With a writing style that is warm and candid, Ann Carbine Best will immediately draw you in with her deftly written debut In The Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets (WiDo Publishing, 2011), a memoir that reads as smoothly as fiction.
I started reading Ann’s book in the middle of the afternoon and couldn’t go to bed until I’d learned how everything would turn out for the Best family. Ann has the gift of making you feel as if she is a good friend you’ve known all your life, of making you feel as if you are there in the same room hearing her soft voice tell a story of strength.
Starting with her 1961 marriage to Larry, Ann writes clearly and directly about their relationship and its slow unraveling after discovering he is sleeping with men—both while he is getting his doctorate degree in Connecticut and after their return to the tight-knit Mormon community of Orem, Utah.
Even though it is something her church frowns against, Ann must work outside the home as a secretary after her husband says he might lose his job at Brigham Young University after propositioning a student. It is at her new job Ann must fight her own internal desires, as she finds herself mutually attracted to her compassionate boss.
It will be more than a decade later, however, before Ann and her husband divorce, when Larry decides to live with the love of his life, Cliff, a decision that is difficult for both of them. “I couldn’t cry,” Ann writes. “I had to see where I was going.”
Ann’s life path took her from Utah to Virginia to start a new life as a single mother of four. Some of her children blamed their father and some blamed Ann for the failed marriage. “Ties that bind,” Ann keens afterward, “would I ever be able to break them?”
Ann’s faith continues to sustain her when, soon after the move, two of her children are involved in an automobile accident that severely injures one daughter and permanently disables the other. She will draw strength as well from her Mormon church family following the suicide death of her alcoholic second husband.
Not once does Ann fail to meet life gracefully, even though things don’t turn out the way she might have thought it would or should. “The important thing when something happens is how we help each other,” she says.
Warmly human and filled with poignant tension, this book will encourage and inspire anyone who is struggling with heartbreak with its message of faith and its beautiful turns of phrase. The poignant and compelling ending will leave you rethinking previously held beliefs.
Ann is a brilliant writer whose writing flows effortlessly and naturally. She captured my heart with her story, and I hope this will be the first of many books from an incredible debut author.
ABOUT THE AUTHORBorn and raised in Salt Lake City, Ann Carbine Best lives in the Shenandoah Valley, where she is full-time caregiver of her disabled daughter. Her and Larry’s other three children and seven grandchildren live nearby. She has published and won awards for stories, essays and poetry and is working on two new memoirs. “At age 71, I’m a living testimony that it’s never too late to publish a book."
Ann earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University and her master’s of fine arts in creative writing from George Mason University. Visit her at http://anncarbinebest.com/.
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Be sure to watch for next week’s two-part interview with author Ann Best.
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