The Ways We Hide

Written by Kristina McMorris
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

Fenna Voss is an escape artist—of Depression-era Copper Country Michigan, of orphanage abuse, of her stage career as a magician inspired by Houdini, and of her MI9 service of inventing gadgets to help people escape the horrors of occupied Europe during World War II.

Fenna’s partner in surviving childhood trauma and trials is her lifelong friend Arie, whose family takes her in after her father’s death. When the friends discover a mutual passion between them, Arie offers love and marriage. And yes, she escapes him too.

They find each other again in World War II service, traveling to Utrecht, as British-backed spies on a dangerous mission. A particularly vicious Nazi officer is holding Arie’s five-year-old niece hostage to break the back of local resistance. The pair must free her and return together.

Framed by on-the-record tragedies and Britain’s famed use of special skills in its MI9 efforts, The Ways We Hide makes for compelling reading, both as an historical novel and a sad rumination on the lifelong scars of childhood trauma. A little less dwelling on the “what-ifs” of plot points and decision possibilities, and more judicious editing might have made for an even stronger book.