All That Is Hidden

Jan 18, 2022 | Book Reviews

I’m thrilled to feature other authors and their novels on my Standout Stories blog. But today, please allow me the indulgence of sharing my own.

Two months ago, I re-launched All That Is Hidden with a fresh cover and revised content—new and improved!  

It’s still the same compelling story, but now it has the benefit of all I’ve learned about writing and editing over the past few years. Consider it a renovation–actually a downsizing. The book is much SHORTER and therefore stronger with better pacing.

Recently, I shared my inspiration for All That Is Hidden on Jennifer Heeren’s Truth in Fiction blog: Re-imagining the American Dream. I’ve adapted it below.

Re-imagining the American Dream

Entrepreneur blood runs in my family. Sons of immigrant farmers, my grandfather and his brother went from rags to riches in the automobile business in the 1920s, creating a prosperous family legacy. 

In contrast, I harbored a muse. I had a story in me, but didn’t know which one. 

Nevertheless, I went practical and chose an education major. As a teacher-in-training, I had goals, schedules, lesson plans, objectives, and deadlines. With the ambition of my ancestors, I pulled all-nighters writing papers and studying for exams.

Armed with innovative lesson plans and newfound skills, I planned to build a career out of shaping the next generation–future builders, engineers, and entrepreneurs, the shakers and movers. America, Land of Opportunity, where people chased the American Dream. Like my grandpa did.

One of my goals was a cross-cultural experience: a month in Madison County, North Carolina near the Smoky Mountains to teach in the mountain schools with fellow education students. 

Old farm buildings along the Blue Ridge Parkway. iStock

Turns out I was the one with lessons to learn.

Enter Mr. Woody. He lived forty percent of his life covered in sawdust. He spent half the week in the forest seeking the right wood–the way his family did for generations. His chairs were so solid he could balance each on one leg with all of his weight on it. No doubt he could make a fortune with his chair-building skills. 

Yet he couldn’t tell you how long it took to make one. Or five. Or ten. 

Meet the blacksmith who never advertised. Though he was booked solid with orders, he took his time with twenty-two college kids. He demonstrated how to forge a fanciful leaf from a hunk of iron, then preached a sermon from Revelation 2 about how the attributes of iron compared to Christ and the rod of iron He’d use to rule His future kingdom.

Though blacksmithing provided a livelihood, his lifeblood wasn’t from any exchange of money. It came from the instruments of his trade, and the personal exchanges between him and anybody who entered his shop.

To put it in mountain terms,
Mr. Woody and the blacksmith cared no more for money than a crow cares for a holiday.

Along came another piece of serendipity: being mesmerized by the college’s resident storyteller and folklorist, Richard Chase.

Most evenings, we were held captive by his lively renditions of “Jack and the Northwest Wind” and “Sody Sallyraytus.” This bearded, white-haired man spun his yarns with bewitching blue eyes, dramatic tones, and perfect timing.

He thrust us into a time when oral tradition was valued, when it was the only way stories were passed down through the generations, whether it was about frugal Great-grandma, eccentric Uncle Billy, or flighty third cousin Ruby Mae.

Storyteller & Folklorist Richard Chase, 1978, Mars Hill College, North Carolina

Years earlier, in the 1940s, he gathered the southern Appalachian Jack Tales and Grandfather Tales into two books, finally putting the oral tradition into written form for all to enjoy.

We students also learned mountain clogging, loitered at the general store playing checkers, and hiked the Appalachian trail.

Above all, we discovered that people there created meaningful lives by a route
much different than those seeking the prosperity of the American Dream.

Even with humble surroundings, meager possessions, and simple goals, these folks enjoyed rich lives without money–no fancy homes, expensive cars, or Caribbean cruises. But they were wealthy with things they could never lose: a richness in spirit, a deep contentment, a joy in daily life, work, and family.

I found a story I was meant to write. My muse rejoiced.

Back at college, I wrote a fictional short story based on my southern Appalachian experience and submitted it to a contest. It won first place. 

I tucked the tale away but it wouldn’t rest in peace. Memories of the people and their Appalachian hills beckoned me to revisit their towns and hollows, daring me to dig deeper into their lives. Years later, I resurrected the story.

Questions probed. How would a clash of traditional values and progressive ideas impact a small town? Did living in two worlds always result in belonging to neither? What if two worlds collided? The one I was from and the one I’d discovered.

I embarked on a novel, fueled the way Mr. Woody was impassioned by his chairs and the blacksmith by his forge.

Perhaps even fueled the way my grandfather was by his business.

After years of researching, writing, and obtaining critiques (in my spare time between work and parenting), All That Is Hidden  was born. I consider it my fifth child. And it’s a small way I can repay the folks of Appalachia for what they gave to me.

Lighthouse Publishing, 2012 & 2021

Back Cover Copy:

Are secrets worth the price they cost to keep? Ten-year-old Tina Hamilton finds out the hard way. 

She always knew her father had a secret. But all of God’s earth to Tina are the streams for fishing, the fields for romping, a world snugly enclosed by the blue-misted Smokies. Nothing ever changed.

Until the summer of 1968. Trouble erupts when northern exploitation threatens her tiny southern Appalachian town. Some folks blame the trouble on progress, some blame the space race and men meddling with the moon’s cycles, and some blame Tina’s father. 

A past he has hidden catches up to him as his secret settles in like an unwelcome guest. The clash of progressive ideas and small town values escalates the collision of a father’s past and present.


Strategically placed in each section is a family story told by one of my characters, stories that embody and accentuate each part of the plot.

That’s my nod to Richard Chase.
That’s my effort to recapture the stirring moments
when he placed a group of college students
under his magical storytelling spell.

NOTE: If you purchase All That Is Hidden, make sure the web page displays the updated cover (with the girl on the front). Don’t buy it used or you’ll get the old version.

Posting a review on Amazon, BookBub, and Goodreads would be a great help to me. You can post reviews here:

Also check these out:

Join me next time for another visit with Pepper Basham. In the meantime, what have you been reading lately? Share in the comments.

Ever reading,


Coming soon: A Hundred Magical Reasons, a novel

Join My Newsletter!

Stay in the loop! Subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter for book news & exclusive  giveaways.

Bonus: I’ll send you the Prequel to All That Is Hidden.

Follow Me Here!

Want Book Reviews?

Subscribe to the Standout Stories blog and I’ll send you Smoky Mountain recipes based on food in my novel All That Is Hidden.

By clicking “subscribe,” you agree with the terms of the privacy policy noted on the bottom of our website.


  1. Laurie

    I loved reading about the story behind your story, Laura and look forward to reading it again in it’s new and improved form – I enjoyed it so much the first time around!

    • Laura DeNooyer

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Laurie. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story.

  2. Janet

    So happy for you that you are re-launching All That Is Hidden in its “new and improved “ form. I wish you many sales and much success! I appreciated reading the origin of your muse.

  3. Elizabeth Daghfal

    I love your renovation 🙂 Still beautiful literary fiction, but the story captivates. It would be a great choice for a book club!

    • Laura DeNooyer

      I really appreciate your affirmations, Elizabeth!

  4. Laura

    Layers of content, conflicts between country folk and progressive city ideas, and a long-held secret? The background behind the story is also compelling. This sounds like a great read!



  1. The Red Ribbon - Laura DeNooyer Author - Standout Stories - […] town values as a father’s secret is gradually unleashed. I wrote about the inspiration for it last time. Learn…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to my Standout Stories blog to receive email alerts when a new post goes live!

I'll send you Smoky Mountain recipes based on my novel!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This