All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Hideaway by Sheila O’Flanagan

on June 21, 2018

The Hideaway
Sheila O’Flanagan
Headline Review
2018, 432p
Copy courtesy of Hachette AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

What would you do if you discovered you were living a lie?

When a shocking news report shatters Juno Ryan’s world, she suddenly finds herself without the man she loves – and with no way of getting the answers she so desperately needs.

A distraught Juno flees to the enchanting Villa Naranja in Spain. The blue skies and bountiful orange groves – along with Pep, the winemaker’s handsome son – begin to soothe her broken heart, but only Juno herself can mend it.

Just when she begins to feel whole again another bombshell falls. Can Juno put the past behind her? And will she ever learn to trust herself again?

I have read a few Sheila O’Flanagan books but it’d be quite a while ago now. My grandmother is quite a big fan and buys her books when they come out, a few of which she’s passed onto me. This is the first one I’ve read in a long time and I really enjoyed it.

Juno is in a very bad way. She’s been hit with not only a devastating loss out of no where but then a betrayal that she never saw coming. She finds herself struggling to do her job at work, breaking down at the most inopportune times. Her work places her on unpaid leave and friend offers her several weeks of rest and relaxation at her grandmother’s place in Spain. It’s mostly sitting empty, unable to be sold because it’s a little too far from the ocean for summer holiday home.

Juno arrives bravely in the dead of night, settling herself in, musing at the slight spookiness of it all. As the only practical one in a family of dramatic and theatrical people she’s not usually given to flights of fancy but she can’t help wondering about the possibility of ghosts in her neglected holiday home. By daylight it’s not quite so spooky although it’s looking a little dated and never good at being idle, Juno finds herself mending shutters and painting walls to freshen it up a little.

Juno’s world is so rocked when she arrives in Spain, she isn’t sure she can really see a way forward. She was expecting her life to go one way and that’s been completely turned upside down, not just in one way but in two. I think it would be tempting to hole up at the villa, to just wallow but Juno makes an effort in the local community and quickly becomes a subject of interest. A foreigner, staying all alone apart from a young, handsome pool cleaner who visits regularly. Juno is mostly amused as she joins in the local festivities and a little bewildered. I think she’s long thought of herself as the forgotten member of her family – a later in life baby for her mother, sensible and practical, not quite as given to the drama as various members of her family. She’s not sure why she drums up so much interest and doesn’t see herself as doing anything unusual.

I absolutely adored the setting of this book. The Villa Naranja sounded so enchanting – it’s not right on the coast like a large array of holiday and resort towns but situated a little further inland, among wine country and with its own orange grove. It needed a little TLC, it’s owner having died and the rest of the family not able to visit it often but it’s the perfect setting for Juno to come to terms with her loss and decide how to move forward with her life. I absolutely loved the character of Banquo too, a source of great comfort to Juno and the twist regarding Banquo was very sweet and unexpected.

There’s a small element of romance in this, it’s more a suggestion and I’m in two minds about it. I love the character and I love them together, I just feel as though it was slightly awkward, given who he is and the people it would bring Juno into contact with in the future. But mostly this book is about Juno herself, making her way through this horrible tragic event that is both hers and not hers to grieve over and dealing with it and then learning to move forward. I think Juno also learns a lot about herself during this process as well, the things that she’s capable of and I was really into that whole part of the story. The focus is so much on Juno’s strength as a person, but also her weaknesses as well. Her grief is so raw in the beginning and although she isn’t completely ‘healed’ at the end, you can tell where her life is going and it’s a very positive and uplifting direction.

This was a really engrossing read – the warmth of the setting helped take my mind off the depressing winter weather I’m currently experiencing and it’s definitely made me keen to read Sheila O’Flanagan’s books more often and not leave it so long until the next one!

8/10

Book #106 of 2018

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One response to “Review: The Hideaway by Sheila O’Flanagan

  1. I used to read all of Sheila O’Flanagan’s books. I still love her, despite not reading them as often. I’m pretty sure I bought this a couple of weeks ago…I know, how ridiculous to not really know! I’ll check my pile of recents! It sounds great!

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