Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hiding in Sunshine - A Novel by John and Caitlin Stuart

In the past I have explained a little about the company Influenster and how they occasionally send out boxes of products (VoxBoxes) to the folks who sign up for and use their website to discuss the products and review them. You can read all about it and find out how you can become an Influenster and try new and exciting products in this post - Influenster = Excitement!

 I was lucky enough to be selected for the recent Holiday VoxBox which was loaded with goodies from all kinds of companies like Goody, Kiss, NYC New York Color, Quaker and EBoost.  As an extra special item they sent some "bookworm" members out copies of a new book called "Hiding in Sunshine" written by a father daughter team - John and Caitlin Stuart and I was one of the lucky readers.  This is a quick review and a synopsis (without spoilers!) so you can see if you might like to read it too!

The book starts with an introduction to a young family - a father who is a computer tech genius and has made a very comfortable affluent life for his wife and two young daughters.  He is called upon by a large banking conglomerate to assist with their security systems as an analyst and he proves to them quickly that the money tied up in banks, credit cards and the virtual banking system is not as safe as it seems.  

A series of events leads the family to believe that someone may be trying to gain access to their home and also to the father's high tech computer equipment.  When it becomes apparent that a ring of dangerous foreign criminals have targeted the family and the father in particular as a person of interest to utilize in their plots against the U.S. government they go into hiding with the help of the FBI.  While deep undercover in a new life they have made for themselves the criminals take actions that terrorize the American public by rocking the country's banking industry through a multi-billion dollar heist.  The father and his family need to disappear even deeper into the country, living "off the grid" in the Montana wilderness and trying to piece his life back together without the aid of computers and the technology which had been his mainstay.  The story is about how the family sticks together through eleven years of "hiding in sunshine" - hoping that one day they can return to the happy life they led prior to the upheaval and constant turmoil that their day to day existence has become.  

Although the novel first focuses on the father, the older of the two daughters is also a central character.  As she grows and becomes curious why her parents aren't more like the traditional mothers and fathers she sees around her, she investigates and works out pieces of the puzzle of who she is and who she once was.  It is the daughter who really moves the story along, bringing new pieces of the puzzle to light as she examines them from a more innocent child's perspective and she is also the hope that runs through the story.

I liked this book, although I do admit there were many times when it I was frustrated with the pace of the storytelling.  There are many reports that are cited as letters to or from FBI agents, newspaper articles, segments of speeches and miscellany that are talking about the world outside that the family has no direct contact with.  I found myself skimming most of these sections, hoping there would be more of the interesting story line with the daughters or that they would revisit some other minor characters like the hesitant friends they make while in hiding.  There is a lot of information about banking and finance that the story is centered around and I wasn't as interested in it.  It is critical to the story but it is also stated repetitively and in great detail which I didn't find very interesting.

In all the story is wrapped very neatly with a detailed tying up of all the loose ends.  You get to find out the why behind a lot of details that happen very early in the novel and there were some exciting twists that I truly didn't see coming.  It was a satisfying ending and you really get to know and care about the characters so you go on the journey with them.

I would recommend this book.  I gave it a three out of five star ratings on the Goodreads website and also on  You can go here to the Goodreads website - GoodReads/ Hiding in Sunshine or to the Amazon page for the book if you are interested in purchasing it and giving it a go for yourself - Amazon/ Hiding in Sunshine also you can see what other Influensters have to say about it - it is a top product on the Influenster site and received an average review of A- Influenster/ Hiding in Sunshine reviews.

I was also fortunate to attend a Twitter party with the authors this week.  They said it took them two years to write the novel and that they researched it and wrote it together although it was originally Caitlin's idea.  I asked if writing as a father/teenage daughter was stressful and Caitlin replied "Yeah!  For sure!  But I know my Dad so much better now!"  I also spoke about how the book really sheds light on how much of our personal information is out there, vulnerable to attack from hackers, and how easy it would be for the country to fall into a economic collapse if the information were to get into the wrong hands and they said "we are trying to make as many folks aware as possible of this new reality".  After reading the novel you will be MUCH more aware of giving out your personal information and I did learn some really interesting things about the technology behind banking that I had no knowledge of.  

So there you are!  If you want to read it there are tons of links above to find out more and if you are local and would like to borrow my copy I would gladly loan it to you.  I hope you all had a great day today and that it was filled with moments of bliss.  I'll be back soon with some pictures of my new Kitchenaid mixer my husband got me for Valentine's day.  Some of you might not think that is romantic, but it makes me swoon!  Baked goods!  Awesomesauce!!! 

Much love to y'all!

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