Tag Archives: Covet

Hidden – Catherine McKenzie

Some secrets should stay hidden

Hidden Cover

“This is going to sound strange, but … do you wish you could do your life over again?”

“Everyone wishes that sometimes.”

“I mean really actually do it, start again. See if you can get it right the second time around.”

I have been meaning to read Catherine Mackenzie‘s work for some time, I was intrigued by the premise of Arranged, a work about a woman who mistakenly employs an agency specializing in arranged marriages. But it was Hidden demanded that I read it sooner rather than later and somehow it ended up among my purchases when I was doing my Christmas shopping, honestly I have no idea how it got there. It was the Buy Three Get the Fourth Free promotion so really I barely need to justify it. Regardless of my book buying compulsions Hidden is a powerful story that I read in a single day concluding the novel with my heart in my throat and burning eyes.

When a married man suffers a sudden fatal accident, two women are shattered—his wife and someone else’s—and past secrets, desires and regrets are brought to light

While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Not one but two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son and contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother—her ex-boyfriend—Tim.

HiddenHidden is densely layered novel with each character vying for your sympathies. It is an exploration of love, not only between husbands and wives but between parent and child and even between siblings. Told from alternating points of view the reader comes to know Jeff Manning, his wife Claire and Tish Underwood intimately. Much like Tracey Garvis Graves’ Covet but with a realism missing from the former Hidden focuses largely on the emotional affair between Jeff and his coworker Tish.

Covet, for me, was in many ways a “lunch bag letdown” there was this huge buildup and then no follow through just a conclusion that was so neat and tidy it was patently unbelievable. In comparison the tension builds and builds in Hidden despite the readers knowledge of how it ends which is an illustration of this author’s expert storytelling ability.

Throughout the story and upon its conclusion the question circling the readers mind is “how bad is an emotional affair?” Like all things I would say that the answer is subjective depending on your own moral compass. What I found particularly impressive about this story was the directness of the characters and their actions. There was no coy evasions regarding intercourse literally or subjectively, Catherine Mackenzie has masterfully portrayed her characters with realism and sensitivity.

AUTHOR: Catherine Mackenzie

RATING: 4 1/2 Stars

GENRE: Women’s Fiction


Danger! Will Robinson, Covet – Tracey Garvis Graves

What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?


Let me say before I continue with my review that I find adultery and infidelity personally abhorrent but as I read Covet, the circumstances that Claire and Daniel find themselves in are all too plausible. In fact, I began to ponder the question simple as it may seem, what is worse an emotional or physical affair? It’s a slippery slope from one seemingly innocent step to the next.

coverChris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession and out of work for a year, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. When he’s offered a position that will keep him away from home four nights a week, he dismisses Claire’s concern that time apart could be the one thing their fragile union can’t weather. 

Local police officer Daniel Rush used to have it all, but now he goes home to an empty house every night. When Claire is hired to do some graphic design work for the police department, her friendship with Daniel grows, and soon they’re spending hours together.

I read and loved Tracey Garvis Graves bestselling novel On the Island. I found the subject matter compelling, even if I did feel that ultimately she pulled her punch in having Anna and T.J. quite unrealistically wait literally years to consummate their union, seemingly until it was more socially acceptable considering the vast age difference between the characters. Then after reading Uncharted I suspected that Garvis Graves success was a perfect example of the one hit wonder, although it was a reasonably entertaining story the purpose seemed lacking other than an opportunity to revisit Anna and T.J.

However, Covet convinced me that Tracey Garvis Graves is a talented storyteller capable of capturing and holding the readers interest in a challenging and competitive marketplace. I only had one issue with Covet, but it was a significant one. The author clearly wishes to depict controversial subject matter in her work for which I applaud her. Nonetheless I believe that her stories would transcend from entertaining albeit somewhat trite novels to something truly remarkable if she would only have her characters take that next step to that place that is not so easily defended and perhaps not quite as morally acceptable.

AUTHOR: Tracey Garvis Graves

RATING: 3 1/2 Stars

GENRE: Contemporary Women’s Fiction