The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster

When I read this novel, back in January, it hadn’t been published.  I put my review up on Goodreads and here, on 18 January 2017.  The novel was published in April, and I’m re-posting my review now as a reminder to those who may have been interested that the novel is now available.

The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster

‘The body bobs lightly against the grey stone wall, ensnared by something unseen, resisting the current.’
Arabella Lane is a senior executive at Parker & Lane, a children’s publisher in London. The day after the office Christmas party, Arabella is found dead in the Thames. Arabella was seen with a number of different people, and in at least one heated exchange. Did she jump, or was she pushed?

Eleanor Brennan, a temporary member of staff at Parker & Lane, has travelled to London to escape her traumatic childhood in Australia. Eleanor is staying with her aunt and uncle in London. Her aunt works at Parker & Lane, and Eleanor has attended the office party to try to meet more people.

Unfortunately, Eleanor may have been one of the last people to see Arabella alive, but she has no memory of the events in the hours immediately before or after Arabella’s death. Was Eleanor involved? The only way she can find out is to remember what happened, and she’s certainly under a lot of pressure to do so. Her aunt in particular has a vested interest in discovering the truth, and Eleanor becomes caught up in the undercurrents of her aunt and uncle’s marriage.

As Eleanor struggles to remember what happened the night Arabella died, she’s caught up in the memories of traumatic events in her childhood. Everywhere, it seems, is dangerous for Eleanor. Both past and present threaten to overwhelm her. Who can she believe? Who can she trust?

From the first page this novel held my attention. While I wanted to know what had happened to Arabella, I was much more interested in the events of Eleanor’s past. Ms Foster maintains the tension as the story moves between past and present. And the ending? I found it satisfying.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster (Australia) for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith