'The Husband's Secret'
Author: Liane Moriarty
Published: Amy Einhorn Books; July 2013
Synopsis: Australian author Moriarty, in her fifth novel (after The Hypnotist's Love Story), puts three women in an impossible situation and doesn't cut them any slack. Cecilia Fitzpatrick lives to be perfect: a perfect marriage, three perfect daughters, and a perfectly organized life. Then she finds a letter from her husband, John-Paul, to be opened only in the event of his death. She opens it anyway, and everything she believed is thrown into doubt. Meanwhile, Tess O'Leary's husband, Will, and her cousin and best friend, Felicity, confess they've fallen in love, so Tess takes her young son, Liam, and goes to Sydney to live with her mother. There she meets up with an old boyfriend, Connor Whitby, while enrolling Liam in St. Angela's Primary School, where Cecilia is the star mother. Rachel Crowley, the school secretary, believes that Connor, St. Angela's PE teacher, is the man who, nearly three decades before, got away with murdering her daughter—a daughter for whom she is still grieving. Simultaneously a page-turner and a book one has to put down occasionally to think about and absorb, Moriarty's novel challenges the reader as well as her characters, but in the best possible way.
My Take: After reading and loving both The Hypnotist's Love Story and What Alice Forgot, I knew I had to read Liane Moriarty's latest novel The Husband's Secret. Holy crap, I was not disappointed! Moriarty's two previous novels were definite page-turner's. The story-lines lend themselves to wanting to know what happens next, and I can easily say that The Husband's Secret is her biggest page-turner yet!
The Husband's Secret centers around three women: Cecilia Fitzpatrick, Tess O'Leary, and Rachel Crowley. All three are tangentially related via the secret but when the novel opens they don't know that yet. The husband referred to in the title is the husband of Cecilia, John-Paul (fyi, I don't know why, but reading this hyphenated name over and over again really drove me crazy. Just call him JP people!). Cecilia and JP have three daughters and live a very happy, very suburban life. However, one day when JP is on a business trip, Cecilia stumbles upon a letter that was written to her when their first daughter was born by her husband to Cecilia to only be opened in the event of his death. Cecilia is shocked to find this letter and asks JP about it. Having made the decision not to open it already, when she talks to JP he is so weird about the whole thing that she knows what is in the letter has to be damaging so now she really wants to open it. Contained within is the secret and holey moley people, what an earth-shattering secret it is!
Meanwhile, Rachel Crowley works at the school where Cecilia's three daughters go. Rachel's daughter used to attend this same school as well, but then she was murdered when she was just a teenager. They never caught the murderer and Rachel has been haunted by this the rest of her life. She is consumed by it.
Finally, we have Tess O'Leary. She too is happily married with one young son. One day her husband and her best-friend/cousin, Felicity, announce to Tess that they have fallen in love. Naturally, this shatters her world and she grabs her son and flees to her mother's house and quickly enrolls her son in the same school where Rachel works and Cecilia's children attend.
All three stories I found equally fascinating and once the secret is revealed you really want to understand how the women deal with it. Who knows how you would react to something equally earth-shattering. It's hard to explain how emotional this book is without revealing too much but I am trying to do my best. Let's just say when you read it, you want to talk about it. I was telling my husband the plot and his eyes were getting bigger as he was finding it more and more fascinating and twisted. This book would be perfect for a movie! Please, I urge you, read this book, you will not be disappointed!
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Cover Lust: This cover is fine but it doesn't really paint a good picture of what's inside. Sure the smashed hydrangea is probably symbolic but it doesn't really grab me.