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Best Kept Secret

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  4,760 ratings  ·  519 reviews
A timely and captivating novel about a mother whose life spirals out of control when she descends into alcoholism, and her battle to get sober and regain custody of her beloved son.

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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group (first published May 23rd 2011)
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Showing 1-30
3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,760 ratings  ·  519 reviews

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Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommend
This is an amazing book. It is the story of Cadence, whose once perfect life slowly slips out of her control, as does her drinking. When she endangered her son's wellbeing, her ex-husband takes him from her. After stint in a psychiatric hospital and rehab, she is slowly trying to figure out how to live sober and regain custody of her son.
What is so incredible about this book is how well it portrays the journey that alcoholics take. From social drinking to out of control binging, those first few
May 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
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 anot
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
Cadence didn't set out to become an alcoholic. She had recently divorced Martin (a mommy's boy) and was having trouble sleeping, dealing with a young child, and struggling financially. She would just have a glass of wine at night to help her sleep. A glass of wine turned to 2 bottles of wine per night before long. She didn't see that she had a problem. One night she was out of wine and left her young son at home by himself to run and grab a bottle (I didn't like her much then) The author did not ...more
♥ Marlene♥
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, fiction, non-genre
Anyway. Really enjoying this book. I do think she spoiled her son rotten and the boy behaved rude.
read 46 % now

A Very Personal Review

Finished this morning and yes a very interesting book.
What I liked most is that it was quite realistic as well.
Sometimes it did feel a bit like advertisement for the AA. I am sure they loved the book ;)

Oh who am I fooling? I did too! I love when a book feels real cause that does not happen often enough. From the first pages I
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A couple of months ago I picked up this book on the library shelf and flipped through it to get an idea of the content. I decided that I wasn't much interested in the subject matter and put it back. A couple of days ago I picked put he same book and took another look at it because it has a compelling cover. I checked it out with about six other books and thought I would take a closer look at it at home and would probably abandon it, after all. The minute I read the first paragraph, I couldn't st ...more
Diane S ☔
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4 1/2 but I can see why this book has received all 4 and 5 ratings. I got so emotionally caught up in this book, it was a brutally honest portrayal of a woman who descends into alcoholism putting herself and her son in jeopardy and her attempt to climb back out. Plus I love the characters name, Cadence.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When I first started reading this book, I was instantly on the defense. Being a recovering alcoholic and a single mother, I was really curious to know if this book was written by "one of us", or if it was penned by an imposter, whose only experience with this disease was watching reruns of Intervention. Once I had satisfied myself that this was indeed written by someone who "knows", I was able to open up and let this story in.

Alcoholism has a voice. It is loud. It is constant. And it lives in my
Judy Collins
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recently, I read Amy’s latest book, “Heart Like Mine” and loved it, so working my way back as want to read all her books, as she has been added to my favorite author list. I love her writing style and her subject matter --the way her characters come alive. I did not want to put this book down (it was amazing)! I had a lot of work and appointments this week, so anxiously awaited my quiet reading time to find out what obstacle Cadence was to overcome next.

Hats off to the author for putting herse
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Another great book by Amy Hatvany! Best Kept Secret felt so real and emotional. Cadence's story sucked me in and I was rooting for her sobriety. At one point, I was yelling at her (well...the audiobook) not to pick up another drink. LOL. I need to read more of this author's work.

Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
After enjoying “Somewhere Out There” by author Amy Hatvany, and reading reviews on that novel, I learned that many of her followers enjoyed “Best Kept Secret” even more. This author has a devoted following, and I understand why. In this novel, as with the above mentioned, Hatvany delves into realistic domestic fiction that provides the reader with thought provoking themes. Her characters are real and human and all lessons are learned after messy and horrifying mistakes. These stories are gritty. ...more
Best Kept Secret: A Novel, written by Amy Hatvany, is a hugely powerful novel that focuses on a mother's demise into alcoholism while being divorced from her husband and clinging to custody of her young son. Cadence Sutter is a journalist that is married to Martin and mother to her five-year-old son, Charlie. The couple end up getting divorced because Martin is constantly working an extremely excessive amount of hours with his job at Microsoft, and Cadence realizes that he is no longer around fo ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, fiction, 2017
3.5 stars. I enjoyed this audio-book, the narrator did a good job and the story kept my attention. I learned a lot about alcoholism, the explanations formed part of the story, and I never felt like I was being info-bombed. I loved the authors descriptions, on being asked by her son what alcoholism is she explains to him that it is an allergy to alcohol, and that the allergic reaction is the inability to stop drinking. I really felt empathy for Caydence and the other moms - this book serves as a ...more
Great read,i really cried with Cadence,yes for a while she was lost but once she realizes she is about to lose Charlie she starts to redeem herself,gets help and tries to overcome her addiction.I was really angry at first when Cadence lost she should be given a second chance,she is broken but yet again she picks herself up,whatever little time she has got with Charlie she makes it up with it.

Martin was right when he took Charlie when Cadence became addicted,i also understood his filing the case
T. Greenwood
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
On the surface, Best Kept Secret might simply seem like another story of addiction. And, indeed, it is a raw examination of a woman in crisis, an honest and aching portrait of an addict who almost loses everything when her life spirals out of control. However, what makes this novel entirely original, is its fearless exploration of the place where addiction and motherhood intersect. What made me love Cadence was not her struggle with alcohol, but her fierce love for her child. This novel is a tes ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It was a few years before I started getting into Amy Hatvany’s novels, so I missed Best Kept Secret the first time around. I finally decided to check it out and I’m so glad I did! This is an incredibly powerful and touching novel that I think everyone needs to read. Amy added a personal touch to it, which makes it even more meaningful to read.

The story is so accessible and serves as a cautionary tale. Cadence could be any one of us at any time. I could relate to her, even though I have no desire
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a great book and Ms. Hatvany is a wonderful author. This was an incredibly moving account of one woman's journey through alcoholism. In the beginning of the book, we meet Cadence who is juggling all of the responsibilities that go along with being a single mother. She recently divorced from her husband, and they share joint custody of their son, Charlie. When it seems like too much for Cadence, she has a glass of wine. That glass over time, turns into two..then three..and so on. This st ...more
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
"Best Kept Secret might simply seem like another story of addiction. And, it is a raw examination of a woman in crisis, an honest and aching portrait of an addict who almost loses everything when her life spirals out of control. However, what makes this novel entirely original, is its fearless exploration of the place where addiction and motherhood intersect. What made me love Cadence was not her struggle with alcohol, but her fierce love for her child. This novel is a testament to the power of ...more
Hatvany is the best at showing and not telling emotions. Best Kept Secret was very eye opening. It shows you how people can spiral to find themselves in such a bad place and why it's always worth it to give them a second chance. I have much love for this woman and the books that she writes. If anybody can write about a hard and potentially controversial topic and handle it well, it's this girl.
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Best Kept Secret is a novel that has broken one of Chick Lit’s taboos. It’s what appealed to me in the first place, it’s why I brought the novel. Chick Lit novels cover a wide range of topics, but there are some topics that are rarely touched upon. Apart from Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes, I have not read a Chick Lit novel that features its main character being a drug addict/alcoholic. It’s always the father of the character, or the mother, or the brother. It’s as if we wouldn’t be able to co ...more
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is another book that I never would have voluntarily picked up without any outside forces. Yet again, I found myself being friends with a Goodreads author that I had never heard of, but felt compelled to read her novel. (the fact that she and I shared similar tastes in books encouraged this). When I requested it from the library it was on order, so being the first person to receive it was quite a novelty!!!
I'm not quite sure what genre I would classify this as, it had a strong "chic lit" fee
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
Have an ARC of this book - lucky me! This is a genuine, heartfelt novel about a mother struggling to do it all, but most of all struggling with her alcoholism. I’m actually surprised there haven’t been more books on this topic. It’s so pervasive yet it's so incredibly taboo, which is, I guess, why there haven’t been more books! The author nails the voice of Cadence and makes her a believable, highly likable, and sympathetic character, even when she’s doing something anyone would consider “bad.” ...more
Kim D
Jan 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I was first "introduced" to Amy Hatvany via Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) networking. I have not met her in person, have not met her at any HR-related events, and most likely couldnt pick her out of a lineup. But hey, we have a profession in common! At least until her book writing becomes lucrative enough to walk away from the glamorous world of personnel.

Best Kept Secret chronicles mom Cadence's struggle with alcoholism, divorce, and losing custody of her son due to her drinkin
Caren ~ the misfit geek
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: womens-fiction
This was just an exceptional book. Rarely do I meet a book that reaches inside me and touches my soul. The tough subject of addiction was handled with grace and compassion. In fact, it was so well done that I was convinced by the halfway mark that the author had made a similar journey. I found out that she did, in fact, struggle with this demon disease.

I connected with Cadence immediately. She could literally be any woman. I was in her head as she spiraled out of control and then struggled to c
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
I loved it! It was a difficult read for me, emotionally. My brother died from alcoholism, at 38 years old. I feel tremendous empathy for the struggling addict. Amy Hatvany is one of my very favorite authors. She expresses the feelings of her characters so well, you feel very connected to them. I'm glad Cadence, the heart broken Mom & alcoholic was able to find hope as the story went on. I can't wait to read more books by this author. Outside The Lines was excellent as well.
Kaira Rouda
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Amy Hatvany's character Cadence could be you, your neighbor, your sister, your friend. She is all of us as loving, imperfect mothers. What is special about Best Kept Secret is the humanity Hatvany captures through her protagonist - the moments that ring so real, so true. " - I was always looking in the direction I thought I should have gone" is just one of the many lines I love in this novel.
Read this book. And share it with your friends.
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was a little slow for me. Cadence is a woman who had a drinking problem. She she drinks too often in front of her son, she realizes she needs to get help but at what cost? I did like the writing style but lost a bit of interest around page 200 but kept at it till the end.
Wendy T
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was such a good book about a mother who was an alcoholic and how she messed up her life and that of her family. A well written story.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A powerful and impacting story of how Cadence struggles with work and bringing up a toddler after her marriage falls apart, and turns to the bottle to help her cope with life. Only it doesn't, it devastates her life in the most sobering way possible when her husband finds her passed out from drinking with their son in the room, taking him away and filing for custody of four year old Charlie.

From sinking so low Cadence, with help from her sister and alcoholics'support meetings, lifts herself from
Dec 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
From the first frank opening lines, I knew that Cadence's story would be heart-wrenching, gutsy, and totally honest.

Her beginning confession of her greatest "sin," being drunk in front of her child, told me that we were about to commence a journey that could only get more painful, but would also yield the unique wisdom that comes from coping with something horrendous, and yet living to tell about it.

We can see that being an alcoholic is difficult and challenging enough, but being an alcoholic mo
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-read
For more reviews check out my blog, Thoughts of a Fashionista!

Drinking snuck up on Cadence. Before she knew it, Cadence was downing two bottles of wine in a single night. When it go from one glass to relax her before to bed to this? Rewind two years and from the outside Cadence had everything--a husband climbing the ladder at Microsoft and a son that filled her days with laughter and love. What more could she want. But then a divorce splits her family in two and her future seems less certain. Wh
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Sep 21, 2015 12:24PM  
52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2015.19: Best Kept Secret 7 47 Jun 07, 2015 06:05AM  
  • The Language of Sisters
  • The Kindest Thing
  • The Good Sister
  • Life Without Summer
  • Girls in Trouble
  • Chosen
  • Close Your Eyes
  • Mothers and Other Liars
  • Prayers and Lies
  • The Slow Moon
  • A Sister's Gift
  • The Summer We Came to Life
  • Here, Home, Hope
  • Web of Angels
  • Hidden Wives
  • What Happened to Hannah
  • Second Nature
  • Goodnight, Beautiful
Amy Hatvany was born in Seattle, WA in 1972, the youngest of three children. She graduated from Western Washington University in 1994 with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs – some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist. In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car ...more
“What other people think of you is none of your business," she says. "You can't change it, you can't control it. The only thing you can control is your reaction to it.” 23 likes
“Humiliation is about shame. Becoming humble is about being of use to others. It helps you get off the self-pity pot and stop wallowing around in your own crap.” 15 likes
More quotes…