The Hidden Side

Written by Heidi Chiavaroli
Review by Diane Scott Lewis

Natalie works at a Christian radio station in 2016 New York. She uses the name Skye for privacy. She gives advice and healing prayers to her listeners. But when her teenaged son Chris is accused of a dreadful crime, she believes God has deserted her, and questions her ability as a mother. How could she have missed her son’s torment?

Maelynn is Chris’s twin, though they’ve grown apart. She’s dating Jason, the popular boy in school, but she hides an embarrassing secret about their relationship, one that has her questioning her faith. Chris’s suffering at school, which he has mostly hidden, is overlooked by both these women in his family.

In 1776 New York, young Mercy is in love with Nathan Hale. When Nathan is hanged for being a spy for the patriots, Mercy joins the spy ring to avenge his death. She pretends to be a loyalist and attracts the ardor of the very charming Major John Andre of the King’s Army. She gathers details of army movements and passes them on to General George Washington. Would God approve of her duplicity?

All three of these women put on facades they later regret.

There’s only a slight connection between these eras and people. In fact, the stories could have been told as two different novels, with more character details—and in Mercy’s case descriptions of the time period, plus the causes of the revolution. These three women are sympathetic, yet Maelynn holds onto her love for Jason, to Chris’s detriment, for far too long. The stories had me engrossed, especially the modern one. However, and I realize this is Christian fiction, the religious expounding could have been cut by a third. Recommended for Christian fiction fans.