Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany
Published by Washington Square Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster
Review copy provided by the publicist
Cadence didn’t always need two bottles of wine a night to function. She didn’t always wake up and crave some alcohol to get rid of her shakiness. But this addiction snuck up on her – after going through a difficult divorce, having to find work after being a stay at home mom, and having the new responsibility of being sole parent to her young son, drinking seemed to be the best way for her to relax from all these stresses. But before she knew it, she found herself passed out at three in the afternoon, having kept her son home from school for the day – and she got caught. Thus begins the long, arduous process of recovery.
Wow. Can I just say that Best Kept Secret had me captivated from page 1 and there was no possible way I could get myself to put the book down? Because seriously, I did not expect to be so engaged in, so enthralled by this novel. But there you have it, the book was truly that good.
The main ingredient in Best Kept Secret is the character of Cadence. Without a realistic, likable, and interesting Cadence this book would be nothing, so thank goodness that she is one of the most easy to understand, easy to relate to characters in fiction I’ve come across in a while. The thing is that it’s easy to put yourself, the reader, in Cadence’s shoes. It’s easy to understand, based on the story Hatvany tells, how one glass of wine a few times a week can quickly spiral into two bottles (or more) a day. It was absolutely heartbreaking to read about Cadence’s demise into addiction, but like a train wreck or car accident, it was impossible for me to put down the book and look away.
Something redeeming about this novel is that she does go to rehab and she does get her life back on track, so there is a very hopeful tone to the novel (this is not a spoiler, the majority of the book is told in flashbacks so you know from very early on that she’s received help). It was a nice balance to strike here – showing the ugliest, scariest parts of Cadence’s addiction and balancing that with the fact that there is help available and hope that she can get her life back together.
I absolutely loved Best Kept Secret. It is an incredible novel about the truth of addiction, about what alcoholism can really look like in a young mother’s life, and I literally could not put this book down. Highly recommended.