Best Kept Secret

Amy Hatvany, Author
Amy Hatvany. Washington Square, $15 trade paper (328p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9331-0
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4391-9333-4
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Wine is as much a character in Hatvany's confessional third novel (after The Language of Sisters) as is Cadence Sutter, the journalist and single mom whose struggle with alcohol Hatvany chronicles in maudlin detail. Once upon a time, Sutter was a happy wife and loving mother to Charlie, now five, but a bitter divorce led her to cope with her stresses by drinking—a lot. Over the course of a year, having a glass or two of Merlot with friends slid messily into nonstop binges in the privacy of her own home. Now, after losing custody of her son, Candace is in a fight to win him back, both legally and emotionally. Hatvany interrupts the present with glimpses of Sutter's year of uncontrolled drinking, revealing the painful realities of addiction. The author adopts the intimate feel of a memoir and unfortunately unimaginative prose: "I averted my eyes from my child and gulped down two long swallows. It only took a moment for that familiar feeling to wash over me, like hot honey pushing through my veins." Still, she illustrates how easily someone leading what looks like a normal life can actually be terribly trapped. (June)
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