The Husband's Secret

The Husband's Secret

by Liane Moriarty

Overview: At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that is not meant to be read... My darling Cecilia, If you’re reading this, then I’ve died...

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not only the life you have built together, but the lives of others as well. And then imagine that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive…

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything—and not just for her. There are other women who barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they, too, are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Julia McDermott (02/07/16): This was the first book by this author I have read. I thought the writing was excellent, and the story kept me turning the pages. I was intrigued from the start, and I felt the idea and story were brilliant. If not for some of the plot elements that I felt were a bit of a stretch, I would have given it a 5. Nevertheless, I was able to "suspend disbelief" and enjoyed the denouement, and it kept me thinking about the book's themes and the story itself long after I was finished. Not a "forgettable" book!
Rating: ****

Debbie Weiss (07/18/15): This is the second book that I have read by the author, Liane Moriarty. The first one, Big Little Lies, was a lot of fun. I found this book to be just as interesting. As indicated previously by the others who have reviewed this book, there are three different individuals who are the main characters: Cecilia, Tess and Rachel. They are currently living in the same town, but at first you are not sure how their lives are inter-connected. After a short while, a big, dark secret of Cecilia's husband is revealed through a letter, written 28 years ago. The letter was hidden away and was only to be opened after his death. However, Cecilia finds the letter and proceeds to open and read it even though her husband is still very much alive. Suddenly, we see that the lives of all these women have always been connected --- and will be even more so now!

While a quick read, the book does have a serious side. It makes you consider what you would do if you were in Cecilia's shoes...would you reveal what you found in a letter if it would turn your world upside down? I am not sure what I would have done.
Rating: ****

Faith Bowers (05/31/14): I run an evening book club from our Sisterhood. Each May I ask for book suggestions and the club votes on 5 for the next year. We meet every other month because most are working woman and supposedly only have time for 5 meetings. The ones that show up regularly are actually avid readers but there are others in the group. The last book of this year was the Husband's Secret. In starting the book we all thought it was light, a quick read with the obvious of how a secret can change everything. Our discussion came to a much different conclusion. All the main characters, not just Cecilia, Tess and Rachel arrested much of their personal growth and development at their late teens. The finding out of the secret forced all the characters to grow up.

None of the main characters are who they they think they are until the secret is out in the open and everyone changes just enough to actually accept their adult versions. We did also note the coming down of the Berlin Wall as a alliterative metaphor. Seemingly the three main characters had little to do with each other and of course the end puts them all at the scene of another almost tragic accident. This led to a quick discussion as to whether the sins of the fathers get pay backs in the next generation. We decided no, but the reminder of the tragedy will always be on the parents' mind. It was a good discussion book even though it seems to be an easy read.
Rating: ***

Joan Curtis (06/18/14): A friend recommend that I read The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. She suggested that it might be a similar suspense/mystery as my release The Clock Strikes Midnight. Well. . . I would hope that my book is as good a read as Moriarty's. I found her writing fast, clean and well-thought out. She not only created engaging characters but she also built a story that kept the reader wanting to read more.

The story begins in the mind of Cecilia Fitzpatrick a happily married, extremely well-organized mom who sells Tupperware on the side. BTW, she very successfully sells Tupperware as she very successfully does everything. Cecilia unearths a letter from her husband. On the envelope he'd written her name and the words, "do not read until my death." Being such a good girl, she obeys his wishes for as long as she can (much longer than most of us would have!).

From this character we move to Tess who has just learned from her long-time friend and cousin (who recently lost a boatload of weight and now looks beautiful) and her husband that they have been secretly in love. This new information throws Tess's life into a tailspin. She takes her young son, Liam, off to Sydney (oh, I forgot to mention the story is set in Australia) to escape her husband and BFF's escapades with the excuse to take care of her mother.

The third important character is Rachel. We learn that Rachel's daughter, Janie, was tragically murdered twenty-eight years ago, and Rachel still suffers from this loss. She thinks of her daughter constantly, wondering what kind of life she would be leading now. She also obsesses over who might have killed her daughter. The murderer was never apprehended.

The author weaves these three main characters together in a compelling story. Interestingly, it is not the husband's secret that keeps the reader spellbound so much as what happens after the secret is revealed. In the preface to the book Moriarty refers to Pandora's box. The Husband's Secret is a modern version of Pandora's box. What do we do once the secrets are revealed? That's the underlying theme.

The other fascinating theme in the book is the metaphor created around the Berlin Wall. Cecilia's daughter is quite interested in the history of the Berlin Wall, both its construction and its destruction. At first I wondered what that had to do with moving the story along. Soon, I recognized the author's point--we all hide behind a wall of secrets. Everyone in the story--not just the husband in question--had secrets and we all hide behind them until the wall comes tumbling down. Quite clever.

Oh, and did I mention great writing? Here are some examples:
Who knew she was cabable of speaking with such hardness? Each word sunder like a block of concrete.
He was very broad-chested and athletic looking and he rode a motorbike and listened with his eyes.
She'd die with the clamp of grief still wrapped around her chest.
He kept talking. It was endless. . . like that urban myth about an exotic worm that lived in your body, and the only cure was to starve yourself and then place a hot dinner in front of your mouth and wait for the worm to smell the food and slowly uncoil itself, sliding its way up your throat.

Yes, this is a delicious read from beginning to end--worthy of many more than 5 stars.
Rating: *****

Judy Stanton (05/07/14): A trip to the beach calls for a good summer read, and The Husband's Secret fills the bill. Liane Moriarty ropes you in with three chapters about different characters and their families, and then proceeds to intertwine them in each other's worlds and relationships. The novel does challenge its characters to face tough problems, though none of them- the characters or the issues-- are well developed. This is a light read, and the author's epilog too neatly ties up the "what ifs" for all the plots twists and turns. That being said, I was engaged and did want to stick with it to the end to see what would happen. If you want something light yet readable, go for it!
Rating: ***

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