Hideaway is the latest standalone novel from powerhouse author Nora Roberts. It focuses on two families and how one violent act shapes their futures for years to come. While not as dark as some of Ms. Roberts’ previous books, I wouldn’t say this one is for the faint of heart, especially if child cruelty is something you find difficult to read.
Caitlyn Sullivan has grown up as a member of one of Hollywood’s most distinguished families, played her first movie role as an infant, and has never looked back. Her parents, grandparents, and even her great-grandparents are known world-wide, and Caitlyn just assumes her life will play out pretty much the same way.
Unfortunately, when Caitlyn is ten, she is abducted from her family’s ranch, and though she manages to escape before she’s badly hurt, the trauma of the experience will remain with her for a long time to come. The one bright spot in the situation turns out to be twelve-year-old Dillon Cooper who discovers the terrified Caitlyn not long after she escapes her captors. His mother and grandmother help reunite her with her father, and the two families are bound together in unimaginable ways.
As you might expect, the trauma doesn’t end there. Someone very close to Caitlyn turns out to be the mastermind behind her kidnapping, and all manner of chaos results from that discovery. Caitlyn and her father eventually move to Ireland where she can slowly begin to heal from all she’s been through. The road to emotional recovery is a long one, and the memory of Dillon’s gentle kindness is one of the things that helps Caitlyn get past everything she’s endured.
We then skip ahead a number of years. Caitlyn has returned to the ranch. In many ways, she’s managed to put the past behind her, acting in several successful films, making friends, and even dating a bit, but there are those who are unwilling to let her live in peace. Someone out there is determined to make her pay for messing up the long ago abduction, and it will take everything Caitlyn and her family possess to keep this person from succeeding.
One of this novel’s best features is the phenomenal relationship between Dillon and Caitlyn. They met only briefly as kids, but each had a profound effect on the other’s life. When they’re finally reunited as adults, their deep feelings are plain to see, even if neither is immediately sure whether acting on those feelings is a wise idea. They start out as friends, and it’s a true joy to watch that friendship turn to something more. They complement each other so well, and their chemistry is fantastic, even if they don’t act on it until the second half of the novel.
Nora Roberts excels at creating family bonds that feel completely authentic, and Caitlyn and Dillon have amazing families. There’s something so warm and comforting about the relationship dynamics that exist between the various characters. It’s not that people never disagree with one another; it’s more that even in the face of some serious arguments, the reader never doubts the love these people feel for each other.
The suspense is a big part of the plot, but it’s not quite as intense as in some of the author’s previous works. There’s a definite sense of danger that permeates most of the story, but there aren’t a ton of action scenes. The impending danger simmers in the background, and I found myself on the edge of my seat quite a few times as I waited to see exactly what was going to happen. Still, if you’re looking for something filled with a constant parade of danger-laden scenes, you’re won’t find that here.
The identity of the villains is not kept secret for very long. The characters learn who is responsible for Caitlyn’s abduction pretty early on and as a result, the reader is also clued in. In that, Hideaway is similar in style to 2018’s Shelter in Place, although not quite as intense. I don’t mind knowing who the villain is as long as the author can still keep me engaged, something Nora Roberts has always been able to do.
This isn’t one of Ms. Roberts’ most exciting stories, but it is a solidly enjoyable way to spend several hours. It’s full of everything I love about her writing; compelling characters, fabulous tension, and a couple of great bedroom scenes. It won’t make my list of favorite 2020 reads, but I’m still glad I picked it up, and I hope you’ll give it a try too.