Monday, January 23, 2012

Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany


Book synopsis from the publisher's website:

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….
I feel so, so bad. I had promised Amy this review quite some time ago and never followed up on my word. It had never happened before and that's what makes it even worse.  But Best Kept Secret is such a good book and so important that I have to write about it, regardless of how late this review comes. Cadence's pain, her struggles to keep up with being a mother, to be what other, seemingly perfect mothers were and to do it all alone while living with the fact that the husband she was once thought to be made just for her, that was meant to be with her forever, left her because he just couldn't be with her any longer, it all touched my very soul.

That's what Amy's writing is, it touches your soul. You don't have to be a single mother that just can't keep it all together, you don't have to be slipping into alcohol induced oblivion, but you will still be able to have at least a little bit of understanding of Cadence's suffering. You'd either have to be one of those 'Stepford wives' (who by the way, probably never read a page of a decent book anyway) or just feel very righteous and 'holier than thou'.

Amy Hatvany simply shows us how fragile we are, especially as mothers. She shows us that there are dangers out there than may bring on the destruction of all that's precious to us. But she also, in a very skillful and delicate way, shows us that redemption is just around the corner, if we're willing to ask and accept the help.

It's a beautiful story and also deeply personal, since Amy did go through very similar circumstances. Her suffering and her courage gives Best Kept Secret an even deeper meaning. If you decide to not read it, I think you'll be missing out big time .

FTC: I have received a free copy of this book via Shelf Awareness.

Places you can find Amy Hatvany:

Facebook: Amy Hatvany

Great news for me and other fans of this splendid writer: Amy has written another novel, Outside the Lines, which will be released on 02/07/2012. Yay!

You can purchase both books at:


Call Me Princess by Sara Blaedel - Did Not Finish

The book's description from Sara Blaedel's website:

When detective inspector Louise Rick from the Copenhagen Police Murder Squad is put on the case of a young woman who has been the victim of a date rape, she soon realises that the investigation is going to be more complex than she initially thought. The woman had met the rapist on an internet dating site and he had used a false identity.
Louise starts studying old rape case records and she soon comes across a man with a profile that fits. And then a young woman is found dead, strangled, and the similarities in the cases are horrifying: there is obviously a serial murderer out there, cold-bloodedly exploiting the steadily growing trend for online dating.
Even though Louise manages to track down a couple of the aliases the man uses, all attempts to discover his true identity fail. When her friend, journalist Camilla Lind, says that she has also been dating a man she met via the internet, Louise realises that the only way she can stop the rapist’s reign of terror is to go on the net and lure him out of anonymity.

That was a 'did-not-finish' of epic proportions. I stopped before I even got to 5% of the book. The writing is just awful. The nonsensical metaphors and unnecessary descriptions of every 'muscle twitch' and of every thought going on in the characters' minds helped me make up my mind quickly. Didn't want to bother trying to read on and give the book a chance to redeem itself. I highly doubt there's any redemption to be found in there. Call Me Princess is Sara Blædel's American debut novel and she apparently wrote it in English instead of her native Danish (I cannot find any translation info at all) and that very well may be the reason why Call Me Princess seems to me a train wreck while its author is apparently hailed as one of the most successful crime writers in Denmark. I hope next time the publishers will hire a translator instead.

FTC: I received an e-galley from Net Galley.