These Things Hidden [NOOK Book]

Overview


Allison Glenn tried to hide what happened that night?and failed. The consequence? A prison sentence. Now she's free. But secrets have a way of keeping you locked up.

When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their ...

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These Things Hidden

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Overview


Allison Glenn tried to hide what happened that night…and failed. The consequence? A prison sentence. Now she's free. But secrets have a way of keeping you locked up.

When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.

But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.

Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gudenkauf's scintillating second suspense novel (after The Weight of Silence) opens with the release of 21-year-old Allison Glenn from prison, where she has served five years for an unspecified but particularly horrible crime. Allison is reluctant to enter a halfway house in her hometown of Linden Falls, Iowa, where "even a heroin-addicted prostitute arrested for armed robbery and murder would get more compassion than I ever will." Allison, her family's former golden girl, secures a job at a local bookstore, but her efforts to resume some sort of normal life are undermined by her well-to-do parents' indifference, her sister's hatred, and the stigma of her conviction. Meanwhile, one little boy holds the key to the tragedy that led to Allison's imprisonment. The author slowly and expertly reveals the truth in a tale so chillingly real, it could have come from the latest headlines. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"The Weight of Silence is a tense and profoundly emotional story of a parent's worst nightmare, told with compassion and honesty. Heather Gudenkauf skillfully weaves an explosive tale of suspense and ultimately, the healing power of love."

- #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs

"Deeply moving and exquisitely lyrical, this is a powerhouse of a debut novel."
-New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen on The Weight of Silence

"Beautifully written, compassionately told, and relentlessly suspenseful."
-New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain on The Weight of Silence

"Gudenkauf's scintillating second suspense novel...slowly and expertly reveals the truth in a tale so chillingly real, it could have come from the latest headlines."
-Publishers Weekly on These Things Hidden, starred review

"One Breath Away takes the reader on an electrifying ride that is, by the end, both terrifying and satisfying. I dare you to forget it."

- New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Flock

"I have burns on my fingers from turning the pages too fast. Don't miss it. This is her best yet!"

-New York Times bestselling author Lesley Kagen on One Breath Away

"Gudenkauf...keep[s] the tension high and the reader glued to the pages."
-Publishers Weekly on One Breath Away

Library Journal
Gudenkauf's second novel (after The Weight of Silence) sees 21-year-old Allison Glenn released on parole after serving five years for an undisclosed but particularly gruesome crime. Disowned by her family and facing a small town's inability to forget her sins, former golden girl Allison reluctantly moves into a halfway house and finds work at a local bookstore, where she unwittingly discovers the key to her tragic past and her potential future: a little boy named Joshua.Verdict The author unravels the mystery of Allison's crime through the lives of four women. While certain aspects of the story are tinged with melodrama and none of the characters develops a truly unique voice, the suspense is gripping. Fans of Jodi Picoult will take an instant liking to Gudenkauf.—Mara Dabrishus, Ursuline Coll., Pepper Pike, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460320860
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 32,082
  • File size: 375 KB

Meet the Author


Heather Gudenkauf is an Edgar Award nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Heather lives in Iowa with her husband and children. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and running.

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Read an Excerpt

Allison

Istand when I see Devin Kineally walking toward me, dressed as usual in her lawyer-gray suit, her high heels clicking against the tiled floor. I take a big breath and pick up my small bag filled with my few possessions.

Devin's here to take me to the courtordered halfway house back in Linden Falls, where I'll be living for at least the next six months. I have to prove that I can take care of myself, hold down a job, stay out of trouble. After five years, I'm free to leave Cravenville. I look hopefully over Devin's shoulder, searching for my parents even though I know they won't be there. "Hello, Allison," Devin says warmly. "You all set to get out of here?"

"Yes, I'm ready," I answer with more confidence than I feel. I'm going to live in a place I've never been before with people I've never met. I have no money, no job, no friends and my family has disowned me, but I'm ready. I have to be.

Devin reaches for my hand, squeezes it gently and looks me directly in the eyes. "It's going to be okay, you know?" I swallow hard and nod. For the first time, since I was sentenced to ten years in Cravenville, I feel tears burning behind my eyes.

"I'm not saying it will be easy," Devin says, reaching up and wrapping an arm around my shoulders. I tower over her. She is petite, soft-spoken, but tough as nails, one of the many things I love about Devin. She has always said she was going to do her best for me and she has. She made it clear all along that even though my mom and dad pay the bills, I'm her client. She's the only person who seems to be able to put my parents in their place. During our second meeting with Devin (the first being when I was in the hospital), the four of us sat around a table in a small conference room at the county jail. My mother tried to take over. She couldn't accept my arrest, thought it was all some huge mistake, wanted me to go to trial, plead not guilty, fight the charges. Clear the Glenn family name.

"Listen," Devin told my mother in a quiet, cold voice. "The evidence against Allison is overwhelming. If we go to trial, chances are she will be sent to jail for a very long time, maybe even forever."

"It couldn't have happened the way they said it did." My mother's coldness matched Devin's. "We need to make this right. Allison is going to come home, graduate and go to college." Her perfectly made-up face trembled with anger and her hands shook.

My father, who had taken a rare afternoon away from his job as a financial adviser, stood suddenly, knocking over a glass of water. "We hired you to get Allison out of here," he shouted. "Do your job!"

I shrank in my seat and expected Devin to do the same.

But she didn't. She calmly set her hands flat on the table, straightened her back, lifted her chin and spoke. "My job is to examine all the information, look at all the options and help Allison choose the best one."

"There is only one option." My father's thick, long finger shot out, stopping inches from Devin's nose. "Allison needs to come home!"

"Richard," my mother said in that unruffled, irritating way she has.

Devin didn't flinch. "If you don't remove that finger from my face, you might not get it back."

My father slowly lowered his hand, his barrel chest rising and falling rapidly.

"My job," she repeated, looking my father dead in the eye, "is to review the evidence and choose the best defense strategy. The prosecutor is planning to move Allison from juvenile to adult court and charge her with first-degree murder. If we go to trial, she will end up in jail for the rest of her life. Guaranteed."

My father lowered his face into his hands and started crying. My mother looked down into her lap, frowning with embarrassment.

When I stood in front of the judge—a man who looked exactly like my physics teacher—even though Devin prepared me for the hearing, told me what to expect, the only words I heard were ten years. To me that sounded like a lifetime. I would miss my senior year of high school, miss the volleyball, basketball, swimming and soccer seasons. I would lose my scholarship to the University of Iowa, would never be a lawyer. I remember looking over my shoulder at my parents, tears pouring down my face. My sister hadn't come to the hearing.

"Mom, please," I whimpered as the bailiff began to lead me away. She stared straight ahead, no emotion on her face. My father's eyes were closed tightly. He was taking big breaths, struggling for composure. They couldn't even look at me. I would be twenty-seven years old before I was free again. At the time, I wondered if they would miss me or miss the girl they wanted me to be. Because my case initially began in juvenile court, my name couldn't be released to the press. The same day it was waived into adult court, there was massive flash flooding just to the south of Linden Falls. Hundreds of homes and businesses lost. Four dead. Due to my father's connections and a busy news day, my name never hit the papers. Needless to say, my parents were ecstatic that the good Glenn name wasn't completely tarnished.

I follow Devin as she leads me to her car, and for the first time in five years I feel the full weight of a sun that isn't blocked by a barbwire-topped fence. It is the end of August, and the air is heavy and hot. I breathe in deeply and realize jail air doesn't really smell any different than free air. "What do you want to do first?" Devin asks me. I think carefully before I answer. I don't know what to feel about leaving Cravenville. I've missed being able to drive—I'd had my license for less than a year when I was arrested. Finally, I'll have some privacy. I'll be able to go to the bathroom, take a shower, eat without dozens of people looking at me. And even though I have to stay at a halfway house, for all purposes I'll be free.

It's funny. I've been at Cravenville five years and you'd think I'd be clawing at the door, desperate to get out. But it's not quite like that. I've made no friends here, I have no happy memories, but I do have something that I have never, ever had in my life: peace, which is a rare, precious thing.

How I can be at peace for what I've done? I don't know, but I am.

When I was younger, before I was in prison, my mind never stopped racing. It was constantly go, go, go. My grades were perfect. I was a five-sport athlete: volleyball, basketball, track, swimming and soccer. My friends thought I was pretty, I was popular and I never got in any trouble. But under the surface, beneath my skin, it was like my blood was boiling. I couldn't sit still, I could never rest. I'd wake up at six every morning to go for a run or lift weights in the school's weight room, then I'd take a quick shower, eat the granola bar and banana I'd shove into my backpack and go to class all day. After school there'd be practice or a game, then home to eat supper with my parents and Brynn, then three or four hours of homework and studying. Finally, finally, at around midnight, I would try to go to sleep. But nighttime was the worst. I would lie in bed and my mind couldn't slow down. I couldn't stop myself from worrying about what my parents thought of me, what others thought of me, about the next test, the next game, college, my future.

I had this thing I did to help calm myself at night. I'd lie on my back, tuck the covers around me just so and imagine that I was in a small boat. I would conjure a lake so big that I couldn't see the shore and the sky would be an overturned bowl above me, black, moonless and full of winking fairy lights for stars. There would be no wind, but my boat would carry me across the smooth, dark waters. The only sound would be the lazy slap of water against the side of the boat. This calmed me somehow and I could close my eyes and rest. Because I was only sixteen when I got to prison, I was separated from the general population until I turned eighteen.

After surviving the first terrible weeks, I suddenly realized that I didn't need my boat anymore and I slept just fine.

Devin is looking up at me expectantly, waiting for me to tell her the first thing I want to do now that I'm free. "I want to see my mom and dad and my sister," I tell her, biting back a sob. "I want to go home."

I feel badly for much of what has happened, especially for what my actions have done to my sister. I've tried to apologize, tried to make things right, but it hasn't been enough. Brynn still won't have anything to do with me.

Brynn was fifteen at the time I was arrested and, well, uncomplicated. Or so I thought. Brynn never got mad, ever. It was like she could store her anger in a little box until it got so full it had nowhere to go and it morphed into sadness.

When we were kids, playing with our dolls, I would grab the one with the creamy, unblemished face and the smooth, untangled hair, leaving Brynn with the doll that had a mustache drawn on with a permanent marker, the one with ratty hair that had been cut with dull scissors. Brynn never seemed to mind. I could have swiped the new doll right out of her hands and the expression on her face wouldn't change. She'd just pick up the sad, broken-looking doll and cradle it in her arms like it was her first choice. I used to be able to get Brynn to do anything for me—take out the garbage, vacuum when it was my turn.

Looking back, there were signs, little chinks in Brynn's easygoing personality that were almost impossible to deduce, but when I watched quietly I saw them. And I chose to ignore them.

With her fingers, she would pluck the fine, dark hair from her arms one by one until the skin was red and raw. She would do it absentmindedly, unaware of how odd she looked.

Once her arms were hairless, she started in on her eyebrows. Pulling and plucking. To me she seemed to be trying to shed her own skin. Our mother noticed Brynn's eyebrows getting thinner and thinner and she tried everything to get her to stop. Whenever Brynn's hand moved toward her face, our mother's hand would fly out and slap it away. "Do you want to look strange, Brynn?" she would ask. "Is that what you want? For all the other little girls to laugh at you?"

Brynn stopped pulling out her eyebrows, but she found other ways to punish herself. She gnawed her fingernails to the quick, bit the insides of her cheeks, scratched and picked at sores and scabs until they festered.

We are complete opposites. Yin and yang. Where I am tall and solid, Brynn is smaller and delicate. I'm a big sturdy sunflower, always turning my face to the sun, and Brynn is prairie smoke, wispy and indistinct, head down, nodding with the breeze. Though I never told her, I loved her more than anything or anyone else in the world. I took her for granted, assumed she would always be at my beck and call, assumed that she would always look up to me. But I don't seem to exist to her anymore. I can't blame her, really.

Letter after letter I wrote to Brynn, but she never wrote back to me. That has been the worst thing about prison. Now that I'm free, I can go to Brynn, I can make her see me, make her listen to me. That's all I want. Ten minutes with her, then everything will be all right again.

As we get in the car and drive away from Cravenville, my stomach flips with excitement and fear. I see Devin hesitate. "Maybe we should stop somewhere and get something to eat first, then get you settled in at Gertrude House. After that, you can call your parents," Devin says.

I don't want to go to the halfway house. I'll probably be the one convicted of the most heinous crime there—even a heroin-addicted prostitute arrested for armed robbery and murder would get more compassion than I ever will. It makes much more sense for me to stay with my parents, in the home where I grew up, where I have some good memories. Even though a terrible thing happened there, it's where I should be, at least for now.

But I can see the answer on Devin's face. My parents don't want to see me, don't want anything to do with me, don't want me to come home.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 352 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(132)

4 Star

(129)

3 Star

(57)

2 Star

(23)

1 Star

(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 352 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 18, 2011

    Great psychological thriller!

    This book takes you on a journey through Allison Glenn's secrets and hardships. Along the way there are many twists to the story that leave you guessing and wanting more. Just when you think you have the book figured out; it throws something new at you up until the last page! Each chapter delivers a new secret or piece to the puzzle. This novel is great for people who love psychological thrillers that keep them guessing what will happen next the whole way through. It is a quick easy read that you won't want to put down. Anyone who reads this book will be shocked by the ending. Heather Gudenkauf is a fantastic author who picks at her readers brains. After reading this book I can't wait to read many more of her novels!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Only one word can describe this book: Wow!

    I started this book on Thursday, today is Saturday. This book is very weird (plot line wise) and is beautifully written. The love and commitment between these two sisters is breath taking. This is a great book to read on a rainy day or in a book club. You honestly do not know what is going on until the last few chapters. It really is a suspense/mystery book! I definitly will be getting more books by Heather Gudenkauf! Enjoy!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

    slow start...

    overall i really enjoyed this book. i loved the twist at the end and how the seemingly unrelated characters all came held a piece of the mystery. however, i felt the beggining was a bit hard to get into because the character build seemedto take so long. but after the character build was over, for the most part, i couldnt put it down!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2011

    Easy and interesting read!

    Though this book isn't a complex thought provoking read....it is very well written and a very easy read. It has some twists and turns....some you can figure out...some you might not. All in all I enjoyed the book enough to purchase another of the author's books. This is the kind of book I enjoy when I just want to relax and not be so challenged with an intense and though provoking book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    These Things Hidden

    Allison is the golden girl. Absolutely perfect in grades, sports and future goals . . . at least she was until one night changed everything. Now, after five years in prison, she is being released and wants to reconnect with her shy, quiet sister Brynn. Brynn was left to endure the stares and whispers of former friends and family following Allison's being sent to prison.
    Her parents and former friends want nothing to do with Allison, including Brynn who has struggled to forget that night for the past five years. The two sisters share a secret that is terrible. Returning home to Linden Falls will start a chain of events that Allison could have never foreseen and reveals more than the sisters could have ever imagined!
    Charm is studying to be a nurse and taking care of her dying father. Claire is a store owner who tried for years to have a baby before adopting little Joshua. There are secrets upon secrets and no matter how hard they try to keep them hidden, they will be revealed!
    Twisted and surprising! This book doesn't disappoint.

    Reviewed by Ashley Wintters for Suspense Magazine

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2011

    Worth the read!

    The book was slightly predictable, but the story line was great and beautifully illustrated the way life can sometimes be in those small southern towns where everybody and everbody is related. The author describes things so clearly you feel, see, smell, and even taste everything. You become attached to the characters. Recommended.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    good book

    I was surprised how well everything tied together in the end. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to my friends. Not one of the best books I have read but by far not the worst. It's worth a read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    It was pretty twisty...

    I liked the way the characters all came together, but it took awhile. I enjoyed the surprise ending and it was definitely geared toward younger readers the way it was written, although the topic was hard core. Otherwise. I read it in 2 days. Good story.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2011

    Page Turner!

    Great Book! Page Turner!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2011

    ugh

    I stuck with this to the end, but couldn't wait to finish it just to be able to move onto something else. Read a good review of it and had high hopes, but this really was just a dumb story. If I could have given it no stars, I would have.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2011

    odd, yet drew me in

    weird book but i think liked it.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2011

    this was a good book

    it was a good one but sad in the story n happy parts too. i couldnt put it down finished n two days.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    incredible!!

    I could not put this book down and then ith the twist at the end I was shocked. I enjoyed every page. Highly reccommended and well written!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    I absolutely LOVED this story!

    Wow!!! Gudenkauf did it again. I loved The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden did not disappoint. This book will capture you from beginning to end. It is a real page turner. I did not want to put it down. There are so many twist and turners that you not see the end coming. Fantastic book, a must read!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    Loved it!

    This is now one of my favourite books. Very well written.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    Page Turner - Kept me guessing the whole time!

    From the very first chapters this book was a mystery! I read this book in a few short hours on my commute to and from work, and could not wait to put it down. I was constantly trying to figure out what was going and guessing at the outcome, only to be surprised by the final result!

    I was in tears as I flipped through this book page by and page. The story is near and dear to me and close to my heart in so many ways.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    WOW What a story!

    Kept my interest from the first page to the last. I also have an adopted child- if this would have ever happed to him, I too would have moved. Thank heavens they came up with the Safe Haven Law.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    Awful

    I'm not sure why this book received so many good reviews. I read this because the summary sounded vaguely interesting and because so many people rated this as great... I'll be basing my opinions off the summary from now on. Hard not to give too much away but the plot was one of the most twisted and truly awful storylines I've read in a long time. It really makes me wonder why an author would choose to write about such a thing. When all was said and done and the truth had came out, I was honestly physically sick about the words I had just read. I really wish I would've listened to my first instinct and stopped reading at about the halfway point.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    truth does not always set one free

    After spending five years in prison for the murder of her newborn daughter, twenty one year old Allison Glenn is released to the Gertrude Halfway House for the next six months. Her parents have disowned her and her younger sister Brynn has ignored her efforts to contact her. Allison has fallen mightily from being perfect in high school. Her lawyer meets her at the prison and takes her to Gertrude House where she meets owner Olene who encourages her.

    Bookends owner Claire Kelby and her husband Jonathan adopted their now six years old son Joshua who was found abandoned at a fire station when he was two days old. They heard the unknown teenage mother tried to kill him. Nursing student Charm Tulia likes coming to the bookstore where she buys all sorts of self- help books because she is the one who left Joshua in a safe house in accordance with Iowa law.

    Brynn ignores her sister's plea to talk to her. She stays with her granny taking medicine for depression. She attends school enjoying the animal classes. Brynn was with Allison when she gave birth. There were no doctors or hospitals based on Allison's insistence. Olene arranges for Allison to interview for a job at Bookends Bookstore. Charm remembers entering the bookstore for the first time and recognizing Joshua. She comes regularly to see that he is okay. Claire hires Allison. Soon the full truth that connects these women will surface.

    The key ensemble cast especially the four prime females is all developed while the connection between the ladies is developed over the course of the wonderful story line. Although there are two key coincidences that feel out of place re the woman involved, readers will enjoy that the truth does not always set one free.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    Fantastic!!

    I loved These Things Hidden!! I could not put this book down! Gudenkauf has woven another fantastic novel that will capture the reader from beginning to end!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 352 Customer Reviews

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