Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany

Genre: General Fiction
Publication Date: June 7th 2011
Pages: 352
Book Source: ARC Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab

Synopsis: 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.

Motherhood & Alcoholism; grim subject matter, not a novel I thought would be a favourite read but how wrong I was. While Best Kept Secret made my heart ache and my gut churn it wasn't a depressing read. It's honest and real and courageous, with a depth not often seen.

When life hands you lemons, some make lemonade and some don't. Whether it be seeking oblivion in pills, escape in retail therapy, comfort in eating, or solace in a bottle, when you can't stop, it's addiction of one form or another. Best Kept Secret makes you think ... there but for the grace of God, go I.

Cadence's life as a single mother after divorcing her unfaithful husband, is a struggle financially and with insomnia. When a glass or two of wine to cope becomes alcoholism the reader shares Cadee's brave journey to sobriety and acceptance and there's nothing cliched about this sharing.

Amy Hatvany writes with compassion, from the heart, visiting scary places that need to be visited if there's hope of breaking taboos and stigmas. “The best way out is always through” ... no shortcuts, no detours, no sidetracks. When Cadence begins to feel her feelings, she owns them ... I felt Cadee's anguish, her shame, her gutteral, all consuming pain when she realises her actions have cost her custody of Charlie.

I loved Cadee, her love for Charlie resonates from the pages, I loved her humour and sarcasm, her courage and the unconditional love between Cadence and her sister, Jess. In this age, where mother's strive to do it all and have it all, Best Kept Secret is a timely reminder that it's ok to ask for help and it's ok to have some 'weeds in the garden'.

There's no pattycake ending, there's a poignant, hopeful real-life ending and Best Kept Secret is an absolute must read.

Want to know more about Amy Hatvany and her work? - Visit her website.

International giveaway ~ Win Beaufort 1849 by Karen Allen. Check this blog post for details!


  1. Certainly different from what I would usually read. But a story that needs to be told too

  2. I have to agree sounds like a must read, it is on my Wishlist. I quite like the idea that it is a woman dealing with alcoholism.

    Great review.

  3. After this superb review I am making a point of reading this one!!!

  4. gosh

    what an awesome review

    i hadn't even heard of this one so thanks for featuring it

    x Nomes

  5. Cadee sounds like an awesome character. Like Nomes I haven't heard of this before but I will have to keep my eye out for it now. Great review :)

  6. I know this has got to be a gut wrenching read. I wish more people would realize it's ok to have weeds in the garden. Thanks for an interesting review Teddy.

  7. This looks like a difficult but compelling read. I'll have to look for it.

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