As the first book in the Marchwood Vampire series, "Hidden" is the perfect introduction to a new series. The author masterfully balances captivating storytelling, adventure and tender moments throughout the story. Often you will ask yourself who you should trust and who not as some secrets are diligently kept for a surprise ending
There are a rather large number of important characters in “Hidden”. Introduced and developed in such a skillful manner, there is no danger of the reader getting them confused. Although the narrative switches back and forth between events in modern day England and the back story in the nineteenth century, I found it easy to keep track of and understand where I was in the story. The vivid and detailed descriptions of nineteenth century France and Turkey makes you feel as though you are there, experiencing the events along with the archaeologists and their families. From the underground city in ancient Cappadocia to rural England, we are taken on an unforgettable journey of adventure, suspense and romance.
The author takes the necessary time to create a believable and realistic background for the existence and very nature of her characters. She allows the characters to grow as the tale progresses: Maddy from a rebellious unhappy foster-care teenager into a responsible young adult and Alexandre Chevalier from a thoughtless Parisian socialite into a man who takes his duties towards his friends and family seriously.
There are also quite a great deal to smile about, as the language barrier is hilarious at times. Imagine a nineteenth century French aristocrat with a command of some formal Victorian English, suddenly catapulted into twenty first century England. Victorian English verses modern slang? Look at this excerpt.
`Do not take it too much to heart,' Alexandre said, watching her pace around the lounge. He stood in front of her and put a hand on her arm. `Your reaction was perfectly normal. Isobel would have screamed the house down and run for her life.' `Yeah, no offence to Isobel, but she's a Victorian chick and I'm supposed to be an enlightened street-wise hard-ass, not a wuss.'
`I maybe understood about three words in that sentence,' Alexandre replied. `Translation I'm embarrassed at being so scared of a skeleton and ashamed I treated Harold like that.' She covered her face and cringed as she remembered her over-reaction to the discovery of the skeleton.(excerpt)
Then there are some humorously presented pearls of wisdom like:
‘You can't start thinking what if. That's a short cut to a shit life.’ (excerpt)
The vampires in the Marchwood universe are also unique. Garlic, crosses, stakes to the heart, even an ax to the neck will not kill them. Oddly enough, the one thing that will is also the cure for the debilitating sleeping disease from which all vampires seem to suffer.
When you get to the last few chapters however, you will not be able to turn the pages fast enough while you sweat and panic towards the suspense-laden conclusion. Add to this some really tasteful romance and beautiful descriptions of nature and you have a book that is an absolute must read with the promise of a fantastic new series in the making. “Hidden” receives two thumbs-up and five well deserved stars! (Ellen Fritz)
(reviewed 43 days after purchase)