Hideaway is billed as a romantic suspense, but I would describe it more as a contemporary family melodrama – there is a romance, but unusually for this author it’s not the main focus of the plot. Unfortunately there’s also very little suspense – the baddies are revealed early, and the story is completely predictable. Despite this, I enjoyed it as a light easy read where nothing too horrible happens.
Caitlin Sullivan has grown up in a family of movie stars, but her charmed childhood comes to a terrifying end when she is kidnapped from her grandparents’ Big Sur home. She manages to escape, but the trauma of betrayal and the ensuing media attention make staying in LA impossible, so she moves to Ireland. Seven years later, she’s ready to return to the States and join the family profession – but someone has been waiting for her, quietly ready to wreak their revenge…
This had two likeable and well developed main characters, and a few interesting support characters, like laidback surfer-sheriff Red and flamboyant step-grandmother Lily, but most of the other characters were too saccharine-sweet to be true. Ironically, the negative reviews for this complain about the lack of romance and love scenes, but for me this was the main reason I liked it. It’s obvious from the start who both the love interest and the antagonists will turn out to be. The villains’ later actions don’t make a whole lot of sense, but if you roll with it, most get what they deserve (although I was disappointed that there wasn’t an epilogue of a will reading showing one particular character getting an unpleasant surprise – I’m being vague to avoid spoilers…) The book is padded out with a lot of not particularly interesting domestic details and conversations about how much they all love each other, making it about 30% longer than it needed to be. However I’m feeling generous so 3.5 rounded up for a Nice (the capital N is deliberate) story.