It’s time to review the featured book for November 2015. We chose The Husband’s Secret as the featured book for our book club; we also gave away a book to a lucky subscriber on our book club list. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up to the reader’s group to be in with a chance of winning December’s featured book; which will be revealed tomorrow.
I went into The Husband’s Secret expecting a good mystery read, as that was the genre it was listed under. However, The Husband’s Secret is a pleasant mix of themes. Sure, there are elements of mystery here, but I found it to be more of an appropriate read for chick-lit readers. That’s not to say the book wasn’t enjoyable for someone not experienced in the chick-lit genre however. Surprisingly, as a male reader I found myself quite hooked on The Husband’s Secret‘s blissfully dramatic scenes; and much of it comes down to Liane Moriarty’s excellent writing.
In The Husband’s Secret, author Liane Moriarty displays her talent for writing characters that aren’t exactly likeable, but you just can’t stop reading about. The story follows three women living across Australia, Cecilia, Tess and Rachael. Cecilia happens to be the loving mother of three daughters, and it happens to be her own husband (John-Paul Fitzpatrick) that is hiding the secret.
After searching for an item for her daughter in the attic, Cecilia discovers a letter addressed to her written in her husband’s handwriting. The envelope states that she must only open the letter once he has died. She questions him about the letter and his reaction makes it clear that he didn’t want her to find that letter, and that Cecilia clearly doesn’t know her husband as well as she thought she did.
Tess is faced with the dilemma of her husband falling in love with someone else, and Rachael is an older woman who is still grieving over her daughter that was murdered years ago. All three stories begin to unravel and cross into each other; causing some of the bitchiest and wittiest dialogue scenarios I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
The secret of Cecilia’s husband is actually revealed to the reader just before the halfway mark in the story, but I was able to figure out the secret a few chapters ahead of that, and I’m sure many readers will.
The following chapters after the cat is out the bag can feel a little slow and redundant, which doesn’t help as it’s a pretty lengthy book, but it all starts to pay off during the final chapters of the book. The epilogue may enrage some, as it dismantles a lot of the story building that has been done throughout the book, but I was fine with it as it’s more of a reflective look on the chaos that occurred.
Liane Moriarty is a brilliant writer, and I enjoy how she made this story come around in full circle. Sure, none of the characters are really likable, but who says any character in a story has to be likable? They were interesting enough to keep reading about and that’s what matters in the end. Also, to her credit I did actually adore Cecilia’s character.
The Husband’s Secret is likely to cause many conflicting opinions on whether or not it’s a good book. My thoughts on it is that it’s a New York Times Bestseller for a reason, and that reason is all down to Liane Moriarty’s ability to plant seeds that pay off well through the interaction of the characters. There’s never a dull moment when it comes to the dialogue; I often found myself smiling at the underhanded comments that characters hurled at each other because they were so well placed, and the seeds are planted so subtly that it’s hard not to be impressed at the level of writing. The story itself can be critiqued until the cows come home, but there’s no denying that The Husband’s Secret is a well written book, no matter how you feel about the events of the story.
What readers thought of The Husband’s Secret
Every month we’ll allow members of our readers’ group to have their say on what they thought of the featured book. Here’s some quotes submitted from our readers.
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I am “kill the suspense before it kills you” kind of person. So I flipped and found the husbands letter mid-way but I liked it. I read Big Little Lies right away and liked the plot, plus the quirky characters in both. Thanks for the recommendation.
I stayed up all night reading this one. A well-crafted story that’s humorous, but also a serious look at all the secrets we keep from one another–and ourselves. Definitely looking into other books by Liane Moriarty.