#BookReview- What’s Worth Keeping #WomensFic #BookLove

Blurb from Amazon.com

In Kaya McLaren’s What’s Worth Keeping, during one unforgettable summer, three generations of one family receive the best gift of all time: a second chance…

The day her doctor says the one word that no one wants to hear, Amy Bergstrom discovers a secret that her husband of 25 years has been keeping from her. Now that the months of treatment and surgeries are behind her, she escapes her claustrophobic life seeking healing, peace and clarity in an ancient forest in Washington State, a forest that holds memories of her childhood summers.

After dropping off his daughter at Amy’s Aunt Rae’s horse ranch in the mountains of New Mexico, Officer Paul Bergstrom visits the fixer-upper he had bought years ago as a place to retire with his family. Although it appears fine on the outside, the inside is a disaster—just like his marriage. When he finds himself with more off-duty time than he expected, he lovingly repairs his dream home, building the future he so desperately wants.

Witnessing her mother’s health crisis had been terrifying enough, but learning the cause was genetic leaves Carly with the sense that all of her dreams are pointless. With the help of her eccentric great aunt and a Clydesdale named T. Rex, Carly just may find her faith in her future again.

Amy, Paul, and Carly discover that love and family are worth keeping in this powerful, emotional, and hopeful novel.


After a couple years as a nomad spending winters in Mexico, Kaya McLaren has recently returned to her roots are in the mountains of Washington State. She returned to her career as an art teacher, as well, a career that took her to diverse landscapes like the Quinault Rainforest, Snoqualmie Pass, the wheat country of north central Oregon, and the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in northern New Mexico. In addition to being a writer and art teacher, she’s been an archaeologist and a massage therapist. She enjoys art in all its forms, making music with friends, travel, riding horses, telemark skiing, kayaking, soaking in hot springs, and going for walks with her Mexican street dog, Frida.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

My Review

Beautiful. A moving tribute to inner strength.

What’s Worth Keeping is the story of three lives torn apart by Cancer. The disease infiltrates not only the person afflicted but everyone they know, in one way or another.

When Amy Bergstrom receives the shocking news from her doctor, she mistakenly assumes nothing could be worse. Until she arrives home to find her husband of twenty-five years had plans to leave her. Angry and hurt, she shuts down and succumbs to the necessary treatments needed to rid her body of the disease. Needing escape from everything that’s gone wrong in her life, Amy heads into the sweeping forests of Washington to heal.

Amy’s husband, Paul, is also battling demons. As a police officer, he’s been forced to witness the worst of humanity and it’s taken a painful toll. Now he’s hit with another traumatic event, that of his wife’s double mastectomy. The pressure he’s under is intense but instead of sharing his grief with his wife, Paul closes t up inside.

Instead of enjoying her senior year of high school, Carly is her mother’s night nurse while she goes through her cancer treatments. She knows she shouldn’t be so selfish but anxiety mixes with fear and resentment to create a stew of hostility in her breast.

The journey taken by each member of the Bergstrom family is heartfelt and realistically portrayed. Thank goodness for Aunt Rae!

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”


  1. Staci Troilo says:

    Sounds like this one is impossible to read with a dry eye. Best wishes to the author.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was. Thanks, Staci!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Jan Sikes says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this book, Jacquie. That photo of the woman on the swing is amazing. I don’t think I could do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even if you felt you had nothing left to lose? I think I might ❤


  3. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    I was involved reading your review Jacquie. This sounds like a teary read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is, but also one of inner strength ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sophie @BewareOfTheReader says:

    OMG I don’t know if I would have been strong enough to read it Jacquie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even though they’ve made giant strides in controlling the cancer cells, it’s still a fear all women face.


  5. This really is very moving, Jacquie. It is a bitter pill to swallow when you find out your mother has a cancer than is genetic. My mother’s also is and she has four daughters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sending prayers that it doesn’t carry down, Robbie. Is your mom in remission?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, for the past six years. We are very fortunate. It has weakened her and she has some long term after effects but, on the whole, she is doing well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Pink Roses says:

    This book sounds like it’s worth reading, Jacquie. Thanks for the review. But that photograph? Gives me the heebie jeebies!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it suited the story. She’s lost but searching for peace 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. petespringerauthor says:

    This one hits close to home for me. I found out my mom had cancer when I was in college. She was a deeply religious person and had an “if this is God’s plan for me, I accept it attitude.” My dad and mom’s four sons had to convince her to go through chemotherapy and radiation. She did even though it was quite a struggle at times and lived for forty more years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you were able to convince her to take the treatments, Pete. It must have been a scary time for your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This sounds like a powerful book, Jacquie. And I can’t help but think of all the families who struggle through these health crises on so many levels. Thanks for sharing your review. Have a peaceful safe weekend. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cancer is in our family history. My cousin developed leukemia while pregnant with her second child and refused treatment until the baby was born. She died six months later.
      It frustrates me that with all the money poured into research, there still is no cure- though at least now chance of life is much better than before.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s so heartbreaking, Jacquie. I share your frustration at the lack of a cure. It will happen someday, I think. But it’s always too late for someone’s loved ones. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

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