The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton

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The small town of Sweet Bay, Alabama hides a house where Sara grew up with an embarrassingly eccentric grandmother named Mags, and all of her hippie friends who’d stayed on since the sixties. Sara escaped to a life in New Orleans with a shop of elegant knick knacks as soon as she could, and missed out on finding out from Mags just how much she is running toward a life much like her grandmother once had. Now that Mags has passed on, Sara has returned to restore the bed and breakfast to sell it, but the furniture hides a literal key carved into the wood which begins a story of who Mags was as a young woman, and the one who got away. The Hideaway is an escape to a small town where tragedy leads to hope, and more than just a house will be restored.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Furniture in shambles made Sara “fall in love with old, forgotten things.” Where did this come from in her life, and why did she appreciate the furniture more than the grandmother who filled her childhood home with such things?
  2. Why did Mags so enjoy the hard work of cleaning, cooking, and gardening, when her old life had never involved lifting a finger, but paying others to do tedious chores for her?

For more discussion questions, visit https://owlcation.com/humanities/The-Hideaway-Book-Review-and-Recipe.

The Recipe:

Mags loved looking out on her garden, and especially enjoying foods produced from it, particularly Bert’s strawberry pie. On the way to the doctor’s before she died, she asked him to make her some. Sara also loved choosing “the plump, ripe berries that Bert would later use in his pie.” It was one of the few things both women had in common.

Strawberry Pie Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

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Ingredients

  • salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • graham cracker crumbs
  • granulated sugar
  • buttermilk
  • vanilla extract
  • strawberry flavoring oil, (or candy flavoring)
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking soda
  • cake flour
  • baking powder
  • powdered sugar
  • large eggs, at room temperature
  • pureed fresh strawberries
  • oven-dried strawberries, (thin-sliced fresh berries baked at 200 F for 3 hours)

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Instructions

For full recipe and instructions, visit owlcation.com/humanities/The-Hideaway-Book-Review-and-Recipe.

Similar Books:

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is a hilarious story filled with savory herbs and delicious foods, and two sisters trying to find their way in life, one after returning to the town she left years ago.

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe by Mary Simses is about a woman who visits a New England town to deliver a letter from her grandfather, and unexpectedly finds a new life and the savoriness of blueberries.

The Forgotten Recipe is another tragic love story of a woman who loses her husband very young, but finds purpose again through her mother’s recipes and a bake stand.

The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford is about a woman who suffers a terrible loss and seeks a new life with her husband by turning a decrepit sea house into a comforting bed and breakfast.

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