This is a story set on four different continents featuring four different women who all have something to hide. But then, some would argue, who doesn’t?
Petra – a woman in her early sixties whose children are grown and living far away. She lives alone in a large house in Pimlico, London. She is very, very lonely. Her best friend’s husband visits from Africa and the two strike up a friendship. That friendship blossoms into something more…
Lorrie – lives in Texas to a military man who is often posted overseas. She too is lonely. She has two children whom she loves, yet her time is long when her husband is away. She looks to make a little money so that the family can move to a new house and subdivision in a nicer area. Her plans go disastrously awry.
Li-Jing – lives in Shanghai with her businessman husband. The couple long for a child, but have found that they both have fertility issues.
Ernestine – lives in a tiny village in West Africa. She is married and the mother of several children. She sells beauty products to the local women and transports her shop about with her in a large box which she carries on her head.
I have never read anything by this author so really didn’t know what to expect. I found the writing especially readable and the narrative flowed smoothly despite it featuring different women’s stories.
This is essentially the story of London based Petra, though the other women’s stories overlap in some way. I found Ernestine’s story to be interesting, but it had little to do with the other women’s stories and in my opinion could have been left out of the book with little negative effect. Lorrie’s story was one of desperation and I found it imminently sad.
This is a novel about loneliness, aging, betrayal, deception, desperation, and the vagaries of life.
“Something To Hide” can be considered literary fiction as well as women’s fiction. It was a memorable novel that I found absorbing and fascinating in equal measure. I will definitely be on the lookout for more works by this author. Recommended!
Publication date: May 3, 2016 Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Deborah Moggach studied English at Bristol University and is a British novelist and screenwriter. She has worked in journalism and has also been Chairman of the Society of Authors and worked for PEN’s Executive Committee, as well as being a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Moggach has written nineteen novels, including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever (made into the film of the same name), These Foolish Things (made into the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Heartbreak Hotel.
She has two adult children and currently lives in Wales with her husband Mark Williams.