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-Publishers Weekly starred review on These Things Hidden
"There's a particular darkness to her heartland, rife as it is with predators and the walking wounded, and her unsentimental take on the milieu manages to find some hope without being maudlin."
-Publisher Weekly on The Weight of Silence
"Heather Gudenkauf skillfully weaves an explosive tale of suspense and...the healing power of love."
-#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs on The Weight of Silence
"Heather Gudenkauf is one of those rare writers who can tell a tale with the skill of a poet while simultaneously cranking up the suspense until it's unbearable."
-New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen
"Brilliantly constructed, this will have you gripped until the last page."
-Closer on The Weight of Silence
"Fans of Jodi Picoult will devour this great thriller."
-Red Magazine on The Weight of Silence
"The Weight of Silence is a cleverly crafted exercise in sustaining tension. Her technique is faultless, sparse and simple and is a master class in how to construct a thriller...A memorable read...a brave first novel."
Posted June 26, 2012
Heather Gudenkauf has amazed me before with her poignant and oftentimes difficult to read novels, but this time she goes above and beyond with this tale of the worst nightmare that, a school, parents, teachers and a town should ever endure. She had me gritting my teeth and holding my breath from the first page had me so entranced that I read it in one sitting. She brought me characters that had my sympathy, my empathy and my respect from the beginning and by the end I knew each one intimately. Her storyline is one that you could easily find on any media source local or national and as she tells her main tale she intersperses mini stories of the lives and challenges of her amazing characters and in doing so makes stars of them all. Her narrative is succinct and pull no punches and her dialogue gives perfect voices to her players.
If you’re looking for a novel with substance and depth, a read that will make you think and relish the quote “there for the grace of God go I” this is your one Must Read of the summer.
In a small farming community in Iowa disaster is about to strike on the last day of school before spring break. With a snow storm brewing and temperatures falling to frigid a desperate man walks into the Broken Branch K-12 school building and begins his reign of terror. More than a thousand miles away a woman is painfully recovering from burns suffered from a fire who thought sending her children to her childhood home in Broken Branch Iowa would be safe and has no idea what awaits them. A local policewoman dreads time off without her daughter not knowing what her last day on the job before vacation will be bringing her. A grandfather struggling caring for his grandchildren who were virtual strangers has no idea what he or they will face this day. A third grade teacher is about to learn what sacrifice really is. An angry misplaced teen right in the middle of it all will learn about bravery. All these people will be connected in a way that no person should ever have to experience and “One Breath Away” is all it takes to change these lives forever.
10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 15, 2012
She just keeps getting better. The best one yet, and the other two were good. I got an advance reader copy on e-bay and I could not put it down. What a great story. This could happen anywhere.
8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 27, 2012
GREAT BOOK! CANNOT PUT IT DOWN!! Highly suggest as a must read! Seriously may be up all night reading and it is totally worth it!
6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 26, 2012
Posted July 9, 2012
I have read Heather Gudenkauf"s other novels, all good, but One Breath Away is her best! I was engaged in the plot from the brginning and read it in a day - could not put it down.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 2, 2013
Posted December 18, 2012
Posted October 8, 2012
An author told me that Heather Gudenkauf was her favorite author and that she loved "One Breath Away". I had to read it next, I love to read books from different authors than I've read before - always searching for a gem. Well, this book is no gem, more like a ring from a vending machine. The book is poorly written, and seemed rather elementary. For the most part the characters were under developed, the plot so-so, the outcome predictable and the ending stunted. Some reviews indicate that the first two books from this author were much better. However, I don't know if I'll ever invest time and money into this authors previous work, since this book was so poorly written.
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 9, 2012
Once I started reading "One Breath Away", it was nearly impossible to put down! The plot was so intense; an unknown gunman in a school classroom, holding students hostage, and keeping the rest of the school in a lock down mode. Through the twists and turns it presented (what with police investigations causing you to believe the gunman was one person, when in reality, it was somebody else entirely) it was unbelievably suspenseful. The way that the author incorporated multiple character's point of views really made it easier to understand how many people are seriously affected by this event, rather than just simply the children in the school at the time. It's one of those amazing books that really gets you thinking about how the scenario it portrays could actually happen in reality at any moment. When you send your child off to school each and every day of the week, you are risking something as horrifying as what occurs in this book, happening to your child, while they are away from home. With this being said, I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys extremely intense plots in what they are reading, or to anyone who is willing to spend all day and all night reading it, for you truly do need to have a large amount of willpower to put it down!
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2015
I was not impressed with this book at all. The writing was "young" to me, and it seemed to have the characters doing some stuff that would never ever have happened in a real school shooting. Why didn't Augie try to help clear out some of the other classrooms and get those kids to safety as she's running through the school? It just seemed that, under the circumstances, the characters were too unbelievable. Seriously...Meg turns and runs into the building when the other officers' backs are turned??? Very immaturely written, as far as I am concerned.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 1, 2014
As usual this author kept me engaged all the way through. Very timely story that was easy to read and the shifting perspectives were particularly entertaining. Will definitely read more from Heather Gudenkauf.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 1, 2014
Posted December 22, 2013
One Breath Away...Breathtakingly Amazing
Title: One Breath Away
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Published: June 26, 2013
Genres: Fiction; Suspense Fiction
My Rating: ¿¿¿¿¿
In her most emotionally charged novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores the unspoken events that shape a community, the ties between parents and their children and how the fragile normalcy of our everyday life is so easily shattered.
In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.
Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.
As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.
After reading These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf, I had very high expectations for One Breath Away and I must admit that she certainly didn't disappoint yet again with One Breath Away. Gudenkauf has managed to write a perfectly concise and organized fast-paced novel. I thoroughly enjoy Gudenkauf's writing style in that she tends to write from several different POV's throughout the book, but not only do we get a good picture about what's going on in the present, she also provide plenty of glimpses of what has happened in the past to get the characters to where they are today.
There's nothing better when you're reading a book and you just can't put it down because you are dying to know what the outcome of the story is, and One Breath Away is one of those books. It is one of those prop you eyelids open way into the early hours of the morning, even though you know you have to get up in a matter of hours kind of book! It doesn't get much better than that!
I thought that the characters were so rich and deep that I couldn't help but fall into their story and get lost in their lives. All of the characters in this book were all so different from each other, that even though there were quite a few characters, there was never any confusion as to which character you were reading about.
This story is dramatic, agonizing, heartfelt, traumatic, and the list of adjectives could go on forever, but the best way to describe it is as it's simply amazing. I thought I had figured out the outcome on so many different occasions, that I lost count, but in the end, sat, shell-shocked, because the outcome was not one that I could have EVER predicted.
Overall, I must say that there isn't one thing I can say badly or that I didn't like about One Breath Away. It's books like this that keep my excitement boiling for each new adventure that I come across in every book that I pick up (or listen to)! It is authors and writing like this that keeps my desire for reading so alive and passionate. After These Things Hidden and One Breath Away, I definitely won't hesitate to consider Heather Gudenkauf one of my top go-to author's, as she has an impeccable writing abilities!
Posted October 19, 2013
Posted June 29, 2013
Posted April 29, 2013
Posted April 13, 2013
Reviewed by: April
Book provided by: Contest win at Revolving Bookcase
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book
An amazingly gripping and shell shocking read, One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf is a story that rings true in today’s society and is one that will not leave this reader’s mind for some time.
We live in a world where we have to be on alert constantly. There are people out there that care less for the lives of others and see those lives as disposable. The world we live in today is one of greed and immorality and a place where even the innocence of our children can be ripped away in a heartbeat. One Breath Away is this story. This is a story of a man set on revenge and without conscience, who will harm those who gets in his way without a second thought.
Ms. Gudenkauf writes her story from the POV of five of the main characters within the story. Holly, a mother of two wonderful children who is in the hospital recovering from severe burns from an accident; Augie, Holly’s daughter; Mrs. Oliver a teacher at the school where Augie and her brother, P.J. attend; Will, Augie’s Grandfather and Holly’s Father and Meg, one of the town’s Police Officers. If not done correctly, all of these POV changes could easily have been disastrous; however this is not the case. The changes are seamless and truly lend to the effect of the story.
One Breath Away begins in such a captivating way that it truly grabbed me from the very beginning and beckoned me to continue reading. I became emotionally involved with each of these characters; gripping the book from tension and feeling my heart skip in anxiety and nervousness. Being a mother of two younger children, myself, both school-aged, I could relate to the terror of such a thing happening. Gut-wrenching and soul searing to the extreme.
Within this story, the author takes us into each of the main character’s lives – using flashbacks of past occurrences that make the characters the people they are, incidents that shaped them into the individuals that will affect how they handle the terror of what happens when a school is taken hostage one snow-stormy day in a small town of Iowa. I think that my favorite character would have to be Augie. She is so strong and courageous, unwilling to leave her younger brother behind to save herself. Augie will do anything to protect him and her countless selfless acts endured me strongly to her.
Told in vivid detail, One Breath Away is a story filled with twists and turns and several surprises. I honestly thought that I had the gunman figured out several times, only to read a few pages later that I was totally and completely wrong – not to mentioned shocked with the reason that I was wrong. I loved how the author was able to do this. Heather Gudenkauf has an incredible talent which shines through in One Breath Away. The flow of the story was excellent, the detail and character development was wonderful and the fact that she has written a story that truly focuses on the truth of society makes this a gripping story that many readers will be able to relate to on many different levels. I cannot wait to read more works by this author and highly recommend One Breath Away to anyone looking for a true-to-life type of story that will hold them captive from the first page until the last.
Posted March 10, 2013
Posted March 8, 2013
This story about a gunman holding children and a teacher hostage is an interesting novel, with believable characters, told through five of the characters. While I can't say it's a great read, it is a good one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 20, 2013
It’s difficult to paste an age group onto this book. It can be read by young adults and older, and some of the main characters fall within that age category. However, the theme is very dark, more than half of the main characters are adults, so I would classify it as an adult book, but not necessarily something that can be read by adults only.
In Broken Branch, the tight-knit community never suspected an armed gunman would break into their school and hold their children hostage. When the unthinkable happens, police officer Meg is relieved her child is with her ex-husband when all hell breaks loose. Even though so, she feels a strong connection with the children trapped inside the school with the mad man, and is determined to find them and rescue them.
The book ties in closely with the real-life shootings in Connecticut and other places, and the reality of it all made this book all the more gripping for me. Just the thought that it could truly happen sends shivers down my spine. However, even that can’t make up for what this book so greatly lacks. Suspense and drive.
The book is told from the POV of five different characters. That would’ve been fine, if the characters had actual personalities and narrative voices distinguishing them from another. They have, but only up to some point; I foun that some of them read more-or-less the same. They were also too superficial,and it was hard for me to guess their emotions, their drive, why they were doing what they were doing. I would’ve liked more character depth and emotions, as it would’ve made me more sympathetic toward them.
The plot itself was pretty straightforward and predictable, even if there was a game of ‘who is the gunman’ for the first half of the book. I guessed the gunman’s identity early on, so I wasn’t surprised by the ending. What did surprise me – and all right, this may be a bit morbid, but hang on – is that it seemed like things were tomed down. It is pretty horrifying if a gunman breaks into your school, regardless of whether someone actually gets hurt, I’ll give the author that. But, and here’s a major spoiler, it seemed unrealistic that not more people would’ve been hurt. Maybe that’s just me, and trust me, I don’t like to see people get hurt, not in real life but not in a book either, but it would’ve made the story more plausible.
I did like the small-town mentality, and how the book covers only a few hours but seems to take an eternity to get to the point. It’s nice symbolism to the slowing tension the characters must’ve experienced from the moment the gunman entered their school. I liked how we got to see the entire story from different points of view, but like I said, a bit more character and plot development would’ve done wonders.