Author: Sara Foster
The Hidden Hours is another psychological suspense novel by the talented Sara Foster that is set between the past and the present, Australia and London.
Eleanor has moved to London for a fresh start, she is temping at a publishing house and living with her maternal uncle and his family. The morning after the staff Christmas party the body of Arabella Lane is found in the Thames, and it isn’t yet known whether she jumped or was pushed. It seems the one person who may know the truth is Eleanor, but she has no memory of the hours that hold the answers.
The further into the story we delve the more people get caught in the web of deception, betrayal and accusations, including Eleanor’s extended family.
The flashbacks to the Australian outback tell the story of Eleanor’s childhood. We know that something happens leaving her with the inner demons she is trying to escape with her transatlantic move but we aren’t sure what until quite late in the narrative.
Eleanor wakes the morning after the staff Christmas party with no memory of getting home and only sketchy memories from midway through the night. She forces herself up and into work only to discover that Arabella has been found in the river and from what she does remember she knows they spent at least some time together throughout the night.
The present day chapters begin with a short paragraph telling us a little about the investigation as it is going on unrelated to Eleanor; we look in on the investigators, the family and the witnesses. Otherwise we are back in 2005 watching Eleanor’s life unfold. They left the city and moved to a property outside of a little town where they built their own house while living in a shed.
We soon learn that Arabella didn’t jump but there’s no hard evidence pointing to who was there and no real suspects, which means everyone’s under suspicion. I enjoyed the tension and I was kept guessing. There were a few times that I formulated a theory, only to be proved wrong. It was all quite circular in that you were never quite certain when you were picking a suspect.
Eleanor knows that the answers may be found in the missing hours and only she may hold the key to unlocking them, but how when she can’t remember. The police are investigating Arabella’s death but Eleanor also sets out to try and find answers; only to discover people wanting to keep secrets at every turn. If they are willing to hide some information what else might they be hiding…
I was actually more engrossed with the 2005 storyline, and how it related to what happened to Arabella. Eleanor was 9 when they moved, leaving her childhood home and everything and everyone she knew. Her brother was older and he struggled to adjust, the family had no real space of their own sharing a one room shed and rather than bring them together it just helped push them apart.
There were so many things in the 2005 storyline that weren’t properly explored because our narrator was a 9 year old girl so I kept jumping to conclusions about where things were heading.
Present day Eleanor feels that history is repeating, but we don’t yet know what that history is so we are still left clutching at straws and suspecting everyone.
The Hidden Hours is an engrossing tale of the secrets that tear apart families and the fear you face when you can’t even trust yourself.
Two intriguing mysteries rolled into one captivating story that left me on the edge of my seat.