"Hidden" is a story about the sudden death of Jeff Manning and the way it affects his wife and the woman he had an affair with. Jeff Manning is an ordinary accountant, living in the small town he was born in with his family. In the very beginning of the story, after not a particularly good Friday at work, Jeff gets hit by a car and dies.
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His death strikes not only his wife, Claire, and his son, Seth, but a colleague of him also - Patricia Underhill. While the book moves back and forward in time, it describes the story of Jeff and Claire's marriage. It has been important to Jeff to move back to his home town of Springfield after college, which leads to him breaking up with his college girlfriend. Claire is a lawyer and Jeff meets her when he decides to start building up his practice as an accountant. She looks familiar and it only takes a few minutes for him to realize Claire is the ex girlfriend of his estranged older brother Tim. Actually, it becomes clear that the reason Tim and Claire end their relationship was that Tim wanted to travel and Claire had to go back to Springfield to work with her father, also a lawyer.
Claire and Jeff's relationship goes through the happy honey-moon faze rather quickly. After he proposes, he understands he will have to get a steady job and quits his small accountant practice. Claire gives birth to their son, Seth, but has problem during her second pregnancy and looses the child. Something breaks in her then and she quits her lawyer practice and opens a day care - "Playthings".
While focused in their own problems, Jeff and Claire start feeling distant. Jeff loves golf and it is on the golf course during a company trip that he first meets Patricia, or Tish. They are both with their spouses at the time and do not really get to know each other well.
As Jeff grows in the big company he works in, he comes to the point where he needs to fire someone. He has to undertake a class of how to do that with HR and this is where he sees Tish again. Patricia works in the HR department in the "other Springfield" - a work slang, caused by the fact that their company has opened an office in another town called Springfield. The two quickly find many common interest and start texting and e-mailing more often than normal. Flirting sneaks in.
After Jeff's death, Tish is sent to attend the funeral on the company's behalf. Jeff's brother and Claire's old boyfriend, Tim, is also there. Tish and Claire touch basis and remember they have seen each other before - on the same company retreat where Jeff first met Tish. A series of events bring Claire to the suspicion that her husband and this woman may have had an affair and after the funeral she flies to the "other Springfield" to face Patricia.
The book explores issues of trust, loss, emotional distance and betrayal, which shake two normal american families. Until the very end we wonder if Jeff and Tish actually had a physical contact, or was their affair more dangerous one - one of strong feelings.
Best part of story, including ending:
The story is written in a way that makes the ordinary interesting. We find sense in all actions and events and witness how simple life's twist and turns are sometimes greater than the greatest fairy tale.
Best scene in story:
At the end of the book we finally understand how Jeff and Tish's affair unfolds and what their plans for the future have been, had Jeff not died.
Opinion about the main character:
Jeff Manning grows up as a simple boy, living in the shadow of his older brother. Had he not met Tish and died, there probably wouldn't be anything special about him, but there is. Jeff feels like a lost piece of a puzzle, who doesn't live long enough to find himself falling on the right place.