare of chick lit, it’s a story about grief and how different people deal with it. It’s the aftermath of losing someone you love, whether you were that person’s family … or someone else.
I really liked how even though this was a different kind of work from Catherine’s other offerings, it was still easy to get into and still very much Catherine McKenzie. Her characters are such real characters, going through real emotions that the reader can relate to. It’s heartbreaking at times, but completely worth the whirlwind of emotions you might feel reading the story.
The only slightly jarring thing for me was the inclusion of Jeff’s voice. At the beginning, I thought it was strange to hear the story from the guy who died (not a spoiler … It’s on the back of the book), but by the end of the story, I understood why his voice was there. While it’s a story about the aftermath of his death, there are so many things that went on prior to his death, those hidden things, that needed to be told. It was crucial that his voice was heard.
If you’re a huge fan of Catherine’s previous offerings, you’ll really like this one, but it is quite different from her other stories. Still, Catherine is a great storyteller and a Canadian author I’ll be recommending for a long time!
Q&A with Catherine McKenzie
1. Why did you become a writer? What (or who) inspired you to do what you do?
I don’t think I made a choice to become a writer, I’ve always just written. As to writing novels, finally buckling down and do it, I had an idea in my head that I couldn’t get rid of. So I guess it was whatever put the idea in my head.
2. What is the atmosphere like when you write – completely silent, or do you listen to music?
It depends on where I am in the writing process but for writing I need music or the TV on and for editing generally silence, particularly copy-editing.
3. I’m a musician and I feel most inspired to write in the springtime. Is there a certain season when you feel most compelled to put pen to paper?
Not a certain season, but definitely certain weather. Sitting in a sunbeam at my dining room table (or anywhere else) is great for me.
4. What book are you reading right now?
Meg Wait Clayton’s The Wednesday Sisters (as part of my 52 books in 52 weeks project). But also: check out The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison; it’s awesome.
5. I love being a Canadian, especially getting to travel and see the beauty of the country. Do you have any favourite Canadian spots?
I love being Canadian too! Favourite spots include my home town, Montreal, anywhere on the water, the Rockies and Victoria, B.C.
6. When you’re not writing, what do you do in your spare time?
I watch a lot of TV. A lot.
7. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write. Write. Write. Just write.
8. Can you share any details on what you might be working on next? Any exciting projects in the works?
Unfortunately, I’m too early in the process on anything to share it, but I’ll let you know!
About the Author
Catherine McKenzie was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. A graduate of McGill University and McGill Law School, Catherine practices law in Montreal. An avid runner and skier, she’s the author of the international bestsellers SPIN, ARRANGED and FORGOTTEN. Her fourth novel, HIDDEN, will be published in June, 2013