Best Kept Secret
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.
Read an Excerpt
Being drunk in front of your child is right up there on the Big Bad No-no List of Motherhood. I knew what I was doing was wrong. I knew it with every glass, every swallow, every empty bottle thrown into the recycle bin. I hated drinking. I hated it . . . and I couldn’t stop. The anesthetic effect of alcohol ran thick in my blood; the Great Barrier Reef built between me and my feelings. I watched myself do it in an out-of-body experience: Oh, isn’t this interesting? Look at me, the sloppy drunk. It snuck up on me, every time. It took me by surprise.
I tried to stop. Of course I tried. I went... see more
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eBook 9781439193334(1.4 MB)
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Reading Group Guide
Questions& Topics for Discussion
- Do you think the pressures that moms feel today are different from those that previous generations of mothers have faced? How do the challenges of balancing work and family fit in? Discuss to what extent this was illustrated in the novel.
- Cadence’s doctor and Andi both use the phrase “different behaviors, same compulsion” when discussing addiction and recovery. What do they mean when they say this? Can you think of other addictive behaviors that women adopt in an effort to “escape”?
- Cadence says that her mother, Sharon, never discussed the end of her relationships with the men she dated. Do you think this had an effect on Cadence? What was your opinion of how Sharon reacted when Cadence called her father?
- Did you agree with Martin’s decision to file for custody? In your opinion, what were his motivations for doing this?
- Alice is one of the novel’s most enigmatic characters. Did your opinion of her change from the novel’