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Book Review: The Hidden Beach By Karen Swan


The plot does not appear to be in English on GR


I absolutely love Karen Swan’s books. I have read only two of her novels and I cannot wait to read the rest. They have this uplifting effect that we all crave in a book.

The Hidden Beach is a lovely summery novel featuring the likable main character Bell. She nannies for a family in Sweden and spends her summer on a idyllic island. However, as in most stories, all is not as it seems.

The characters have depth to them, and each of them have their own story to tell. I didn’t always understand their decisions and had conflicted opinions about them but this only made them so much more real for me. I loved Bell, she was easy – going but she also knew what she wants and her love for the children was special, they really were in good hands, I think there wasn’t a thing she wouldn’t do for them to protect them and keep them safe.

Linus’s trauma and heartbreak in this book is incredibly well written and handled. His confusion, uncertainty, being torn was so brilliantly captured that you will really fell for this boy.

You can’t not like the characters, no matter what. Emil tried really much to be unlikeable but he was such a complex character and there was so much more to him than meets the eye. Maybe it’s not easy to warm to him immediately, but quickly you start to feel sorry for him, for all that has happened to him and seeing how much he has lost. I didn’t approve all his decisions, but I also understood that he has suffered a traumatic head injury and lost 7 years of his life – just imagine it, everything and everybody moving on and you staying at the same place as 7 years ago.

I didn’t know what to think about Hanna, she was like enigma to the end of the story. She seemed deceitful, don’t you think? Almost her every move and decision took me by surprise and no, I didn’t warm to her but I fell for her, just wait till the end with judging her.

As usual, the plot is complex and also filled with mysteries. The author brings the setting effortlessly to life again, showing us the beauty of Sweden in all its glory, with beautiful islands and traditions. Also, I always adore the career paths she chooses for her characters, they’re so different and refreshing.

This was a captivating read exploring family dynamics, loss and grief, thought – provoking and evocative and you’ll be asking yourself all the time what would you do in the same situation and will be happy that you don’t have to decide. This is what I like in Karen Swan’s novel, that she’s not shy of writing about difficult and taboo things without judging them herself.

The story is full of surprises and twists and often you simply don’t know what’s going to come, as the author takes you on a rollercoaster and heart – wrenching journey.

4/5 Stars

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