Book Report: The Husband’s Secret

Photo credit: http://lianemoriarty.com.au/Novels/Husband'sSecret_Aus.html
Photo credit: http://lianemoriarty.com.au/Novels/Husband’sSecret_Aus.html

The Husband’s Secret was written by Australian novelist Liane Moriarty and was published in 2013 when after just two weeks, it became a #1 New York Times Best Seller. And! It’s only a couple of years old so maybe yall haven’t read it yet!

The Husband’s Secret is a novel of several interconnected characters in a small community in Sydney, Australia. Cecilia and John-Paul Fitzpatrick, Rachel Crowley, Connor Whitby and Tess O’Leary are irrevocably intertwined.

Cecilia is the ultimate supermom; she is president of the school’s parents committee, the wife to handsome John-Paul Fitzpatrick, an extremely successful Tupperware saleswoman, the mother of 3 beautiful and talented daughters. She is perfectly put together at all times and wifery (not a word) and motherhood just come natural to her. The movement of the story begins with Cecilia and her daughters at home while her husband is out of town on business. Cecilia’s middle daughter, Esther, is intelligent and quirky and kind of obsessed with the Berlin Wall and Cecilia remembers that she actually has a piece of the Berlin Wall somewhere in the attic. Knowing that it would send Esther over the moon, Cecilia resolves to find it. The attic is Tupperwared and ordered perfectly, just like everything else in Cecilia’s life. The only area of distraction is John-Paul’s shoe-boxes, his preferred method for storing their taxes and other documents – it pains Cecilia but she lets it slide. Of course though, she knocks the boxes over and while trying to put everything back together, she finds a letter. Written on the envelope in John-Paul’s handwriting, it says, “For my wife Cecilia, in the event of my death”. Like any person who is told not to open something, Cecilia wants to open the letter immediately but she controls herself. That night, when John-Paul calls she tells him that she found a letter he had written to her in case he died and he goes stone cold. He tells her please not to open it, he’d be so embarrassed. It’s really nothing, just an emotional, overly sentimental letter that he wrote when their first daughter was born. Cecilia promises not to open it then, and hangs up. Cecilia is the kind of woman who keeps her word – and yet, she is pretty sure her husband is lying.

Rachel Crowley is the town’s walking tragedy – 28 years ago her daughter was murdered, in a random park on the other side of town and her killer was never found. Everyone in town is very kind and accommodating to Rachel but no one knows how to act around her – the force of her tragedy and pain reminds everyone how cruel life can be, and it is a reminder most people would rather ignore. Rachel works as the secretary of the elementary school and Connor Whitby is the school’s PE teacher. It is an untenable situation because while the children and everyone else in town loves the roguishly handsome, PE teacher, Rachel believes that Connor is her daughter’s murderer. Rachel has spent her life watching Connor and nursing her rage. Tess O’Leary, on the other hand, has just returned to Sydney nursing her own wounds. Her husband and cousin, who also happens to be her best and only friend, have announced to her that they are in love with each other. Tess takes her son, Liam, and goes to stay with her mother, where she enrolls Liam in the local elementary school, the same school where Rachel and Connor work. And wouldn’t you know it, when she is signing Liam up for classes, in walks Connor Whitby, Tess’ ex-boyfriend.

The book features an unsolved murder and yet I wouldn’t necessarily call it a mystery because as readers, we find out pretty early on just who the murderer actually is. The mystery is really in finding out how the characters responsible will respond to this new knowledge. Its a hard book to review without completely giving away the plot but, well, I don’t want to give away the plot because you should read The Husband’s Secret. I read this book in 3 days and really enjoyed it, I’ve already added Liane Moriarty to my TBR list. Moriarty does a fantastic job of weaving together each of the characters in their own unique relationships to one another, and all of the tensions and emotions of each relationship are so real. I think this novel is a great study in just how far people will go to keep their family safe, and how one mistake or one piece of missing information, can change someone’s life forever.

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