Wednesday 22 November 2023

The Hidden Beach

Finished November 14
The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan

This novel has a lot going on. The main character, Bell Everhurst has been working as a nanny for three years for a professional couple in Stockholm. Bell is in her mid-twenties and, while English, had a Swedish grandmother and so speaks Swedish as well. The backstory for her presence in Stockholm comes out over the course of the book. 
The family she works for has a 9 year old son Linus, and twin girls, Elise and Tilde, who are four. Hanna is a physician and on the day the book begins, has had an emergency with a patient. When Bell takes a call from a clinic with an odd message, things as she know them, begin to unravel. 
With Linus's father emerging from a coma, things are now uncertain. He has significant influence, and Bell gradually senses that Hanna has less control of the situation than she would like. 
When summer arrives and the family goes off to their summer home, on a small island, things seem more normal, and Bell holds the fort there, entertaining and minding the kids during the day, with Hanna taking over after dark, and Max coming for the weekends. 
We also see Hanna's friends: her roommate Kris, a chef, and his doctor boyfriend Marc, and Tove, a server in the bar downstairs from their apartment. They also have a small cottage on the island archipelago, and often come down at weekends. 
When Midsommar arrives, Bell is given extra time off, and preps the friends place for their arrival, meeting a quiet man as she gathers supplies. While their first meeting doesn't go that well, there is a connection of sorts, and she sees him later during the festivities and still later, when taking a moment to herself. This night will set the scene for later developments, as Linus's father steps into the story in a bigger way. 
The story has an element of mystery, romance and lightheartedness, as well as a more serious plot underneath. Very enjoyable read. 

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