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on June 25, 2004
This book focuses on a widow and her family, while they are struggling through the Great Depression and trying to hold onto
the family orchard. After Eliza is widowed, 2 very important people come into her life. First, there is Aunt Batty, a
seemingly eccentric old woman, who is also very wise and Godly. Then there is Gabe, a "hobo" who she nurses back to health.
I thought this was a very interesting book to read. I loved the characters and how well developed they were. I loved Aunt
Batty and her love story with Walter. She initially came across as eccentric, but ended up to be a very wise, loving woman.
She helped Eliza to realize that her family, although flawed, loved her very much and urged her to forgive them and become
close to God. Gabe was such a wonderful, loving character, as well. It was very easy to hate Frank Wyatt for the way he
abused his family. And I pitied Lydia, who seemed to be such a weak person, for not standing up to Frank when he was abusing
the kids and for other things that happened in the book, which I won't reveal for fear of spoiling the ending. Lynn Austin
also did a good job of not sugar coating the Great Depression.
This was a great story of love, family, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Lynn Austin is a gifted writer.
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on October 21, 2002
This book won the North American Historical Fiction prize recently, and it deals with a Depression-era romance which finds its heroine, widow Eliza Wyatt, afraid to trust.
Eliza never loved her husband, it seemed, but he seemed to offer her security and she was faithful in return for this. Her father-in-law never liked her and terrorized the family to no end. Now that he's dead, she is in danger of losing the farm that symbolizes the security she always craved. The story goes on and we discover that through the help of a hobo and her husband's aunt, Eliza learns to trust God and others.
A Truly charming and wonderful book. Highly recommended!!
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on October 19, 2001
I absolutely loved this book! This is the second book by Lynn Austin that I have read and she definitely is an author I will buy in the future. Austin adds many twists and turns to her stories (to keep you guessing) and also spreads a message of hope and reconciliation. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a family story and loves the historical slant. Definitely check out Eve's Daughters as well by the same author.
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on June 20, 2004
This is the first book I've read by Lynn Austin, and I was very pleased with the quality of the writing. From the first page where the narrator explains her childish misconceptions of what it means to "entertain angels" to the conclusion of the novel, each of her characters is drawn with clear, interesting personalities. The religious insights offered by the novel naturally grow from the characters' experiences and never seem contrived or preachy. This was a delightful and uplifting read.
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on August 7, 2005
I loved this book. In fact I have read it three times, and when I get it back (I lent it out) I will read it again. The main woman in this story was hiding/ running from God, her dad, but most of all herself. Eventually it all caught up with her when she found out that she could not make it without the ones who love her. Mixed in with it all is a beautiful love story that any girl/ woman would cry over (and I did several times). I loved this book, and one day when I have little girls, I know that they will love it to.
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on November 22, 2002
I recently read this book and it is my favorite book that I have ever read! Lynn Austin is an AWESOME writer!
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on July 19, 2001
With her masterful tale of buried family secrets and a search for love, Lynn Austin has delivered another intricately crafted story that will keep you reading until the early hours of the morning. Be prepared to ride in a roller coaster of emotions; you will laugh, cry, and learn along with Eliza about the love that heals all hurts.'Hidden Places' is absolutely wonderful!
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on June 14, 2002
This is a book with a recurring theme running through it--how can you overcome the pain your father/parents caused you in your childhood? Eliza has just buried her father-in-law and must now contend with operating an orchard on her own. Gabe Harper is a hobo, who shows up to help in exchange for room & board. But, as in every good book, nothing is as it seems. Everyone in the book is hiding something, either intentionally, or not.
I thought this book was very well written. The author did a good job of describing the beginning of the Depression and how being a single woman with 3 kids to raise got along. I loved the fact that after a secret was revealed, I could almost say "ah ha--NOW it makes sense." The clues are there, and the astute reader just has to connect the dots.
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on February 19, 2016
Review These days I don't seem to read many 5-star books. This one changed that track record.

Hidden Places is an odd title for this book. I'm sure there's more significance in it than I care to delve into, but not enough to make me remember the title. But I will never forget this story. All anyone has to do is mention Aunt Batty and it will all come flooding back.
This is a different book from typical Historical Romances. The writing is much more like it's written by a seasoned writer with a unique ability... a true ability to put a story together in a memorable way. Oh, Ms. Austin can write.

Another thing different about this book for me is the main character, Eliza was not a favorite for me. In fact I kept thinking I'm not sure I'd like her if I knew her. She often got mad and flew off at the handle. She often didn't seem capable of being calm and finding out how to view something without anger.
But as the story goes on, you will see why.

Seems everyone is this story had huge hurdles to get over. Eliza for the way she was raised... twice... once by her mother and later by her father. A very odd childhood I don't want to give away.

Gabe, her love interest also had a childhood that was sad.

Aunt Batty (hands down the best character) had an overbearing father who decided for her what she should do. But ended up having the richest life of them all because of circumstances that God brought into her life. Wise and fun. That's Aunt Batty.

Lydia was Batty's sister, who she loved unconditionally. Lydia made one of the most unexpected sacrifices Batty (then Betsy) could ever believe.

We get background during conversations, but the real background of each character is when each one's story is told, like mini separate books... but it always comes back to the main story after a while. All are fascinating... all endear you to them.

Eliza wants to be loved, and find a home and be normal. She finds it in a little town she drops herself into. She needs to keep her past to herself and just be normal. But with this normal life comes father-in-law from hell (Frank). One of the most miserable people you will ever care to know. We never really know why he's so miserable... but we sure do get the stories of all the people he affected in this miserable life. Some survive and come out better, some don't fair so well.

But anyone who gets to know Batty (Frank's sister-in-law)is better for having known her...except Frank who hated everyone. Sweet woman who enters Eliza's life just when she needed her.

Then along comes Gabe, a hobo who needed a wound tended. Eliza helps him to heal and he stays on at her orchard to pay her back.

The rest is history.

Great book I can unreservedly recommend.
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on January 6, 2016
What an incredible read! Lynn's portrayal of the human heart is spot on in every instance!

Hidden Places delved into the hidden places within - healing me in places, challenging me in others, and leaving question for me to answer about myself.

I love Aunt Batty! What an amazing and accurate perspective she has of God. I want to be just like her when I grow up!

Eliza is the woman we so often find ourselves to be - hurt, confused, afraid... Gabe, the wounded hero, is incredible in spite of his misguided ways stemming from his own pain.

I love Matthew. I hurt for Matthew. I wanted Gabe to be Matthew... and yet I didn't.

I found myself wanting to love Sam for the simple fact that he lived so completely unloved.

As to old Mr. Wyatt... how sad to think of the many souls out there just like him... lost, angry, unable to do anything other than hurt those he should love the most.

Poor Lydia. How many women allow themselves to believe they are irredeemable? How many women believe they deserve the ill treatment they receive? How many women take their punishment rather than turn to Christ for cleansing and freedom from their sins?

And Mr. Gibson? He's the greatest hero in the story! If only there were more men like him in the world! And more Aunt Batty's, too!

As to the writing? I can't help but give a writing critique. If a writer is going to write from first person point of view, THIS is the way to do it! I am NOT a fan of first person POV for the simple reason that too many times the author has way too many information dumps and rabbit trails that only frustrate me and make me want to either put the book down or throw it across the room.

But this book? Hidden Places is one to go on my reread shelf. As soon as I get my own copy! Thank you, Lynn, for this incredible story and the incredible way in which you told it!
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