“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.” – Paul Coehlo
Author: Mia Kerick
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 180 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: After graduating from high school early, twenty-year-old Philippe Bergeron spent the past several years lost among the stars while fishing off the New England coast. A shoulder injury ends his dream of living reclusively on the water, and he finds himself lost among the bright lights of New York City. His older brother, Henri, has asked Philippe to chaperone his seventeen-year-old niece, Sophie, on her tours of the city’s legendary dance programs.
Sophie meets with professional dancer and choreographer, Dario Pereira, to prepare a routine for her college auditions. Dario’s cool perfection and immaculate style contrast with Philippe’s awkward scruffiness, but it wakes desires Philippe thought he’d left behind. When the attraction is surprisingly returned, Dario’s confidence won’t let Philippe remain invisible. Unsure but curious, Philippe relaxes his rule of isolation, and as the summer progresses, his relationship with Dario leads him to a surprising discovery of his submissive sexual tendencies and a greater sense of self-awareness.
Tragedy threatens to destroy the connections Philippe has made and forces him to retreat into the shadows of his past, far from the radiance of Dario’s love. Ultimately, he must decide if it is time to stop hiding and set himself free.
Review: I find that sometimes the written blurb about a novel gives so much information that a summary by myself is merely a rehashing of the same. So, if you have not skimmed the blurb above, please do so, for I want to get right to the heart of what made Out of Hiding by Mia Kerick such an incredibly compelling and worthwhile novel to read.
Author Mia Kerick delves deeply into the idea of loss and its resulting effects on the mind of children when she takes on the character of Phillipe Bergeron. With his mother’s death at the age of ten, he withdraws inside himself, becoming suicidal and finally, simply shutting down all emotions that may lead him to love another person so completely ever again. His young mind will set the stage for a future that requires him to hide away, never engaging his heart in such a way that would allow him to let another person really see him or love him. Phillipe’s misguided belief that his remaining apart from his family and never entertaining intimacy with another man beyond mutual getting off, lands him in a solitary life, devoid of friends, and alone.
Over and over, the author shows us how hiding for this man is a real form of self-preservation. His nights are haunted by the loss of his mother and the very real fear that loving anyone so completely is futile for everyone leaves him eventually, everyone dies and takes with them the love he so desperately needs.
When the dominant character of Dario Pereira is introduced, Phillipe must, for the first time, wrestle with the fact that he could quite possibly reveal himself to another man and experience love. Lured out of his hiding by this strong, yet, in many ways, equally vulnerable person, Phillipe begins to trust that he can push away the crippling fear he has lived with for so long and embrace love, finally.
The strength of this novel is twofold. First, author Mia Kerick is a brilliant writer of fully actualized and flawed characters. Those who people her novels are fully three dimensional, and we are allowed repeated glimpses at how they think and what motivates their choices. Never heavy-handed, the author develops the lives and emotions of her characters fully, and we feel immersed in their lives as a result. These men Ms. Kerick creates pull huge emotions from the reader, involving them completely in the carefully crafted lives she has described them as having. There were moments when my heart really wept for Phillipe and then cheered Dario on as he pried open the steel door that his lover, Phillipe, had closed around his heart. The raw emotions that swirled around her characters lent credibility to their authenticity and made for a story that was bound to draw the reader in.
The second piece of near perfection that sets this author’s storytelling apart is the intricately developed plot. With each new chapter, Ms. Kerick unfolds yet another aspect of Phillipe’s or Dario’s past that gives us just one more needed clue as to why these two men operate as they do. Out of Hiding never wanders aimlessly or gives us superfluous information that is not critical to understanding why and how these men became who they are at the story’s opening. Sex between these two never drives the novel, rather it becomes another tool for the author to reveal just a bit more about her men and what they fear or what motivates them. There was never a moment when I felt that any piece of this story could have been cut away to tighten or streamline the plot; rather, every word was needed to make this story complete and provoking.
Out of Hiding by Mia Kerick took the idea of the devastating effects of loss and showed us that only when we let go of our fear can we give the heart its wings to find the love it needs to thrive. Never cavalier with the emotional devastation that depression can have, the story meets those truths head on and allows for the idea that a person can heal, can live a full life and can thrive under the loving hand of another person. Out of Hiding by Mia Kerick is simply outstanding, and I highly recommend this novel to you.