What’s Worth Keeping

book coverBy Kaya McLaren

** Publication Date 19 January 2021 **

5 stars

Amy finds out she has breast cancer and must undergo a double mastectomy and chemo. Her husband, a cop who was a first responder at the Oklahoma City bombing, is still trying to cope with his own trauma, and now must be Amy’s primary caregiver. Carly, their daughter, is going to also be a caregiver, and at 16, that’s a lot for a teenager to take.

When Amy discovers a secret her husband Paul has been keeping, it turns her already upside down world inside out. She has to find herself and determine if she’s willing to keep the life she had or start over. Escaping is the only way she can think to try to make peace with what’s happened and how to move forward.

Post-graduation, Paul takes Carly out to her great-aunt’s ranch to work for the summer. Paul and Amy are hoping that Rae’s influence and being with the horses and nature for a few months might help Carly heal. Rae has plenty of wisdom and life experience and love to put Carly’s life in perspective. 

Paul has his own issues to cope with, so while at the ranch, he stops by the retirement home that the family had purchased. It’s in disrepair. While given an unexpected leave from work, Paul decides to start repairing the house and hopes that will give him the time to repair his own life. 

Perhaps I’m biased as a breast cancer survivor, but I really enjoyed reading this telling of another woman’s experience as a survivor. This book touched on so much survival and trauma – breast cancer, first responder experience, child caretaker of a survivor. Everyone in this family had some form of PTSD from what they’d been through. I loved how each person needed to heal and reflect and move forward in the best way possible for each of them. Sometimes what we think destroys us, allows us to start over in new ways. This novel absolutely showed how change can be good in more ways than we could imagine.

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