The story is set in Sweden in an area that I had never heard of: The Stockholm Archipelago: a scattering of tiny islands, where many Swedes have holiday homes. Bel Everhurst is working as a nanny for the glamorous Mogert family: Max and Hanna, and their children Linus, Ellinor and Tilde. Out of the blue, Bel receives a phone call meant for Hanna, explaining that her husband has woken up. Bel is confused (She's just seen Max on his bicycle!) but when she passes on the message, Hanna collapses in shock. Hanna's first husband (Linus's father) fell into a coma seven years ago after a terrible accident. Now he's awake - and he wants his family back.
I loved this story. It was so refreshing to read a summer holiday story set somewhere I'd never heard of. The tiny islands with rustic cabins (no electricity, no Internet!) sounded idyllic. The way the mystery about Hanna's husband and his accident unfolded kept me gripped. I thought I knew the way the story was going to end but I was wrong - I love it when that happens! I think I fell in love with Emil. Again, it was refreshing to have a character who had issues, and whose health problems meant that he didn't always come across as nice or sympathetic. The way Bel interacted with the children was also lovely. She was such a sweet person - and her friends sounded like a lot of fun!
The Hidden Beach is an absolutely gorgeous read, one of my favourites this year. I found myself thinking about the story long after I'd finished it because the characters were so brilliantly drawn. Thoroughly recommended: The Hidden Beach is the perfect holiday (or staycation!) read.
The Hidden Beach will be published on the 9th of July 2020.
Thank you to Karen Swan and Pan Macmillan for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.