Cover Image: The Hidden Hours

The Hidden Hours

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Member Reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I read it in one sitting as I found it hard to leave it down and I just wanted to know the ending and it kept me guessing right up to the end x
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Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.  Unfortunately I foung that it was not for me. I struggled to het into it & found that the main character was very unlikeable.  It wasn't a terrible book just a little bit slow & predictable for me
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Ooooo i ended up staying up all night reading i was gripped and just couldb't put it down i just needed to know what happened next i really enjoyed it.
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Complex thriller with lots of suspects and surprises. A varied bunch of characters who all have secrets make this an interesting read.
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This is my first (if many to come) Sara Foster book and I was absolutely hooked! A fantastic, psychological ‘who dunnit’ thriller with a sub plot that’s equally as compelling.

If I had to compare this book to another I’ve read. I would say that Foster’s dark, creeping style has echoes ‘Dark Places’ Gillian Flynn. Whilst the plots are wildly different they both follow a trend of truth vs perceived reality.

The writing style is excellent, each chapter starts with a short paragraph from someone else’s perspective which gives the main story depth and realism. Running throughout the book is a past timeline of Eleanor’s childhood, in particular her family’s relocation, build of their family home and ultimately the trauma that Eleanor is running away from.

Sara Foster writes her main character as being in her early twenties but if anything I always felt she acted much older than she was. Eleanor is no ‘little girl lost’ she’s a strong, independent woman which only makes her story more powerful and believable from my point of view.

There are a few red herrings in this book, some obvious and others so tantalising you’ll struggle to put it down because you just need to know!

Fab read, definitely going to check out some more by this author. Thanks to NetGalley for my advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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How scary to think that hours in your life can just be blanked out and you are left with no recollection? Eleanor comes over from Australia to live with her family in London. After a troubled past, she's hoping for a better future but all is not what it seems and she's soon drawn into a nightmare. This book touches on mental health issues, anxiety, fear and loneliness. Its an excellent thriller with a twist at the end that I did not see coming. Thoroughly enjoyed and although this is my first book by the author, it definitely won't be my last!!
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Thank you NetGalley for this advanced copy. When i requested this book, I went looking for others by her. I couldn't get into any of them. However, I love Christmas book and this sounded promising. I  gave up after a few chapters; like I did with her others. I don't know what it is, but i cannot get into her books.
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Eleanor Brennan is a troubled young woman from Australia who moves to London to see more of the world and escape the demons that  have pursued her since the traumatic events that scarred her childhood. Staying with her Uncle,her mother's Brother, her Aunt,a high-flying CEO who gets her a job in her publishing company ,and her 2 young cousins Eleanor quickly realises that all is not well in her relatives'family unit. While attending a staff Christmas party Eleanor feels lonely and is about to leave when she is approached and befriended by Arabella,the wife of Nathan Lane who is Eleanor's direct boss. The 2 women let rip,excessive amounts of alcohol are consumed with a sprinkling of drugs and Arabella ends up dead with Eleanor waking up the next morning with no memory of events.

That's the beginning of The Hidden hours by Sara Foster, which was shortlisted for Australia's prestigious Davitt Award for female Australian crime writers in 2018 and is at the time of this review being adapted for  Australian TV.

Inevitably any book by a female Australian crime writer is going to measured against Jane Harper and Ms Foster is definitely in the same class. As the story progresses it splits into 2 time lines showing Eleanor's childhood experiences as well as the progress of the investigation into Arabella's death in London with the 2 deftly knitting together at the story's denouement. 
The book is full of flawed characters, not least Eleanor and Sara Foster brings to life both London in winter , the total contrast of the remote Australian Bush  and Eleanor's feelings of loneliness and isolation in both. 
This is a great mystery thriller with Eleanor's past affecting all aspects of what happens to her London, if you're already a fan of Jane Harper you'll enjoy this.
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Thanks so much to netgalley and Legend Press for the chance to read this, it has literally kept me up all night whilst I tried to get my head around the twists and turns. 

Eleanor is a young Australian woman working in a London publishing house. During a Christmas boat party, one of the company's leading members of staff is found dead in the water and Eleanor was one of the last people to see her. The story moves between the present day and Eleanor's childhood trauma, and how the past always affects the present. 

I loved it, lots to get caught up in, great characters and a strong storyline -5/5 from me!
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Sara Foster is a new author for me and I was absolutely enthralled by this book it evoked so many emotions. 
Main character is Eleanor who has travelled to London from Australia to live with her maternal uncle, his wife and two daughters. Eleanor has suffered trauma in her younger years and we learn more about that throughout the book. 
Her aunt is CEO of a well established publishing company and she secured a temporary position for Eleanor as a PA to one of the firm’s partners, Nathan Lane. 
Following a Christmas party held for all of the employees Nathan’s wife Arabella is found dead floating in the river Thames - foul play or an accident ?
Eleanor has no recollection of what happened after the party or how she got home but she was in possession of Arabellas engagement ring. Eleanor is desperate to find out the truth but doesn’t know who to trust. 
Strong storyline, believable characters, and set at a perfect pace. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Ms Fosters work.
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“The Hidden Hours” is the latest psychological suspense novel by bestselling author Sara Foster. British born but now living in Australia, Sara has written a very intriguing mystery set in London but with a timeline dating back to 2004 in Australia. 
When Arabella Lane is found dead floating in the Thames after the office Christmas party, it’s not known if she jumped or was pushed. The one person who may know the truth is twenty one year old, Eleanor Brennan, the recently joined office temp. Eleanor has only just arrived in England to stay with her aunt and uncle after escaping her demons and traumatic childhood in Australia. However, she has no memory of the tragic night and faces incrimination and accusation. Unsure of who she can trust and with secrets aplenty, can she discover those missing hours and help solve the mystery of Arabella’s death?
I loved the layout of the story with paragraphs at the start of each chapter giving an insight into what is still happening outside of that particular chapter and was an ingenious idea to incorporate into the narrative. 
Eleanor is an enigma and an obvious unreliable narrator but although I didn’t take to her character at first, the more I became invested in the story, the more my feelings for her grew, especially as her childhood story is slowly revealed. Most of the cast of characters are unlikeable, which presumably is the author’s intent but I did endear to Naeve, Eleanor’s cousin, an astute but deep young girl who observes from afar and is fully aware of the animosity within the family. 
I really enjoyed how the reader was drip fed Eleanor’s life back in Australia and the events leading up to why she needed to escape. I instantly felt the atmospheric Australian outback and the abject loneliness and despair. Solomon was an interesting character and made for an intriguing thread in the storyline.
Overall this was certainly a compelling and very engaging thriller, though I suspect hardened psychological genre readers may find it a little slow paced. However, this gave it atmosphere and allowed for the multitude of emotional themes to really express themselves. With a Hitchcock feel - keeping the revelation right to the end pages - I enjoyed “The Hidden Hours” and will now look out for this author’s previous novels and any she may publish in the future. 

4 stars.
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Eleanor is a young Australian in London, escaping from a complicated childhood and tragic events in her adolescence.  Like so many backpackers, she is drifting a bit, glad to get a place to stay with an uncle she barely knows and a temporrary job in the same company as his wife.  She's invited to the Christmas party and has drinks with Arabella Lane, beautiful wife of her boss,  Shortly after that, Arabella dies in suspicious circumstances.   Eleanor realises that the gaps in her memory are more sinister than too many glasses of cheap fizz and tries to fill in the blanks.  
That brings her other memory gaps closer into focus, and puts her in grave danger.  

The action moves from contemporary London's glitz to the hard knocks of a rural Australian childhood.  For me, the fragmented memories of childhood secrets and lies were the more convincing and suspenseful than the London segments.  I was never convinced that Eleanor's responses to past traumas influenced her present actions in the face of a crisis so the two elements of the narrative felt disjointed.  Still, I kept reading, wanting to find out the denouements.
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spoiler alert ** I don't think I can really say this was more than ok.
Eleanor didn't inspire any feelings in me other than boredom... and the back story seemed unnecessary.
BUT I was interested to find what had happened to Arabella,and read about the intertwining of all these peoples lives.
I also enjoyed the little paragraphs at the start of every chapter,giving just enough info.

Looks like what I'm saying here,is I liked the book,but not the character!
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A real gem of a book. I found this a gripping story, I enjoyed finding out about Eleanors younger years, it explained why Eleanor was anxious kept herself detached - I loved the unraveling and suspense which built to a one heck of an ending to the book. I would read any of this authors books, truly fantastic. Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this wonderful novel.
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Arabella Lane is murdered following a work Christmas party. Eleanor Brennan has been with her for part of the night but is unable to recall the dramatic events leading up to her death. This murder evokes so much from Eleanor’s past in Australia and unleashes unsettling and frightening memories which she has never properly come to terms with. 

This is a really good psychological thriller, it’s well written and very engaging. I really like the sections at the start of each chapter which feels like scene setting for a play but also adds to the readers understanding. There is a lot of tension throughout the book especially in the relationships between the characters who are hiding guilty secrets. Many of the characters are interesting but unlikeable with some exceptions including Eleanor. She’s a loner and thus lonely, is carrying a multitude of demons, you feel her panicky mental fragility and fears and her claustrophobic desperation as the mystery surrounding Arabella’s death deepens. This drags Eleanor deeper into the mire of her past as well as in the present. So much in the household she lives in whilst in London mirrors the falling apart of her own family in Australia following a dramatic sequence of events. I really like the way the truth slowly unfurls  and the ever present tension ramps up.

My only small criticism is that we suddenly move to a dual time narrative about a third of the way through with events in London in 2016 alongside Australia in ‘04 to ‘05.  This took me by surprise, however, learning about Eleanor’s past is essential to understanding her in the present and so it does work despite the sudden jump. 

Overall, this is a really good psychological thriller which touches on a multitude of themes - loneliness, despair, secrets and guilt for example. It has twists, turns and shocks along the way and makes for compelling reading. 

With thanks to NetGalley and Legend Press for the arc in return for an honest review.
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An interesting premise with the potential to be a decent whodunit but it just doesn't work for me... I found Eleanor and her traumatic past that the reader is drip fed tiresome, none of the characters were likeable and I don't understand why the author chose the perspective they did.
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There are two things I don't like in thrillers. I don't like an insecure female lead who spends a lot of her time worrying internally and making up stories in her head. I also don't like when the story revolves around a character who consumes too much alcohol especially when it's the key element of the story. 

The first 50% of this book was going fully in the direction of my two most hated tropes. Confession time: I was considering putting the novel down, which I hardly ever do especially when I have received a copy from the publisher. 

I'm happy I didn't put it down though, because the last 50% of the book is actually pretty good. The suspense continually rises and by the end of it I was really wondering what had happened to Arabella. 

This novel is about Arabella Lane who is found dead in the Thames. No one is sure whether she has been pushed or whether she has jumped. It happened on the night of the big Christmas party of her company. Eleanor, our protagonist, was there but doesn't remember a thing because she was drugged/drunk. 

Eleanor is our tortured female lead. She escapes her past in Australia, and little by little we find out what has happened to her and her family there by means of alternating chapters. That's how the story is told, through Eleanor's eyes both then in Australia and now in London. There is also a paragraph reserved every chapter for people who have sighted Arabella or who knew her, but I don't really see the significance in terms of storytelling for those ones. 

The first 50% of the story Eleanor was in her head a lot. Feeling sorry for herself. For the situation. The usual. However, once the chapters in Australia started picking up speed, I became more and more invested in the story in London as well. I'm happy to report that I think this book ended up being an interested read. It helps that the author presents us with more than a murder mystery, because it also tackles the subject what secrets can do to a family.
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A brilliant crime thriller and definitely deserves the many accolades it has received. Brilliant well written and dark. Highly recommended xxx
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