Month: August 2016

One Breath Away


Author: Heather Gudenkauf
384 Pages in Paperback

Published: June 26, 2012
Dates Read: March 9- March 30, 2016

My Rating: 4 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

In her most emotionally charged novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores the unspoken events that shape a community, the ties between parents and their children and how the fragile normalcy of our everyday life is so easily shattered.

In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town’s children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.

My Review:

Heather Gudenkauf is my favorite author. I love that she writes with multiple points of views in her novels. One Breath Away was a very intense read. I never wanted to put it down (Specifically the last 50 or so pages)! I hated when my lunch break was over at work because I wanted to keep reading it.

I did have a few issues with some things the characters did (SPOILERS): A teacher leaving his classroom during lock down because he hears a noise above a classroom. Really!?!? A student walking around the school during lock down, a grandfather trying to go into the school and almost getting shot by a police officer in the process. What were the characters thinking? (END SPOILERS).

I can see this book becoming a Lifetime movie down the road. You wonder if everyone will be ok in the end. This book could be hard to read for some as it deal with a tough issue: Our children and shootings, specifically school shootings. We never want to see something terrible happen to our children, or for them to experience something like this.

Despite the issues I had with the book, I still really enjoyed One Breath Away and would recommend it.

These Things Hidden


Author: Heather Gudenkauf
337 Pages in Paperback

Published: January 18, 2011
Dates Book was Re-Read: February 18-March 7, 2016

My Rating: 5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.

But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.

Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

My Review:

I first listened to the audio book version of These Things Hidden several years ago. With having read/listened to These Things Hidden, Heather Gudenkauf became my favorite author. I enjoy the multiple points of view that she writes to tell the whole story.

I did not want to put this book down. It is very intense. I wish I had been able to read it quicker. I had forgotten the twists in the books as well, so for most of the book, it was as if I was reading it for the first time.  You wonder what actually happened that night.

These Things Hidden is highly recommended!


The Weight of Silence


Author: Heather Gudenkauf
373 Pages in Paperback

Published: July 28, 2009
Dates Book was Re-Read: January 26- February 13, 2016

My Rating: 5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn’s shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.

Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler.

Calli’s mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter’s voice.

Petra Gregory is Calli’s best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor.

Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

My review:

Back in 2012 I listened to The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden on audio book and I quickly became a fan of Heather Gudenkauf. I decided that this year I wanted to re-read them and read all her others novels, which I own, but sadly had not read yet.

The Weight of Silence blew me away again!!!! I did not want to put it down! This is a great debut novel. Since it had been several years since I had listened to it, I couldn’t remember what was going to happen, so in some ways it was as if I was reading it for the first time. I enjoyed the multiple points of view to get the whole story from several characters. I was in suspense as to what was going to happen to Petra and Calli and hoping they would be fine.

The Weight of Silence is highly recommended!!