Thanks to Net Galley and HACHETTE BOOKS I was lucky enough to receive an ARC copy of THE HIDING GAME, the latest novel from Louise Phillips. The novel, published today, is a gripping courtroom drama and you can read my recommendation HERE.
What struck me while reading this latest thriller are the themes of grief and mother/child relationships that feature strongly in The HIDING GAME, so I asked Louise to expand on her inspiration for the story.
Louise: I was four years old when my infant sister died. A year later, my brother was still born. Both tragedies deeply affected our family. For years my mother kept the unworn baby clothes of my sister and brother in a large cardboard box on the top of a wardrobe, unable to let them go. In 1997, as a young mother, I watched the televised trial from Boston of Louise Woodward, a nineteen-year-old nanny accused of killing the infant in her care. The story never quite left me. Several years later my mother died, and I understood true heart break for the first time. Afterwards I began to reflect on my mother’s life, especially the loss of my infant sister to a cot death, and later, my brother. ‘The Hiding Game’ is not autobiographical, or based on my mother’s life, but within this fictional story I hope a certain commonality of human experience is explored, sometimes within the context of loss, trauma, secrets and lies, and on other occasions, injustice, and murder.
And journeying through the research while holding the emotional anchor of her fictional story?
Louise: In 2016, the motivation to write this novel took me on a self-funded research trip to Boston Massachusetts, where I met with detectives from the Major Crime Unit in Cambridge, forensic pathologists specialising in the area of paediatric neurology, and members of the judicial system. Later, I spent time in Cohasset, a small town on the South Shore. I wanted to place my characters in a fictional world which was both small and powerful in equal measure, where the minuteness of small-town life places everyone under a microscope, especially those considered to be outcasts, or less worthy. The emotional anchor for this story is a simple one. The death of an infant changes everything, and the death of a mother, the break in the mother-child bond, changes everything too.
THE HIDING GAME will be officially launched by Colm Hayes of Radio Nova, and takes place on Tuesday, 6:30pm, September 10th at the Gutter Book Shop, Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 8.