Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's SecretThe Husband's Secret centers around three women.  Tess has fled Melbourne with her young son to her mother's house in Sydney after her husband and cousin/best friend make an unwelcome surprise announcement.  Rachel prepares to mark the anniversary of the death of a daughter who was strangled to death several years earlier.  The daughter's murder remains unsolved.  And then there is Cecilia, whose husband, John-Paul has a secret that has the potential to rip his family apart.

Cecelia stumbles upon the secret by accident.  She is looking for something in the attic and finds a random letter stuffed in with old tax records.  The letter is addressed to Cecilia from her husband with the instructions to be opened in the event of his death.  Cecilia, a mother of three children, local Tupperware queen, and all around most organized, dependable go-to person, can pretty much handle anything.  Or so she thinks until confronted with the possibility that her husband isn't quite who she thought he was.

The Husband's Secret was a mixed bag.  On the one hand, it was a quick and easy read that flew by.  Cecelia's story line was the most interesting.  Once she learns first that her husband has been keeping a secret from her and then, what that secret is, the question is what to do with that information.  Is it always to best to tell the truth, especially when  the truth could help some people but hurt others?  On the outside looking in this might be an easy "Yes", but for Cecelia who now has the burden of knowing this secret, it is a lot harder to answer that question.  Moriarty did a good job of putting the reader in Cecelia's shoes.

Mixed with Cecelia's compelling story is Tess's far less compelling one.  Her storyline was fairly conventional and really had very little to do with the other two women.  It could have been a book on its own.  There is also all this stuff about the Berlin Wall which also has very little to do with anything.  Then there is the epilogue.  Oh why, was that tacked on?  The main story is about a secret and its effect on several of the main characters, and then comes a dialogue about the million different ways a life could have gone.  So unnecessary.

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