Hidden Pictures, by Johanna Flynn
Desperation and regret are a volatile basis for a friendship, or a reationship. Yet these powerful emotions draw together two unlikely souls who are each at very different, pivotal forks in the road of their lives. Gordon’s ancestors illustrate a glowing history of celebrated life tales as one of the founding families of the town. Gordon owned a hardware store for many years, but when he lost it due to hard times he took a job with the conglomerate that took it over. He lives in the Victorian family home and is a bit of a recluse since his wife died years ago. Ahead of himself he views only a creeping journey toward imminent retirement. Literally running into Gordon’s life and home is Olivia, a struggling high school student and nearby neighbor. The troubles in her life are overwhelming and force her into relentless situations where good choices are hard to find. She’s isolated, lonely, and misunderstood.
Have you viewed the Hidden Pictures of your life? These are not the happy selfies, or beloved portraits, or happy times, or special places. These are the truths that are hidden away because they are so hard to face. Some are literally photos, and some are shots within a person’s soul. This book is a view of a small community of people struggling with what they hide from others, and from themselves. Can facing these hard truths ultimately bring some happiness? And how can compassion soften that blow? As this awkward friendship has its starts and stops between Gordon and Olivia, it’s revealed how very critical this time in their lives is for each of them.
Around them neighbors and coworkers are playing out the drama in their own lives, and keeping hidden what they want to be private. There are people in this community who have literally kept hidden real photographs that tell a hideous, true, criminal story. These gruesome photos are the evidence that can stop the malicious assaults that are occurring in their town. But who are the people who are hiding this evidence? It’s not just the attacker. What are their motives? And will the photos and the truth be found before any other innocents are brutally hurt?
Hidden Pictures is an examination of how the generations can help each other. They can learn from each other. The author, Johanna Flynn, has crafted fascinating characters and their situations are all too realistic, and very human. We are what we have allowed ourselves to become. If we face what is hidden, could we be more? Maybe, with a little help from friends.
— By Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall is an author with The Wild Rose Press. Her mystery ‘Kat Out of the Bag’ is available as of April 13, 2020. She is also a volunteer at the Friends of the Edmonds Library