Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Something To Hide by Deborah Moggach

Title:  Something to Hide

Author: Deborah Moggach
Publisher: 2nd July 2015 by Random House UK, Vintage Publishing, Chatto & Windus
Pages: 256 pages
How I Read It: ARC ebook
Genre: women's fiction, 
My Rating: 3 cups

No matter where you are in the world, you'll have something to hide...

PETRA, PIMLICO: sixty-several, ever-single. But is she about to find love, albeit with a fatal catch?

BEV AND JEREMY, WEST AFRICA: their marriage is one long adventure, according to Bev in her round robins. But can she, or Jeremy, be trusted?

LI-JING, CHINA: struggling with her husband's inability to have children, and mystified by his strange business trips to West Africa. Is her small, quiet life about to change forever?

LORRIE, TEXAS: about to embark on the biggest deception of her life. But will it be worth it?

Discover how these unlikely characters connect in this warm, witty and wise novel from the hugely popular author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

My Thoughts
Deborah Moggach is the author of 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel', a movie I enjoyed and thought to sample the author of that inspiration. The tale, 'Something to Hide' is about the unexpected twists in life and that no matter where you are in the world, everybody may ultimately have something to hide.
"What do I do with all the laughter and all the unsaid words that fill my brain? There's so many things I want to tell someone; where do I put all that stuff?"
The focus of the story is on three women - Lorrie in the USA, Jing and her husband in China and Petra in London - with Moggach attempting to demonstrate the global connectedness (six degrees of separation springs to mind) of what is ultimately universal scenarios: love and lies. There are some interesting characters - which given the above outline, obviously come from very different backgrounds - all of them having 'something to hide'. I think that Moggach does a reasonable job of managing the link between each of these seemingly separate tales (some a little too convenient, however, it was a huge undertaking) and the lengths people will go to in protecting their secrets. 
"It's all chance, the toss of a coin. You meet somebody who will change your life; at that moment, the story of your future begins to be written."
A positive is how Moggach captures four distinct world locations - London, Texas, Japan and Africa. Descriptions were rich and true, from old fashioned English pub's to the dusty markets found in Africa. It's a fast paced read (not that many pages) covering relationships and therefore never really any lull in reading - Moggach's writing is entertaining.
At times Moggach appeared to gloss over some of the character situations, especially towards the conclusion which I found rather frustrating and convenient. The middle aged Petra (London) is given more time whereas I would really have enjoyed a similar insight into Lorrie's (Texas) story especially as her answer to covering up losing the family life savings is extreme to say the least, interesting at best, but not given good closure by the conclusion. The conclusion in fact, left me feeling unsatisfied as, especially with regards to Lorrie's movements, appeared out of character and rather unrealistic. 
I did enjoy the premise and overall it was a satisfactory read. But whether due to the short length or difficulty in making genuine and realistic global connections, some of the developments were a little too convenient and shallow - I had trouble believing some of the results. 
"What if we just started out again and had another life?"

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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