Kate Sullivan has a beautiful home, a job she loves and a handsome fiance; all she’s ever dreamed of since getting sober and painstakingly piecing her life back together.
But a chance encounter with her old best friend, threatens Kate’s newfound and fragile happiness. She remembers nothing of their last drunken night out, the night Becky broke off their friendship without warming or explanation.
With Becky back in her life, Kate is desperate to make amends for the past. For the closure she craves, Kate needs to know what she did that ruined everything. But what if the truth is worse than Kate could have imagined.
Thanks to Joe at Quercus for reaching out and inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour celebrating publication of Emily Freud’s debut fiction, My Best Friend’s Secret. The premise appealed to me so I was quick to agree!
This book is about Kate an alcoholic in recovery, working as a primary school teacher and engaged to Ben; handsome, successful and smitten with her. I was struck at how young Kate was to be an alcoholic, but this book very successfully shines a light on misperceptions around alcohol – recreational drinking and when that line is crossed into problematic drinking. The character Kate as a teen drank to excess, experiencing blackouts and unable to recall events of the previous night. She was vulnerable when drunk and ultimately lost a lot before starting on her journey to recovery. This exploration of alcoholism was central to the book but a very useful means of fiction to highlight a series and largely unrecognised problem.
The story itself is gripping, Kate is troubled by Becky’s reappearance, she knows their friendship ended badly and abruptly but has no idea why. Her fragility is evident as she becomes increasingly suspicious of Becky’s motives and finds herself craving alcohol. Her relationship with Ben is impacted and challenges in her professional life add to the stress.
Told in the third person narrative the character driven story is compelling, there is much to Kate, in terms of her familial relationships, her relationship with AA and recovery, her relationship with Becky and her family and her working life. All feel complex and for Kate there is a constant battle, with alcohol, but also with her own self esteem – her perception of what she deserves, versus what she has.
This is a story of recovery, making amends within the context of the 12 steps programme and thus taking responsibility for oneself, past and present. The Becky / Kate dynamic is articualted well with Kate often feeling overcome with guilt, without really knowing why the friendship ended. Is Becky seeking redemption? This book kept me guessing and the conclusion did not disappoint. A strong debut focussing on female friendship and alcoholism. Recommended reading and despite its heavy topics, this would make a good beach read.
Thanks for reading and as always happy reading.
About the Author
Emily Freud has spent her career working in television production and development. Credits include Emmy and BAFTA award-winning television series, including Educating Yorkshire, and First Dates. Her debut novel My Best Friend’s Secret, publishes in 2021. Emily lives in north London, with her husband and two small children. She is currently working on her next novel.
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