The Husband’s Secret Book Review Synopsis.
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.
The Good Bits.
First off, can we just talk about this gorgeous cover? All the covers of her books are so flawless and beautiful. I’ve already bought these for my Kindle, but I may need to ask for physical copies of all her books for my birthday.
Liane Moriarty seems to be a fan of the large cast of characters, and almost all of them were rounded, detailed, but also flawed. I liked how Cecelia is this on-top-of-things PTA mom who on the surface seems perfect, but underneath is often insecure about herself and anxious. I liked seeing how Rachel’s whole life is thrown off trajectory by her daughter’s death and her feelings of guilt in how she raised her surviving child. And it was so realistic yet heartbreaking to be in the mind Tess as she fights to find her new place in the world after her best friend’s betrayal. More than anything, I liked how I could imagine these characters as any person I might meet on the street. It brought home exactly how much of a disparity there can be between our external and internal selves.
— Liselle (@lunchtimelib) May 2, 2016
Moriarty has a gift for taking settings and character roles that should be mundane and making them attractive. I mean, if you think about it, how exciting does it sound to read about a broken marriage, a PTA mom, and a grieving grandmother. It would be interesting, but it doesn’t sound like ‘edge of your seat’ material. But I was on the edge of my seat all the time. The novel carries this tone with it that makes you feel as if something terrible is going to happen. I was waiting for the ball to drop, but then I would get caught up in the stories. The characters come to life and become akin to a real person. I can imagine Rachel as my next door neighbour, Tess as that high school friend I had coming back to our hometown, and Cecelia as that perfect woman I aspire to be. I burned through the book because everything was entertaining in some way whether it was tragic, or funny, or dramatic, it kept me turning the pages.
At the very end of the novel, there’s something I was on the fence about when I read it. Without spoiling anything, Moriarty lets you in on all the little secrets the characters didn’t know about each other that could have changed the way their lives turned out. It had the potential to be cheesy, but I appreciated it. It showed how we think knowing everything would make things different, but in some ways how knowing all those secrets can sometimes me worse. It’s unconventional, but it works.
One of the let downs of this novel was that I found the husband’s secret (his actual secret, not the whole novel) to be predicatable. Like it was super easy to guess what it was. In fact, I doubted myself and thought “no, it can’t be that. That’s so obvious.” But it was, which was disappointed. But I didn’t predict the ending which was good. I understand that it’s the content of the secret that matters, but it would have been nice to have something I hadn’t guessed.
One character, Connor Whitby I felt to be a little underdeveloped. He started off really well, and I got invested in him, and then about two chapters before the end he just got pushed out. I feel like there was so much potetial there, and he just got a bit swept under the mat.
The Last Bite.
I snickered, I held back tears, and I was moved. I may have teared up, but I was in public so I couldn’t cry outright. Liane Moriarty is giving every other author I’ve read a run for their money. She’s plainly a great storyteller, and I can’t wait to read more of her books.
If you found a letter from your significant other that said ‘to be opened upon my death,’ while they were still alive, would you read it?
Let’s do lunch again next week!
Happy Mother’s Day!