As a lifelong Southerner, it is almost imperative that I enjoy Southern fiction. “The Hideaway” exceeded my expectations. This book, while often poignant, expresses some of the best aspects of living in a southern small town, especially the residents.

“The Hideaway” is a charming yet revealing story about a young woman who returns home after her grandmother’s death in order to take care of related business. Intending to return to her own business in New Orleans, Sara finds herself committed to restoring the family B&B. In the process, Sara learns who her grandmother truly was and in doing so discovers herself and possibly love.

It would be too easy to elaborate and reveal a few spoilers but I will refrain from doing so. I did love this book and after reading it would be most interested in relocating to a town like Sweet Bay, if such a place existed. Lovely book!

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book that was provided by Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever knew in life.

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 The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering her grandmother’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 drywall 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 her grandmother’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.


Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. The Hideaway is her first novel.


Twitter: @LaurenKDenton