ABOUT THE HIDDEN LIBRARY:
Sometimes, the rabbit hole is deeper than expected . . .
Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The Collectors’ Society. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.
On the hunt for an elusive villain who is hell-bent on destroying legacies, Alice, Finn, and the rest of the Society are desperate to unravel the mysteries surrounding them. But the farther they spiral down this rabbit hole, the deeper they fall into secrets that will test their loyalties and pit them against enemies both new and old.
Secrets, they come to find, can reveal the deadliest of truths.
Don’t miss the first book in this series, THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY!
The book was big and heavy and seemed to take up the width of the love seat we were crammed onto, two teenagers and their mother, but Katrina didn’t mind. For such a beautiful, fragile-looking woman, she was strong. Brom would tease her about it, but that’s all it was—teasing. Everyone at the Institute knew that Katrina was the backbone of everything. Katrina had nerves of steel, and a stare that could cut down the densest forest. Her heart was massive and her belief in doing the right thing was astounding. She was strong, both physically and emotionally, and it was one of the things that I loved best about my mother.
She tried so hard with me. So, so hard. She never let me run, and the truth was, because of her, I eventually stopped wanting to. She’s the one who taught me that settling down was an okay thing. She’s the one who taught me I could let my defenses go and rely upon family. That opening up my heart didn’t mean losing myself like I once feared.
“Why is this book important?” she asked us that afternoon.
Victor looked across the space and met my eyes. He rolled his and I fought back the urge to laugh. I liked Victor. He was smart—smarter than Sawyer, but he never lorded it over me. He sounded so smart, too, and for the first few weeks I was at the Institute, I was too embarrassed to speak around him. Some of the kids in the neighborhood told me I spoke like some hillbilly hick on TV, one that should have all their teeth missing and live in the swamps with gators or have fleas or something equally horrifying and yet all too painfully realistic. I nearly got my ass kicked a number of times and a few black eyes when I did talk to those kids because language changed over the years. Attitudes and society had changed for the better. Words I grew up with were no longer okay to use, and it scared the shit out of me that I never knew that before coming to New York. I wasn’t smart like any of the rest of them. I didn’t have the schooling or upbringing they all did. It didn’t take long to realize I was that hick they said I was. But Victor, smart, clean, cultured Victor, never got on me about any of those things. Granted, Katrina would have verbally tanned his hide had he, but still.
I let Victor answer Katrina’s question, because I was afraid to say something stupid. Hell, even with all the tutors they’d hired for me, reading was still something I struggled with at that point, so it wasn’t like I could even tell either of them what the title was.
“It’s a book of fairy tales,” he said. “Popular ones.”
It wasn’t the answer she wanted, but she didn’t belittle him for it. “Why do we need fairy tales?” But before he could answer, she said, “Huck?”
Katrina was the last person I ever allowed to call me Huck, but even she stopped when I changed my name permanently.
My tongue felt thick, and I think I may have even started to sweat as they waited for my answer. I debated not answering, actually. But then I looked into her eyes and understood that she genuinely wanted to hear what I had to say.
So I told her, “They give people hope for happy endings.”
“You are so right.” She’d smiled. It was so beautiful, like that of one of the princesses’ pictured within the thick volume. I loved those smiles of hers, and she was so generous with them. “It’s funny, so many of the stories within this book are actually dark and rather violent, and yet, over time, we have come to associate fairy tales with the happiest endings we could ever imagine. This book represents the undying belief in good that people have. That’s the power of books, boys. Stories such as these endure because of hope.”
Children's and Household Tales, otherwise known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, was the first book I voluntarily ever read once I knew how. And it was all because my mother taught me to hold on to hope.
My mother did not get a happy ending.
“They’ll pay for what they did.” My vow is quiet. Angry. “Make no mistake about that.”
About Heather Lyons:
Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.