32073669Secrets never stay hidden, do they?

They have a way of creeping into your life when you least expect them.

Samuel Delaney never expected his secret, his past, his mother to destroy the man he had fought hard to become.

But when a white envelope with an Irish stamp, containing a letter handwritten in black ink, arrived on a Wednesday morning, it changed everything, risking the most important thing in his life – Faye, his soul mate for the past ten years.

Samuel had boarded a plane thirteen years ago without looking back. Now, he had no choice but to return and bury his past before it ruined his future. But he didn’t expect the secrets to run deeper, down to a rotten root.

Will the discovery of the hidden secrets change him when Samuel doesn’t want to be changed?

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Purchased @ a book event Paperback 253 indie Contemporary Romance September 17th, 2016

For full disclosure, because I am honest like that, I actually know the author who writes under the pen name of Amelia J Hunter in real life. We connected in person, I’d say, about a couple of months back. You know how it is, you want to support indie authors, especially those you know in real life, but for you, as a reader, it also comes with a slight risk- what if you don’t like the book? Aye, I was worried, because this particular book is a contemporary romance and how the hell was I going to approach the whole review part of it if I didn’t like it? I’m a brave girl though and thought- I am just going to dive right in, come what may! And as such, it’s your entitlement, dear follower,  to read the following review with a pinch of salt if you so wish, however, I would still like to state that this is my honest review of the book.

Samuel Delaney is a complex character- he has a dark past to tie up upon receiving the letter from Ireland, and even harder truths to accept when he visits his homeland of Ireland after 13 years away in the UK. So, it is important to mention that Hidden is not one of those template, fluffy, summery contemporary romances. It is way darker than I expected and those secrets the blurb promises, let’s just say, I couldn’t wait to find about the truth. The biggest and darkest truth of them all hit me like a ton of bricks, much like it hit Samuel.

There is no beating around the bush when it comes to revealing Samuel’s very difficult and heartbreaking childhood as the book starts with a chapter through the eyes of a 7-year-old Sam. From the get-go, as a reader, I was prepared for a less than light-hearted subject matter. Fast forward to the present, Samuel is a 33-year-old broody guy who now runs a pub in the UK, battles his personal hell through nightmares and keeps his past strictly to himself. Even his best friend/girlfriend Faye doesn’t know the truth about him. When legalities require Samuel to return to Ireland, not only does he have to face the past he passionately hates, he also jeopardises his relationship with Faye.

Sam is a stubborn man. He is proud and private. As a character, he is also a realistic example of someone life has hurt deeply and has been left emotional scars that will never, ever disappear. Mentally, he has a way to bring himself back from the brink and it involves turning pain into pleasure.

If I wouldn’t have had to sleep for work the next day, I would have read this book in one sitting. Yes, it’s the promise of unravelling secrets that hooked me, but the flowing writing style, the realistic male POV and the apt Irish setting also played their part. Speaking of the Irish setting, Amelia carried the rural way of life which can often be stuck in its quirky, sleepy or ignorant ways through detail I have come to recognize over the years I’ve lived in Ireland.

And finally, before wrapping up this review, I would like to address the sexual content of this particular book, because I know some of my followers would like to know. This book is not riddled with sex scene after sex scene. More than graphic intimacy in between Samuel and Faye, the reader will instead get more of alone time with Samuel, but it’s different. Knowing the heavy weight Sam’s soul carries, the moments he spends with himself, his hand and a piece of string has a whole different purpose than to offer that erotic ‘air’… I don’t know, it was just bittersweet somehow, also those few scenes weren’t overdone nor frequent.

Overall, this was a gripping read for me, and even though I finished the book some days ago, I find myself still thinking about it. With a heavy soul, somewhat, but also with a bit of hope and excitement for what awaits me in book #2, Revealed.

For taking me by surprise, for introducing me to Samuel- a male character that is far from perfect, emotionally broken and simply a regular guy, for highlighting the importance of family and for showing the impact of hiding or revealing secrets, this indie gem is worthy of all the stars.

Find Hidden on Goodreads ¦ Amazon UK ¦ USA