Phillipe Bergeron is in NYC, accompanying his teenage niece, Sophie, as she tours potential dance programs all summer. Phillipe’s much older, wealthier step-brother, Henri, lost his wife as well as his five year old son four years ago and is not able to leave his job to tour with his daughter. Phillipe, however, has nothing but time. He’s spent the past few years on a fishing boat, where he can hide away in the darkness on the ocean and ignore his own sadness and sense of loss over losing his mother as a child. A shoulder injury prevented him from returning, though, so this summer in NYC comes at a perfect time and offers the chance to hide in a bustling, anonymous city.
When Phillipe takes Sophie to her private instruction, he meets Dario, a handsome, stern-seeming dancer. Dario is everything that the scruffy, bearded, directionless Phillipe is not, so he admires the dancer only from afar. Dario’s having none of that, though, and asks Phillips out on a date. The two become close over time, but Phillipe’s long-held issues that have kept him distant from people in his life come to the surface. In order to have the relationship he wants with Dario, he has to come out of hiding, but Phillipe’s not sure he can do it.
Out of Hiding takes place in a very specific world — the world of dance. As Phillipe and Sophie tour the various dance programs, you learn a lot about them, as well as dance history in general. The author is well-researched in this area, and it shows. It does help set the stage for this story in a very in depth way, helping the reader visualize the feel of the environment and the dancers themselves. This is particularly helpful when trying to get into the mind of Dario, since so much of himself is wrapped up in the world of dance. The downside to this, however, is if you don’t like dance, you’re not going to enjoy this book. I enjoy dance quite a lot, but even still I felt like the dance history got a little heavy handed at times, like we were going to be well-versed in the subject by the end of the book, whether we liked it or not.
Overall, though, this is a very sweet love story, with characters who are very different, but bring out the best in each other. Phillipe will steal your heart. Granted, I’m a sucker for a bearded man, but his beard only hides the vulnerable, sweet, sensitive man inside. Sometimes you want to smack him around a little bit and tell him to grow up, but mostly he’s kind and loving and takes good care of Dario, who has spent most of his life on his own and is finally finding out what it means to be part of a family.
This really is Phillipe’s story of finding himself, so while the supporting characters were likable enough, we don’t learn much about them. The story isn’t groundbreaking — there isn’t anything here that you haven’t seen before — but it is well-written and entertaining and will keep you captivated until the end. And if you’re one of those people who thinks less is more when it comes to sex scenes, this book is for you. There’s definitely sex, and the characters have good chemistry, but it’s not what this book is about and it actually leaves some things to the imagination. It’s nice. Recommended for all audiences but especially those who enjoy the world of dance.