I had the most amazing opportunity this month! Thanks to the team at Tandem Collective UK, I participated in a #Readalong on Instagram for The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan. The book is published by the amazing team at Pan Macmillan.
And I can immediately say – this experience was, so far, the highlight of my reading year!
Together with a number of amazing bookstagrammers, we read this book in 5 days, chatting about the plot twists and the ending. By the end of the second day, we were all in love with Karen Swan’s writing and decided to do another readalong for August. I also had the chance to participate in a Live Q&A session with Karen Swan herself and win a prize for being a runner-up to the quiz. And on top of everything, I visited my mum on the weekend, and we talked about books we’re reading. And to my surprise, she owns FOUR books of Karen Swan already! So we decided to swap some books, and I came home with four more books I want to read!
We will be reading The Greek Escape by Karen Swan in August – so please shout if you have this book and want to join us!
I shared my readalong journey on my Instagram, and the highlights are still up, in case you want to have a look at my journey! I always share posts and stories of the books I am currently reading – so don’t forget to follow for more updates.
In the oldest part of Stockholm, Bell Everhurst is working as a nanny for an affluent family. Hanna and Max Von Greyerz are parents to 7 year-old Linus, and 5-year old twins Ellinor and Tilde, and Bell has been with the family for over two years.
One early Spring morning, as she’s rushing out to take the children to school, she answers the phone – and everything changes. A woman from a clinic she’s never heard of asks her to pass on the message that Hanna’s husband is awake.Bell is confused. She clearly just saw Max walking out of the house a few minutes earlier, but the woman mentioned Hanna by name…
When she gets hold of her employer, the truth is revealed: Hanna’s first husband fell into a coma seven years earlier, following a terrible accident. He has been in a Persistent Minimally Conscious State since and there was very little hope of further improvement. But now he’s awake. And life is going to change for them all.
I absolutely adored this book! I loved it so much, that I am unsure how to contain all my impressions in a well-written review.
Let’s start with the setting.
It is set in Stockholm, on the coast, during summer. The descriptions about the place and the season really fit the mood. There is also a midsummer festival in the book which made me feel as if I was transported there, dancing with people from the town and enjoying the sunshine.
The characters have that aura about them, that makes you want to know them. Or they happen to remind you of someone you know, but you can’t just recall where you know them from. They are so familiar, but distant at the same time. Each of them carrying their weight on their shoulders and each of them having their separate story.
We meet Bell – the nanny, who has her own reasons of why she decides to become a nanny and stay in Stockholm longer than she needed to. Her love for the children, especially for Linus is so adorable, and I can understand why she is so protective of him.
I felt for Linus.
The trauma he is going through in this book is heartbreaking, he’s introduced to his real father, but he doesn’t remember him. The way some situations are handled also doesn’t do him any favours and just contributes to his confusion and anger, and I completely understand him. It is a very difficult situation to be in.
The most intriguing character in this book is definitely the husband that was in coma. Losing seven years of your life is devastating. One day – you have everything, and then you wake up to find out that your wife is with another person, happy, and has more children of her own with another man. And all you want to do is bring them back. Just like it was. Like time never passed. But time did pass. And people continued living…
Very emotional read.
I had all emotions flowing in me at certain moments. Sometimes I had conflicted opinions about some decisions the characters made. I had suspicions, hopes and anticipated a lot. And I loved it. It ended on a very (for me) satisfying ending, and I got the result I was hoping to get.
I definitely recommend you pick up this book straight ahead – it’s simply amazing! The perfect summer read with thriller elements, plot twists like you’ve never seen before and a subtle touch of romance.