The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty (2013)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Appeal: Adult
The Husband's SecretA starred review from Kirkus led me to this Australian novel published last year. It’s definitely popular fiction, rather than literary, and is thoroughly enjoyable as long as you don’t expect Carol Shields. Cecilia Fitzpatrick has it all together – she runs the household without a slip, she chairs the parent committee at her daughters’ Catholic school, and she sells Tupperware so well she likely earns more than her husband. Elsewhere, Tess discovers her husband is cheating on her with her cousin, and Rachel bitterly grieves the murder of her teen daughter more than 25 years ago. Their lives intersect when Cecilia finds a letter from her husband, marked to be opened only upon his death. She opens it anyway, and her reliable, ordered world is shattered, with devastating consequences. Moriarty explores the emotional worlds of these three women with an unflinching eye, and her characters, in facing unspeakable dilemmas, struggle to accept painfully familiar truths about themselves, their loved ones, and the worlds they have so carefully constructed. Her writing is occasionally exquisite – a couple “clinging to the wreckage of their marriage.” Watching Rachel push away when she needs love most is heart-wrenching; realizing Tess’ parents’ secret before she does is poignant. I particularly enjoyed Moriarty’s depiction of the back-and-forth of emotions these women experience for vastly different reasons. Chicklit for sure, but a thought-provoking exploration of the secrets we all have, and the lengths we are willing to go to keep them hidden away, even from – or perhaps especially from – those we love most.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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