After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.
Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.
Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.
When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.
I’m just going to go ahead and call it right now, Lauren K. Denton’s The Hideaway is on my list of favorite reads for 2017!! From start to finish, I was emotionally invested in this read and couldn’t put this book down!!
Margaret van Buren, Mags to her friends, is a fixture in her small town. In all her decades, Mags has come to be known as the slightly nutty old lady who owns and operates the once beautiful, but now rundown bed and breakfast known as The Hideaway. Mags is kind and generous, caring and devoted, and determined and independent. Most know The Hideaway to be more refuge than fully functioning bed and breakfast, but what most don’t know is The Hideaway was once a refuge for its long-time proprietor. In fact, if it weren’t for The Hideaway, Mags’ life may have been radically different.
For years, Sara has made her life in New Orleans where she owns a specialty shop and works as an interior designer. When time permits, and it often does not, Sara returns to The Hideaway to visit her grandmother, Mags. Never, not in her wildest dreams would Sara have suspected she would one day be the proud owner of The Hideaway. In fact, Sara has never considered returning home until she gets the call about Mags’s death. In an instant, everything Sara has known and built gets turned upside down as Mags’s will requires her to not only return to The Hideaway, but to restore it to its former glory.
With the decision made to renovate, Sara digs in and plays to her skills and talents turning The Hideaway into a beautiful home and a once-again fully functioning bed and breakfast. Digging through the old house and sorting Mags’s belongings gives Sara chance to understand her grandmother in a way she never has before. Sara find secrets and stories never told which impacts her own life as much as they did Mags’s life. With each new revelation, Sara finds herself feeling closer to her grandmother than ever before and seriously considering spending the rest of her life at The Hideaway.
The Bottom Line: I absolutely loved this book even though it made me cry 😊 The Hideaway isn’t just a story, but the recounting of the life of one woman who overcame adversity, sacrificed her own happiness for the sake of others, and made a place for herself in the world. Mags’s life was full of both great sorrow and tremendous joy and that all plays out as her granddaughter brings her beloved bed and breakfast back to life. This is a story of discovery, of love lost and found, of great caring and friendship, and overwhelming emotion. The past meets the present as Sara struggles to understand her own place in the world and learns to accept that what she thought she knew and wanted may not be what’s best for her in the long run. The Hideaway is a beautifully woven together tale sure to captivate the reader.