The Bookends with Pam and Becky

The Hideaway
By: Laura Denton

Sara Jenkins escaped Sweet Bay, Alabama and made a life for herself in New Orleans. She has a thriving antique shop that keeps her very busy. She loves her grandmother who raised her and talks on the phone with her every week at the same time. However, she is rarely able to find the time to go visit the bed and breakfast that her grandmother, Mags, owns. When Mags suddenly passes away, Sara learns that she has inherited The Hideaway (Mags’ B & B) and the responsibility for all of the old friends that live there. Mags directed Sara to fix up The Hideaway and then decide what she would like to do with the old bed and breakfast. She is forced to stay in Sweet Bay and begin the renovations, but begins to embrace the life she ran away from years before. She begins to unravel the secrets of her grandmother, which completely change her perspective on the eccentric woman.

Pam: This book sounded like a great story and I couldn’t wait to read it! Sara was raised by her grandmother after her parents died in an accident. She was very embarrassed by her grandmother, Mags, while she was growing up. Mags was known for her unconventional outfits, as well as taking in any “guests” from The Hideaway as permanent residents. Sara is immersed in her own place of business and does not want to leave it when the attorney calls her to inform her of Mags’ passing. She makes the decision to go for a couple of days, but plans to return to her life quickly. How did you feel about Sara with this first introduction to her character?

Becky: I was quickly drawn to Mags so my first impression of Sara was probably a bit tainted. I didn’t go into this story liking Sara who left her grandmother and the sleepy little town as quickly as she could. She made her obligatory phone calls but didn’t visit or really know her grandmother well. As the story progresses I changed my opinion of Sara but Mags was by far my favorite character. Speaking of characters, the people that live at The Hideaway are so entertaining. Did you enjoy this motley crew?

Pam: The residents of The Hideaway are a fun bunch that is just like family. This closeness allows them to just be themselves and speak their minds. Sara does not love this initially upon her return, but comes to bond with them. They clearly care for her and want what is best for her, while worrying about their own futures. I agree with you about Mags…she was such a fun character. Sara did not appreciate Mags’ unique style and attitude when she was younger. While Sara is renovating The Hideaway, she discovers clues that begin to unravel secrets that will help explain Mags. Did you feel that these clues began to change Sara’s perspective and values?

Becky: Sara was a busy business woman that kept her relationships at a safe distance. She wanted to just swoop into town, renovate the old house and get back to her life in New Orleans. She settles into the project and it changes her. She learns more about Mags but also discovers herself in the process. I know it sounds cliche but it was done within a sweet Southern story. What did you think about the man that becomes her love interest and further ties her to this little town?

Pam: I loved this character and I loved that she found someone she could connect with in an unexpected place and time. The fact that they both loved old houses and were on the same page for renovating The Hideaway really tied these two together. After experiencing shallow relationships in the past, Sara felt drawn to Crawford the moment she met him while looking for a local contractor to help with the renovations. Did you feel that Crawford helped her slow down and rediscover herself and her family’s history?

Becky: Absolutely, he was a small town man that I don’t think would follow her back to her busy lifestyle in the city. He had a simple way of life that had little unnecessary stress so she couldn’t help but put her guard down. As the renovation is in full swing a local real estate developer causes some stress to this couple and the residents of The Hideaway. Did this situation work out the way you anticipated or were you surprised by the ending?

Pam: I felt that the ending had a little bit of both. The overall ending was what I was expecting, but the path to get there was not what I had anticipated. Sara admits to a tendency to shut down and shut others out of her life when things get hard. This contributed to her break in relationship with Mags and threatened to ruin her budding closeness to Crawford. Did you find this frustrating as you were following Sara’s story?

Becky: It was a little frustrating but I think it made her a more authentic character. She wasn’t someone that I would want to go to lunch with but we can’t love every character.
Join us next month as we read the nonfiction book, A Beautiful Work In Progress by Mirna Valerio. The journey of a runner that transforms from an obese teen to a woman that has multiple long distance runs under her belt.

Check out some other books we recommend in,
The Bookshelf

The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth Winthrop. In twelve hours a young black man will be executed for the alleged rape of a white woman.

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