The Husband’s Secret
Read from my TBR pile
Cecilia Fitzpatrick is an upstanding member of the local community. She successfully sells Tupperware, she’s president of the P&C and she’s a loving and efficient mother to her three daughters, often while her husband John-Paul is away. Whilst John-Paul is on one of his trips, Cecilia is looking in the attic for something when she finds a letter from him.
For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick.
To be opened only in the event of my death.
When Cecilia questions John-Paul about it on the phone, she knows that he’s lying to her. And so she opens the envelope. But what is written on that page is the last thing she ever expected.
Tess O’Leary has fled Melbourne for Sydney to come and look after her mother who has broken her ankle. But really that’s just a convenient excuse to flee from the heartbreak that two of the most important people in her world have inflicted upon her. Enrolling her son in St Angela’s with Cecilia Fitzpatrick’s daughter Polly, Tess finds herself in the interesting position of running into an old boyfriend. Is what she wants standing right in front of her after all or does the lure of home and the familiar still hold power?
Rachel Crowley has worked in the office at St Angela’s for years. She’s still grieving her heatbreaking loss from many years ago. Every day she think she comes face to face with the reason she is so broken. In a split second she makes a decision… and lives change.
The Husband’s Secret is the most recent novel by Liane Moriarty and it’s been one I was excited about for months. I have read two of her previous novels and enjoyed them and I knew from the sound of this one that it was going to be fabulous. My excitement was further heightened by a couple of my lovely reviewer friends who had early copies and wanted to let me know just how amazing it really was!
I love a book that just cuts you off at the knees with an unexpected reveal and The Husband’s Secret did all that and more to me! We are introduced to Cecilia, Tess and Rachel and taken into their lives and through their routines and quite frankly I was wondering how on earth these three women were going to be tied together. They weren’t friends, they didn’t look like being friends but the way in which Moriarty drew them together and wove a story around them was nothing short of masterful. Cecilia is one of those “can do” people who runs committees holds down a successful job that she’s enthusiastic about and keeps track effortlessly of all of her daughter’s extra-curricular activities. She discovers a shocking secret about her perfect husband that blows her world apart and leaves her torn between a helpless desire to do right and a selfish desire to hold things together. For me, Cecilia is the very definition of how a character can be sympathetic, yet not likable. She’s not someone I felt drawn to, I didn’t warm to her nor do I think I’d ever be friends with someone like her. But I did feel for her so very much when her whole world as she knew it came crashing down around her. I don’t know what I’d do in her situation – it’s not a black and white choice. I like to think I know what I would do but it’s one of those scenarios where you can muse on it all you like but you really would have no idea unless it actually happened and that is too horrible to even think about.
I found myself becoming really engrossed in Tess’s story – all of the three characters of Cecilia, Tess and Rachel were so well done I could imagine them all being strong enough to support a whole book revolving around them. Tess believes that she suffers from social anxiety and that after all these years, she finally has a name for the fear that cripples her when forced to make conversation with someone, or even go out for a casual night out. I have to admit, Tess’s course of action wouldn’t be mine, if I were in her shoes but I did find it fascinating because of the way she chose to handle it and her reasons why. I’m not sure how I felt about the choices Tess made later on though. I think she was very forgiving and there seemed to be a making light of what happened, and perhaps it was no big deal really, given the other events of the novel. But if I was Tess, it would’ve been a big deal to me and so therefore I did find myself thinking that particular resolution was lacking. Probably because it wasn’t what I wanted for her.
Despite that, or even perhaps because of it…this book is just so good. It’s one of the few books I’ve read recently that leaves the reader with questions. Where the characters get some resolution to certain things but there are a lot of things left unsaid and you know that for some people, the real struggle is just beginning. I found myself wondering about Cecilia and how she was going to deal with the feelings that were welling up inside of her and how she was going to stay in the life she was in. She had a reason, a purpose for doing so but I still wonder precisely how she was going to manage it. I love books that stay with me, where I find myself mulling over characters and stories in my spare time when I’m not doing anything and this book is definitely one of those. I definitely think it’s her finest book to date – her tightest and most intriguing story wise and also her best one writing wise. It’s a page turner from beginning to the very end.
Book #79 of 2013