best kept secret by Amy Hatvany *Review*

Cadence didn’t sit down one night and decide that downing two bottles of wine was a brilliant idea.

Her drinking snuck up on her – as a way to sleep, to help her relax after a long day, to relieve some of the stress of the painful divorce that’s left her struggling to make ends meet with her five-year old son, Charlie.  

It wasn’t always like this. Just a few years ago, Cadence seemed to have it all—a successful husband, an adorable son, and a promising career as a freelance journalist.  But with the demise of her marriage, her carefully constructed life begins to spiral out of control.  Suddenly she is all alone trying to juggle the demands of work and motherhood.               

 Logically, Cadence knows that she is drinking too much, and every day begins with renewed promises to herself that she will stop.  But within a few hours, driven by something she doesn’t understand, she is reaching for the bottle – even when it means not playing with her son because she is too tired, or dropping him off at preschool late, again.  And even when one calamitous night it means leaving him alone to pick up more wine at the grocery store.  It’s only when her ex-husband shows up at her door to take Charlie away that Cadence realizes her best kept secret has been discovered….

 Heartbreaking, haunting, and ultimately life-affirming, Best Kept Secret is more than just the story of Cadence—it’s a story of how the secrets we hold closest are the ones that can most tear us apart.

Who has not been in this situation before?  Tired after a long day at work you arrive home only to find more work still to do.  Dinner must be made, laundry needs to be done, one of the kids needs to be driven to her soccer game or a church event.  Don’t you just wish sometimes all the demands would go away and you could just relax?  What if picking up a bottle and drinking a glass of wine was a way you could relax?  Okay, as long as it’s one glass with dinner.  But what if it starts taking another glass to calm you…and then another.

Being a mother with a demanding schedule after my work day, I could easily see the draw of a glass of wine .  Seems harmless enough.  But when it starts to spiral out of control, how do you pick up the pieces and return to a normal life that won’t make you insane?

Cadence’s drinking does spiral out of control and she ends up losing her son.  I can think of nothing that would be harder to bear then being away from the one you love the most.  It’s hard for Cadence not to be a part of Charlie’s life anymore and she fights her battle with alcoholism to try to win him back.

Amy Hatvany’s characters are real.  I can feel the disapproving nature of her ex mother-in-law, I can sense Charlie’s pain when he’s afraid his mother is going to pick up a bottle again, my heart hurts for Cadence’s suffering as she realizes what she has done to Charlie and how she may never be able to right that wrong.

It came as no surprise to me that the author has traveled this road herself.  The pain that came through on the page was a pain that can only come from experience.  I applaud her for coming out about her alcoholism and sharing her journey with others.  I have great respect for someone who can not only succeed in the face of adversity but help others do the same.  A very thought-provoking book that has plenty to discuss with your book club (what makes a good mother, can you ever undo a wrong, trust, forgiveness, balancing work and family) I wasn’t surprised to see that 37/39 reviewers on Amazon gave the book a 5 star rating.   Add mine to that…5/5 stars.

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One response to “best kept secret by Amy Hatvany *Review*

  1. Fantastic review Angie. It sounds like a powerful read!

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