Book Club: The Hidden Hours

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Author: Sara Foster
ISBN: 978-19-251-8481-5
RRP: $29.99

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.

The Hidden Hours is published by Simon & Schuster and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Sara Foster can be reached on Facebook and her Website.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading The Hidden Hours so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments.


20 thoughts on “Book Club: The Hidden Hours

  1. I really enjoyed The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster. Just when you think you have the mystery of who killed Arabella the author pulls out another twist which leaves you turning the pages quicker and quicker trying to catch up. This book had me reading well past sleep time and counting pages till the end when the mystery would be solved. Loved this book, Thank you to Beauty and Lace, Simon&Schuster and Sara Foster.. I am definetly a new fan and will be looking for my next Sara Foster read.

  2. Thank you for sending me this book. I loved it and couldn’t put it down. It was very suspenseful and I kept trying to work out who the killer was.I really like these kind of books and will definitely look for more by this author. I didn’t want the story to end.

  3. Thanks to Beauty and Lace for the oppertunity to read The Hidden hours by Sara Foster.
    A psychological thriller that will keep you in suspense until the end. There are quite a few unexpected twists and turns as the mystery of Arabella Lanes tragic death after the Office Christmas Party.
    Eleanor is a young Australian girl relocated to London trying to escape her past.
    As the story unfolds we follow Elanors childhood in outback Australia and her current struggle to try to remember the Christmas Party where she was drugged by her Boss, Arrabella only hours before her death.
    Eleanor has missing hours and she desperately tries to remember what occured to clear her name from suspicion by the Police.
    The conclusion will have you stunned.
    Sara Foster writes beautifully with a depth of understanding the loneliness of a young girl struggling to make sense when everything goes wrong.
    I really enjoyed The Hidden Hours.

  4. I loved this book. I went with my gut on who the killer would be and found i was correct come the end of the story but i questioned my choices all the way through as suspicious activities continued to put me off.
    Eleanor was a loveable and fractured young woman who i wanted to help through such a terrible turn of events and previous life.
    She was much stronger than she gave herself credit and i felt the twists in the murder story gave her a kick-while-she-was-down type scenario.
    She was so tough and loyal. A trait i can see coming from her mother. I felt rage and frustration at eli’s parents for abandoning them throughout the building of their new home in such a harsh environment but I also see it was the building blocks of the drama to come.
    Such heartbreak for a family already put through so much with her brother becoming lost to his new life and and losing any hope of the future.
    I felt for Solomon and wished to have been his neighbor so i could have helped him through such an isolated existence. He was such a gentle and important character to the story and how it progressed but the injustices thrown at such a poor old man left me deflated. I suspected his character was going to turn to sexual assault at one point and was so glad he remained a steady and strong character instead.
    The book was brilliant. I was glad to see some warmth grow in Susan as the ending of the story grew near. She was an intricate part to the plot and the way the story continued to confuse and baffle me.
    I will be finding some more stories like it soon i hope.
    Thanks for the chance to read a ripper book. It was read in two nights. I just had to get to the end

  5. I really enjoyed reading The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster.
    I love a good suspense novel and this one certainly didn’t disappoint.
    There were so many twists and turns it certainly kept me interested and wanting to turn the pages to find out more.
    Our main character is Eleanor who has relocated to England but we have many references to her past living in outback Australia.
    Eleanor was drugged at her work Christmas party .Her boss Arabella turns up dead and we have Eleanor looking to find what happened in those missing hours that might save her from being blamed for the murder.
    So many twists and turns and a stunning ending.
    I would thoroughly recommend this novel and would like to thank Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for giving me the opportunity to read and review this great novel.

  6. loved loved loved this book !

    This was the perfect who done it , crime novel. My type of read.
    From the moment I started reading it had me guessing as to who killed Arabella. I knew she did not take her own life.
    The story consisted of many characters with hidden secrets, deceipts and lies.
    The novel had great characters with great backgrounds. I loved the transition between the past and present life of Eleanor.

    A brilliant read Sara Foster.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace

  7. Keeping this short as I’ve already lost one review because I took too long. I was riveted by this book. It took me 2 days to read and I literally couldn’t put it down. I liked that it moved between present day Eleanor and 9 yo Eleanor and the storyline had me guessing and second guessing who was the culprit. I would read other books by this author. I also appreciated the fact that it was well edited with no spelling mistakes or misused words…(sorry, a bit ocd about that!)

  8. I enjoyed this crime story and it was a page turner. The amnesia or memory loss was a good idea as it seemed to really twist the story into different possibilities. Eleanor is the main character and she was last seen with the victim, yet it is her that has lost her memory of the night. There are also hidden secrets and memories that keep resurfacing throughout the story.
    It was an exciting read and i liked as I had no idea where the story would take me.

  9. I was excited to have the opportunity to read The Hidden Hours are previously enjoying another novel by Sara Foster as a book club read last year. Again this book is written in an easy to read style with an effortless flow. The book is set out in short chapters that alternate between Eleanor’s present life and on her past. The present is based on a murder investigation of Arabella Lane; a colleague of Eleanor, and the past gives insight into Eleanor’s childhood and the events that still plague her memories. Eleanor is a fairly likeable character who has escaped to England but finds out that she can’t outrun herself and everything that haunted her at home still does while she is away. We watch Eleanor try to uncover the truth about Arabella’s death before it pulls her under yet this is made harder by the fact that she can’t even draw on her memories of the night as she was drugged and can’t remember a large block of hours.

    I found the Hidden Hours to be an enjoyable read but it didn’t completely pull me in. The story was easy to follow and it built up well as we learnt various snippets of information throughout. It was always hinting at the awful memories of Eleanor’s past and I was waiting for them to be more significant earlier on but it wasn’t until right at the end that everything is revealed very quickly. I found the last few chapters of the book seemed a little rushed as they started alternating between the past and present within chapters rather than as separate chapters to complete the story. The end of the book however ties up the story nicely and doesn’t leave much unanswered. While it’s not ‘happily ever after’ it does seem satisfying the way it finishes.

  10. The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster kept me guessing at every turn.
    Eleanor has travelled to London to escape the traumatic childhood she endured in outback Australia, but within weeks of arriving to live with her uncle she becomes embroiled in a murder of a work colleague, Arabella Lane. Having been one of the last possible people to see Arabella alive and with absolutely no memory of the time leading up to her death speculation is put on Eleanor and those around her. Will, whom both Arabella and Eleanor work with is a possible suspect and when he starts to become friendly with Eleanor she starts to question why – is he involved in Arabella’s death or is someone else? Is it Nathan, Arabella’s husband whom she had a fight with at the Christmas party and slapped publically before leaving and being murdered? or, is it one of the many men that Arabella had an affair with?
    This book kept me turning the pages to find out who could possibly have wanted Arabella dead – and their is a massive list of them, as well as following the hardships that Eleanor faced growing up and continues to face until the murderer is found – it is the person I least expected. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be looking out for others written by Sara Foster.

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