Book Review: The Hidden
By Jo Chumas
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publishing Date: October 22, 2013
A university professor is brutally murdered in Egypt’s Sinai desert in 1940, leaving behind his new bride, the beautiful young Aimee Ibrahim. As Aimee tries to unravel the web of lies and secrets surrounding her husband’s death, she unwittingly becomes a pawn in a revolutionary plot against Egypt’s king. With the discovery of a twenty-year-old diary, the mystery only deepens. As Aimee gets ever closer to the truth, she discovers startling parallels between her own life and that of the mother she never knew.
Unfolding in the city’s brothels, hashish cafes, and jasmine-scented colonial mansions, The Hidden is a gritty, sensual tale of revolution, betrayal, and the lengths we will go to for love—and truth.
Absolutely mesmerizing! I could not put this book down. The story alternated between the journal that Aimee’s mother had written for her daughter in 1919 , and Aimee’s present-day life in 1940.
This book explores the treatment of women in the Muslim faith, particularly harem life. Aimee’s mother, Hezba is the daughter of a sultan who is wed to a much older man when she is only 11 years old. The marriage is a political one and her husband is terribly cruel. Hezba wants to be free – free from her marriage and the confines of harem life. She wants to be free to work, free to love the man she wants and speak her mind. You will be appalled at the kind of treatment husbands were allowed to give their wives in the 1920’s, you will sorrow with her and rejoice with her. Chumas brings Hezba to life.
Aimee’s life shows the progress that was made between the 1920’s and the 1940’s. It explores the political upheaval that Egypt was in at that time. Aimee discovers a truth about her own past that was hidden from her. The conclusion of the mystery of the death of Aimee’s husband is painful for Aimee and you will feel that pain with her.
Chumas is a master story-teller and keeps the reader guessing. The weaving together of Hezba’s diary writings and the events unfolding 20 years later beautifully complement one another bringing the story to a complete whole.
The Hidden is the winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 – Mystery and Thriller. This book has become one of my favourites and I will definitely be reading it again!
This book deserves 5 stars!
Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.