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Hidden Talents

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  582 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Bestselling author Erica James explores the stories of a potent mix of characters who meet at a creative writers' group.

Dulcie Ballantyne knows that creative writers' groups attract an unlikely mix of people, so when she starts up Hidden Talents, she is well prepared for the assortment of people she is bringing together.

Beth King is facing empty-nest syndrome as her only s
Paperback, 496 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Orion (first published January 1st 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 958)
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I have been reading the novels written by Erica James since her first one ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ was published in 1996. With the exception of ‘Gardens of Delight’ which is still sitting on my bookshelf, plus ‘Love and Devotion’ which I still have not obtained a copy of, I have now read all her novels. I regard her work as a thoroughly good read where you can immerse yourself in the story, not great literature but so much better than some of the novels regarded as ‘chick lit’ or ‘romantic women’ ...more
Caroline Jayson
Aug 15, 2014 Caroline Jayson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Dulcie is an interesting character who does her best to keep her writing group going. The book is easy to read and I like the way it's written from the different character's points of view. I did feel sorry for the wife involved in Dulcie's affair and wondered why the author fails to show any sympathy towards her. Perhaps she has never been in that situation herself in real life.The part where Dulcie goes to Venice by herself did get a bit tedious and I couldn't feel ...more
Erica James has definitely earned a place now in my "comfort reading" category. Once again, I didn't like this one quite as much as the first one I read (Love and Devotion), but I liked it better than Tell it to the Skies. I'd give it 3 1/2 stars if that were possible. As a writing instructor, I liked the "writing group" frame. I also enjoyed the characters and the family relationships. There's a niceness about these that contributes to my labelling her as "comfort" reading. The only character t ...more
Emma Moss
Feb 05, 2014 Emma Moss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again Erica James has won me over. Her characters grow into such interesting spokes of a wheel and the twists and turns don't appear unrealistic. A feel good novel of growing and adapting with others around us within the hand we have been dealt. Slightly frustrating characters get their just deserts and become more balanced.
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Aug 24, 2012 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good read.

It was quite long and there are quite a few different characters to keep track of but Erica James' writing style made it really easy to read and each of the characters seemed believable and likeable. Each chapter is about a different character or is told from a different person's point ov view but their individual stories are all connected by the writing group that they have joined.

The storyline is interesting and I think it flows really well. The characters each hav
May 08, 2012 Thais rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro carino, magari non un capolavoro letterario, ma godibile e leggero, senza pretese.
Dulcie decide di fondare un piccolo gruppo di scrittura creativa, e così si riuniscono Beth, Jaz, Jack e Victor, ognuno con le proprie peculiarità, la propria famiglia e gli inevitabili problemi. Ognuno di loro vede nella scrittura una fuga dalla realtà, e con il passare del tempo diventano molto più che conoscenti, stabiliscono una vera e propria amicizia, si aiutano, si confidano, si sostengono... Non su
Evi Sinisalo
Aug 04, 2015 Evi Sinisalo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great fun story, but no, it will not win any awards. There were moments of unnecessary drama and some descriptive details got on my nerves, but for the most part I loved the story. The book was a great choice for poolside reading.
Lisa James
This story brings together a cast of characters who, though dealing with various & sometimes really rough things in their own lives, are united by their love of writing. There is mostly a happy ending for the whole ensemble, which was nice.
Lisa Ahronian
I liked this book...I didn't love it. I found some of the situations not quite believable. The whole bit about Jack's wife dumping him and taking up with his best friend, and then Jack being able to make peace with it and bury the hatchet...seriously? I doubt anyone would ever be that forgiving, even with kids involved. And Jaz, the moody teenager who will go to any length to keep every aspect of herself a secret to everyone, at any cost...I just wanted to dope slap her. But aside from those few ...more
Jan 08, 2016 Lise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did not really enjoy this book. There were too many stories to follow that went on too long. By the end, I was desperate for it to finish, and since I was listening to it, I did not know how much more there was to go. It seems to me that none of the stories really ended, the book just stopped, as though the author had (finally) run out of steam.
Jan 13, 2011 Genene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took a long time to read this book, but read it cover to cover. It was an enjoyable read, but I didn't find the ending as satisfying as I would have liked (I won't spoil it, no worries). The book started off strong with the writers group theme, and I had high hopes that it would continue with that theme, but it did not. The focus became more the interweaving of the characters' personal lives, which was fine, but one of the reasons I got the book was its seeming focus on the writing group. I wo ...more
Feb 22, 2015 Catsalive rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I enjoyed this a lot. The characters were enjoyable and believable. A mixture of sadness & fun - c'est la vie!

Rated 8/10 at
Jennifer Hazlett
A nice optimistic story. I like how the commonality of writing amongst a diverse group of people brings them together as friends.
Mar 17, 2011 Debby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My 2nd Erica James, and I enjoyed it as much as the first even though some of the characters do things I don't approve of. Hidden Talents is a new writer's group with five diverse members. As the group begins to meet, their writing talents improve and they bond together as friends - exactly what each need to get them through the various trials of their lives. These are ordinary people that you come to care about. Well done.

I especially like the audio narrated by Anne Dover. As these are British,
Lizzie Randon-partis
An easy read for travelling.
Tessa Celie
Vlot geschreven, goed uitgewerkte karakters, maar helaas een voorspelbare plot.
Feb 03, 2014 Janna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-dont-like
Couldn't get into it. Oh well.
Rachel Brand
Aug 25, 2009 Rachel Brand rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rachel by: Mum
Shelves: library, 2009
Admittedly, a bit fluffy and maybe not something I'd have chosen to read if my mother hadn't recommended it to me. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters were all unique and full of quirks that made them appealing and they made me want to care about what happened to their individual sub-plots. Plus, it was centered around writing, which made me especially interested. I liked that it wasn't predictable, and although it didn't blow my mind, it was an easy and enjoyable read. 7/10
Steph Watson
Jul 30, 2013 Steph Watson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was pleasantly surprised with this novel, as I purchased it for a mere 2 at a local publisher's clearance shop, so wasn't expecting much. All the same, I chose it for its creative writing aspects, and despite there being little on the matter throughout the book, each of the characters' stories had me gripped from the very beginning, and despite wrongdoings at times, I still felt for each of them individually at some point. Great read, would highly recommend. :) ...more
Diane Will
Not an overly taxing read, but enjoyable enough. A group of people are brought together when they join a local writing group 'Hidden Talents' Beth, Jack, Jaz, Victor and Dulcie. All have their own need to be there. The usual everyday life stories and in different ways help each other through problems they are all faced with.

All the characters linked together well and it had a tidy ending.
Sep 24, 2011 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by Erica James
I just can't get enough of this author and look forward to all her new books.
I love the way she introduces you to each of her characters in such wonderful warm detail so that you feel you really know them inside and out. The relationships she builds between all of her characters is heart-warming and invites the reader in to want to read more.
Jul 08, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
Erica James has such a talent for creating real life stories, intertwining them with others and making them seem real. This book is particularly successful at achieving, probably because the central storyline is focused around a group of people from various points of life coming together and sharing their experiences. A must read!
Jo Woolf
Mar 25, 2015 Jo Woolf rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book, I loved the characters, so varied, with the story line playing from different dimensions and perspectives. I would have loved to have read Victors response his house transformation, and was a novel way of highlighting mental health issues. very enjoyable read
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2004
Dulcie starts a small writing group. This novel follows the lives of Dulcie and the group's members, giving a nice blend of subplots, some very moving moments, and some surprises for the characters (although I had guessed most of them in advance). Believable and well-written.
Enjoyable read.
Possibly is trying to be a bit like Maeve Binchy, the characters are slightly less well developed and warm.
Some of the spoken language is a tad OTT, not how ' real' people speak.
There's a small subplot towards the end to keep the reader going.
Apr 01, 2015 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think that this was her best book yet. Erica is all about the feel good books and this one was no different. She created a unique set of characters that as a reader you wanted to invite them over for tea and scones. Was a good light read.
I think by far this is one of the best Erica James books I have read hands down. A great read, some predictable story telling, but good solid characters and an above average story line.
Jul 03, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
This was a good story, an unlikely group formed to help with writing skills ended up helping them all with thier own personal lives and they became friends, an enjoyable read :)
Robin Nicholas
I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't call it a great book...or even necessarily recommend it to people. However, it you happen to be reading it, it will keep you entertained.
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With an insatiable appetite for other people's business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown-up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother's compulsion.

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