Reviewer: Nicola Smith – Short Book and Scribes

Publisher:  Zaffre      14th October 2021

ISBN : 978-1838771966   HB

The synopsis of The Hiding Place had a lot to draw me in. The Whitby setting and the
house full of secrets were enough to entice me into reading this well-drawn and quite
eerie story.

Nell Galilee is a jewellery designer and one half of Galilee Clarke, a gallery selling art
and jewellery, with her husband Chris. When Nell’s stepdaughter, Maude, has to take
time away from school they decide to head to Whitby, Nell’s childhood home, for an
extended break at Elder House, a newly renovated holiday cottage. I always think
there is something so interesting about holiday cottages, many of which have a lot of
history between their four walls. Elder House lured me with its setting within a
Whitby Yard, an almost secret area containing houses close together around a shared
yard with lots of history. It is fair to say the house itself has a rather sinister feel to it.
Nell feels it in particular, the little footsteps, the knocking, the sense that something
isn’t right. I had a pervading feeling of unease from fairly early on. Whitby itself is
also portrayed well, which is no surprise as the author lives there. I’ve  only been a few
times but I recognised it easily from the descriptions.

Alongside Nell’s story and the growing difficulties she has with Maude, are the stories
of Evie, another resident of the yard and the daughter of a woman who recognises
Nell from school (the recognition is not reciprocated which adds to Nell’s unease),
and Kym, whose grandmother, Gina, lives in an even more hidden spot close to Elder
House. These two teenagers have their own reasons for being wary of Elder House
and their stories become woven together with the main narrative of Nell and her
family.

There is a lot of atmosphere created between the pages of this book. The crux of the
story is motherhood and what people will do to achieve it but its also about the
history of a house. I think Amanda Mason has done a great job with this book. It is a
compelling story with fascinating characters and a truly mesmerizing setting.