Life of Cyn by Caitlin Avery

Published: December 27, 2022

Bullough Pond Press

Pages: 326

Genre: Psychological Thriller

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Caitlin Avery writes about women whose lives are amiss and can’t resist dangerous impulses. She’s the author of the award-winning adventure/thriller, The Last Cruz, its up-and-coming sequel, Grief and Grace, and the soon-to-be-released women’s fiction Life of Cyn. Her first book, a coming-of-age memoir, is called Lightning in my Wires. When she’s not inventing transformative adventures for her readers, she loves to indulge in them. A triathlete, mountain biker, backpacker, black-diamond skier, and yoga enthusiast, she lives outside of Boston with her husband and son and the cat and dog who rescued her.

Some say life begins at forty.
Cyn Mckinley hopes so since her former life is over. Home foreclosure, a cross-country move, and hidden drinking problem pretty much killed it. Being crushed by crippling anxiety doesn’t help.
When she discovers that her husband’s new boss is the monster who raped her in high school, she spirals further down. Struggling to process this revelation, she conceals it from her husband because they need his job. Instead, she numbs her pain with too much wine, drives drunk, and her husband threatens to divorce her. She reluctantly quits drinking, hoping that will save her marriage.
But clarity from sobriety brings something unexpected to Cyn – the need for justice or revenge. If only she can find a way to make the demon pay for the trauma he inflicted, and the ripples it sent through her life, then maybe she’ll find peace.

“Every one of us got a hand in the beginning.”

Cyn is trying to get her life back on track. Between recent changes and her drinking, things have been hard. And she is starting to feel isolated and worthless. When a series of bad decisions leads to her husband giving her an ultimatum, Cyn knows she has to make some changes. But can she outrun the shadows from her past before it’s too late?

Wow. This book is heavy. It’s complex, vulnerable, sad, and at times infuriating. But it’s also beautiful. It is filled with hope, forgiveness, second chances, and recovery.

I spent a lot of this book so angry at Cyn. She went through something horrific at 17, and it altered her. And alcohol became her coping mechanism. And she chose the bottle over and over again. She risked her life, marriage, career, and her son’s life.

The balance is Nick was also struggling. And not just with his wife and her addiction. He had his demons to battle, his webs to clear. I found the telling of their stories powerful.

Mary was an incredible character. She spoke with compassion, empathy, and knowledge. She was a remarkable character.

One of the most realistic portions of this book is the way Cyn’s addiction had a handle on her. That was so realistic. So heartbreaking. And, at times, so infuriating. But the path to redemption is rarely easy.

When Cyn decided to take her power back and call her attacker out, she never expected the domino effect it would cause. She had no idea that this monster had brutalized so many other women.

And for most of the book, her anger and fear motivated her. And kept her going back to the comfort of alcohol. But as Cyn starts to realize that the man that took so much from her is just a man, a broken, disgusting disgrace of a man- she realizes he is not worth the life she has to live.

When Mary takes Cyn to a meeting, and she finds nothing but support- I lost it. This was a decisive moment. The realistic way addiction is portrayed is scary. It was honest, and it was profound.

Cyn and Nick could be any of us. They are some of us. And this book does a phenomenal job of reminding us to be willing to forgive, understand, and practice patience.

I asked Caitlin to join her review team after seeing a video she shared about making attackers afraid. About saying their name and refusing to be silent.

This book isn’t at all what I expected. It was so much more. This was an incredible journey, and no amount of words will do this book justice. All I can say is read it.

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