One of the Top Ten Books of the Year-- People magazine
At the heart of The Husband's Secret is a letter that's not meant to be read.Read more...
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ProductsMore About The Husband's Secret by Liane MoriartyOverviewTHE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF BIG LITTLE LIES. One of the Best Books of the Year--Entertainment Weekly
One of the Top Ten Books of the Year--People magazine
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.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-06-10
- Reviewer: Staff
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. Agent: Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency. (Aug.)BookPage Reviews
The secrets we keep
At first, this reviewer wanted to warn readers not to be taken in by the light tone of Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret. On second thought, maybe readers should let this rather crafty novelist’s deceptive breeziness and humor sweep them along. It makes the shocks just that much more deliciously nasty, including the gob-smacking twist in the epilogue.
On the surface, the story is about a group of nice, middle-class, mostly Catholic women living in modern-day Australia. There’s Cecilia, the disconcertingly chipper and organized Tupperware salesperson with her mysterious, moody husband John-Paul and their beautiful young daughters. There’s Tess, who embarks on an affair of her own after she discovers her cousin Felicity is sleeping with her husband. And then there’s poor Rachel Crowley, whose daughter Janie was found dead in a park many years ago as a teenager. The case has never been solved, but Rachel’s sure she knows who killed Janie.
A constellation of spouses, children and co-workers surrounds these women, giving the proceedings a cozy normality that we know can’t last. Though men tend to be background figures, the most developed is Connor Whitby, the P.E. teacher at the school attended by Cecilia and Tess’ kids. Handsome and fit, Connor has everyone wondering why he remains unmarried well into his 40s.
Perhaps there’s a reason that most everyone in the book is Catholic, given its themes of sin, both venal and mortal, of guilt and redemption, forgiveness and confession—as well as its images of Easter eggs and hot cross buns and wrongdoings that erupt on Good Friday like the undead. The genius of The Husband’s Secret is that it makes us start to wonder what in our own lives would—or would not—have happened if, say, we had waited just five more minutes before we walked out the door, had not said that hurtful thing, had applied a bit of logic to that situation. The Husband’s Secret is as scary as it is familiar.