Books

Available now: All That Is Hidden

Are secrets worth the price they cost to keep?

“All of God’s earth to my brother Nick and me were the streams for fishing, the fields for planting and harvesting, a world snugly enclosed by the blue-misted Smokies. . . . Other than the seasons, nothing ever changed. . . .”

Until the summer of 1968. Ten-year-old Tina Hamilton’s life changes forever. Trouble erupts when a proposed theme park threatens her tiny Appalachian town. Some folks blame the trouble on “progress,” some blame the space race and men meddling with the moon’s cycles, and some blame Tina’s father. A past he has hidden catches up to him, his family, and the entire town. Suddenly, the clash of a father’s past and present becomes the microcosm of the clash between progressive ideas and small town values.

Tina struggles with her shaken confidence in a father who, in hiding his past, has made a string of choices that shape her childhood. Gradually, Tina gains insight into her father through seemingly unrelated circumstances: her feud with a fellow ballplayer, her friendship with Old Joe who lives alone on the mountain, a gift left to her father by a neighbor fourteen years dead, and a broken promise.

Meticulously researched, this moving and engaging coming-of-age tale is a delightful, richly-textured tapestry of family stories woven with the timeless wisdom of generations past, all of which guide Tina and create the fabric of a journey to forgiveness that will warm your heart. Tina is forced to answer a difficult question: are secrets worth the price they cost to keep? Pour yourself a cup of tea, settle in, and come along. Then you decide.

 

Reviews:

There’s a touch of Laura Ingalls Wilder simplicity in the descriptions of home life, crafts, cooking and chores, a sprinkling of Stephen King in its authentic portrayal of small-town life and dialogue, and a dash of To Kill a Mockingbird in its deeper themes of truth, trust, love, betrayal and forgiveness. That’s one heck of a mix.

-Ariane Jenkins, Epinons.com 

This novel captures a vivid sense of life in a family-bonded community in the Appalachian mountains, one in which many readers will see themselves growing up through Little League baseball and major league heroes at a time and place when children spent more time out ranging in the fields and woods than in front of electronic gadgets. The story gives such a strong sense of family interactions that you’ll feel you’ve been invited to a reunion, rich in good food and conversation that often makes you laugh–but also presses on some deep wounds. Central is the clash of progress with a small tight-knit community in which people can be deeply concerned with the work and interests of their neighbors.

-Dr. Steve Eberly, Western Carolina University

All That Is Hidden is a beautiful novel, the kind of book that sweeps you up in its story, makes you fall in love with its characters, and breaks your heart along with theirs when they go through suffering. The “secret,” or, more accurately, secrets, of the first line of this book are artfully hidden throughout the novel, making their ultimate revelation both truly shocking and truly poignant. Tina is a very good narrator, but it is her father and his character who steals the novel–his life story is both original and compelling, and the pain and grace he experiences drew tears to this reader’s eyes.

Writer’s Digest

No reader can help but be drawn into the mesmerizing and absorbing world of Tina Hamilton, be transported back to 1968, to Currie Hill, to a world where family values and community held real meaning . . . This richly layered story is a most rewarding read . . . and heart-wrenching to realize the moment when a child sees the truth about a parent, and loses an idol, creating an emptiness that only forgiveness can heal. The gentle power of this book gains momentum until it reaches a dramatic and moving end.

-Ann Emanuel, Commuter Week

My extended family is from the hills of Kentucky. I so enjoyed reading the Parts sections that preceded the chapters. . . . It was like going home for a while. I consider those sections the strongest and most creative pieces of writing that I’ve reviewed for Writer’s Edge in at least five years.

The Writer’s Edge

 

Summer People, Award-winning Young Adult novel, pre-published

Summer People won First Place in the Children/Young Adult category of Authorlink’s New Author Awards competition.

Nobody knew whether the shooting had been intentional or not . . . Sometimes I thought about that night, Jack’s last night ever, out in his favorite place, the big North Woods. I imagined the rustling of young men snapping branches confused with all of nature’s night noises, surely a deer or two, and Jack falling to a bullet never meant for him . . .

The images of her brother’s death continue to taunt fourteen-year-old Libbie Kendall five years later, especially after each dreaded sheriff visit.

Each visit brings a new lead. First the suspect Peter Thomassen is presumed dead, then he’s alive. The story always changes. Libbie longs to learn the truth that will enable her family to heal and move on.

But that hope is dashed every time the sheriff stops by. Despair fuels Dad’s anger and vengeance, Mom’s withdrawal, and her brother Dean’s waywardness. Libbie grapples with Jack’s death–not allowed to be spoken of, though it touches every nerve, every day.

Libbie feels lost. Her only escape is her imagination as a writer of poems and stories where she alone is in control. She’s an observer standing on the sidelines of life–until the summer Mark Sivertsen arrives to work for her father.

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