Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: "Best Kept Secret" by Amy Hatvany

This is another book I found from S. Kishna Books (that links to her review of this book).  I have to say that I wasn't too sure about the content of this book, but got it based solely on the 5 star review.

All I can say is....WOW!

Cadence is a single mother, recently out of rehab for alcoholism, who is fighting to get custody of her son back from her ex-husband.  I know--that sounds like a Lifetime movie.  But, trust me it isn't.

I read the author interview at the end of the book and was not surprised to find out that the author herself is a recovering alcoholic and a mother (but not a single one).  There is no way this book could have been written by someone who hasn't experienced the abyss of addiction while being a mother.

I will admit that I found the first part of the book a little confusing as the chapters alternated between the present day of the story and flashbacks to when she was drinking.  However, I realized that confusion actually adds to the story and helps the reader experience a bit more what Cadence was going through.  I also found Cadence's development during her recovery to be realistic and moving.  Cadence is someone you root for, even when you've seen her at her worst.  The other characters are all well-written as well.  There are a couple periphery characters that are pretty much stock characters--but they are used as tools for Cadence's character.

I could relate to Cadence--not in terms of alcoholism (I very rarely drink anymore).  However, I saw myself in her stresses in parenting and dealing with some difficult personalities.  And, as I said, I am not a drinker--but I will admit to finding solace in chocolate more than a few times.

This is also a very readable book, something that is surprising given the content.  Hatvany has a very solid style--surprising as I read in her interview that she hadn't written in 5 years before starting this book.  The only criticism I can find with this book is that there is one resolution to one of Cadence's issues that is a bit too easy to truly believe.  No, I won't tell you what it is, but I will say that it is not one of the major issues in the book.

I cannot recommend this book enough.  It is a heartbreaking view of addiction--and of parenthood.

Affiliate Link: Purchase this book at Amazon.

I was not solicited for this review, nor did I receive any compensation.

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