The Hidden by Melanie Golding

Posted On 2 November 2021

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My Five Word TL:DR Review : Even better than the first

The Hidden

So, Little Darlings was (I think) Melanie Golding’s debut and it absolutely caught my imagination with it’s compelling and strange blend of mystery and dark magical realism.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, the writing was excellent, the story was tense and creepy, and Golding excels at relationships and mental anguish.  As you might imagine when I saw that Golding’s next novel took inspiration from selkie mythology to say I was bouncing up and down with excitement is something of an understatement.  I had a serious case of ‘grabby hands’ for this book and I can start this review by saying not only did this exceed my expectations but it also wowed me even more than the first.  I can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next.

The Hidden is a wonderful collection of threads that come together in quite possibly the most satisfying way I’ve read for a while.  We begin the story with a little girl lost, or abandoned, in a small seaside village.  We have a man found in his flat, suspected dead.  Meanwhile, we read of a woman who seems to abandon life by running out into the sea and yet another woman who races against time to an unknown destination.  Now, all these events take place fairly early on in the story but at this point I don’t want to give anything more of the plot away.  Instead, I will talk about the characters, the writing and the overall feel of the book.

Funnily enough we have a character making a return appearance in this book.  DS Joanna Harper is looking into the investigation involving the man left for dead in the bath of his flat.  I would point out for readers that you don’t need to read the first book in order to read this one – although I did like the character and was very happy to read more about her (and I would certainly encourage you to pick up Little Darlings).  The man in the bath is called Gregor who appears to be a serious young businessman who keeps himself to himself, however, DS Harper’s investigation soon begins to uncover things that indicate that Gregor did not live alone but had a wife and daughter, both now missing.  Finally, we have a young woman, estranged from her family, lonely and isolated and desperate for friendship.  (I can’t help wondering whether Joanna will make further appearances. in a series of thrillers that take inspiration from the supernatural – please let it be so).

I confess that having started this review with no wish to give away spoilers I find myself in the difficult position of not wanting to delve too deeply into the characters. What I will say instead is this book contains strong family themes as well as domestic violence (both physical and mental – not gratuitous at all) . It takes a look at possible mental illness and delusion.  We have a seriously nasty character among the pages here who is an intensely plausible sociopath of despicable proportions who has no compunction about taking the life of others. Okay, I will say no more about the characters.  My lips are sealed.

The writing.  I just loved it.  Golding has the ability to create both atmosphere and tension to such an extent that I found myself sitting bolt upright on the chair at certain points.  I was literally gripped as she delivered the kind of fear that compels you to shout at the characters as you fear for their safety.  On top of this she’s taken an ancient myth and created a contemporary thriller that is not only satisfying in terms of the mystery and police elements but at the same time delivers a real sense of authenticity in terms of the original stories.  She treads a fine line between ‘did that really happen or did I imagine it’ that I think will appeal to readers of both crime and fantasy.  I hesitate to say this (because I don’t love comparisons as a rule) but in some respects her style is reminiscent of a strange cross between DuMaurier and King because of her ability to conjure credible characters and heart pounding fear.  (To be clear, I’m not comparing this to any of the above mentioned authors’ works – just a certain flair here and there that really caught me by surprise in the most satisfying way and brought them to mind).

Put simply, this was an excellent read that grabbed my attention from the first few pages and from there kept me glued to the book into the early hours of the morning.  I’m not sure I can really do this justice, all I can hope is that I’ve given you a brief teaser of what’s contained within, enough to convince you to give it a shot.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 stars

Wondrous Words and Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Hidden by Melanie Golding

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Hidden by Melanie Golding.  I loved Little Darlings and so have been waiting to see what the author would come up with next and The Hidden has an excellent description:

Melanie Golding’s newest folkloric suspense is a spine-tingling twist on Celtic mythology.

One dark December night, in a small seaside town, a little girl is found abandoned. When her mother finally arrives, authorities release the pair, believing it to be an innocent case of a toddler running off.

Gregor, a seemingly single man, is found bludgeoned and left for dead in his apartment, but the discovery of children’s toys raises more questions than answers.

Every night, Ruby gazes into Gregor’s apartment, leading to the discovery of his secret family: his unusually silent daughter and his mentally unstable wife, Constance, who insists that she is descended from the mythological Selkies. She begs Ruby to aid in finding the sealskin that Gregor has hidden from her, making it impossible to return to her people.

DS Joanna Harper’s investigation into Gregor’s assault leads her to CCTV footage of the mother-daughter pair from town. Harper realizes she knows the woman almost as well as she knows herself: it’s her estranged daughter, Ruby. No matter the depth of Ruby’s involvement, she knows she will choose her daughter over her career.

Steeped in local legend and exploring the depths of what it means to be a mother, Melanie Golding’s newest novel is a lyrical and atmospheric folktale for the modern age.

Expected publication : November 2021

WWW

This meme was first created by Kathy over at Bermuda Onion Blog and has now been adopted by Elza Reads.

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love.

No rules just enjoy and for further info check out Elza Reads.

This week my word is:

TARADIDDLE

A taradiddle is a petty lie or pretentious nonsense.

What a lovely sounding word it is. I had a little look into the word.  It may have first been used in the 18th Century although the origins aren’t known.  There are a few myths out there about where and when the word came into use but it appears that these rumours are ‘taradiddles’ in themselves.

If you break the word up –

Tara – is an exclamation; and

Diddle – can be to cheat or swindle

So, put the two together and you have a cheating exclamation!  Which could be a little lie if you think about it.

Whilst I was looking into this I also came across an interesting little snippet for Harry Potter fans.  Apparently the word was used by Cornelius Fudge in JK Rowlings Order of the Phoenix “‘We haven’t got time to listen to more taradiddles, I’m afraid, Dumbledore.’”

Anyway, the book I was reading when came across this word was The Drowned City (which I enjoyed, my review here) by KJ Maitland:

Drowned City