Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: The Husband's Secret

The Husband's Secret
By Liane Moriarty
Published: July 30, 2013

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died. . . .

Imagine that 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 just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, 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, and 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: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

My review:

When I read Liane Moriarty's What Alice Forgot, it reminded me of Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella but with a more serious bent. While initially Cecilia's character seemed a little out there like a more responsible version of Kinsella's heroines, The Husband's Secret is a darker book. 

Cecilia is one of those supermoms who successfully manages both a career and busy home and social life. She talks a lot but people mostly think well of her (or are jealous of her for being so on top of it all). Cecilia's inner monologue can be entertaining and sometimes heartbreaking. It definitely makes her a real and more likable character.

Rachel is the secretary at the elementary school Cecilia's daughter attends. Rachel is still grieving the murder of her daughter Janie who died as a teen years ago. Now her son is moving his family to the U.S., taking Rachel's young grandson (and only source of comfort) away. Rachel is mired in grief and bitterness but I still felt sympathy for her because she seems to be so alone.

Tess is dealing with the shock of finding out her husband and her cousin Felicity (who happens to be her best friend) are in love with each other though they claim "nothing has happened yet". This betrayal sends her back to Sydney where her path will cross with Cecilia and Rachel as well as her ex-boyfriend Connor Whitby. While I did feel bad for Tess because of her marriage situation, I didn't agree with some of her decisions and she came across as childish at times.

I thought the characterization of the main characters was really well done. There aren't any easy answers and the author gives the reader the ability to empathize with the characters and to be able to see both sides of the story. Tess's story is perhaps the weakest because Will is off screen for much of the book but the other stories were well developed. 

I wanted to read this book partly because it involves secrets. I have to admit that I was way off base on what the secret would be and I'm glad. I liked how with all three story threads there is some closure and some things left open-ended like it is in real life. I think this book poses some tough questions to consider and I think it would be a great book for book groups to read and discuss. 

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of Amazon Vine


  1. Hmmm....wondering how all the characters tie together and am very curious about the secret-it definitely looks like something more serious than Sophie Kinsella.

  2. I got to chapter 5 and put it down, unsure if I will go back. None of the characters spoke to me or engaged me enough to care about their life or secret. I really wanted to try this one and expected to enjoy.

    Glad you did.


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