Dora Simon is comfortable in her retirement, indulging her interests in gardening and music. Joe O'Cleary is content on the Jersey farm he helped rebuild with its owner, Geoffrey Laurent, with time to pursue his life-long hobby of birdwatching. But their worlds are shattered by the arrival of Barbara Hummel, a young German anxious to track down the identity of a mysterious woman whose photograph she found among her mother's possessions.
Forced to resurrect long-buried secrets, and confront a past they never thought they would revisit, Dora and Joe's lives unravel – and entwine - in shocking and surprising ways. Trapped in the Channel Islands under the German occupation in the Second World War, Dora, a Jewish refugee, conceals her identity; Joe, a Catholic priest, conceals a secret. The consequences of the lies both are forced to live are as unexpected as they are devastating.
This is a heart rending and provocative story of love and betrayal, shame and survival, casting light into the forgotten or unknown shadows of war.
About the Author
Mary Chamberlain is a novelist and historian. Her debut novel, The Dressmaker of Dachau, was published in 18 countries. She is the author of non-fiction books on women's history and Caribbean history including Fenwomen, the first book published by Virago Press. She lives in London with her husband, the political theorist Stein Ringen.
"Recent novels such as The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society have taken the occupation as their subject, but none so potently as Mary Chamberlain’s The Hidden… As Chamberlain’s narrative moves between past and present….the realities of life under a ruthless occupying power are slowly, skilfully revealed."
"Beautiful, shocking and utterly absorbing, The Hidden casts light on an episode in our wartime history which is so rarely told... Mary Chamberlain writes beautifully about war, love and survival, brilliantly portraying the struggles of individuals, especially women, forced into desperate acts in order to endure."
Sarah Day, author of Mussolini's Island
"Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands, The Hidden is a powerful, heart-wrenching story of deception and guilt, love and loss; I was completely engrossed, seduced by its strong characters and atmosphere, and intrigued by the mystery at the heart of the novel."
Saskia Sarginson, author of The Twins
"This compelling and heart-rending novel is a potent reminder that the horrors of war aren’t limited to the battlefields. Nor do they cease when the guns fall silent. There are those who will carry the scars – emotional, physical and psychological – for the rest of their lives. There is scant justice. But in The Hidden, Chamberlain gives them credence and a voice."