Release Date: 30 July 2013
The Husband’s Secret follows the lives of three women, all seemingly different, but connected in various ways. Cecilia is a mother of three girls who is very involved with the community and successful in her Tupperware career. When she finds an old letter that her husband wrote, she is conflicted over whether she should open it. While we learn about Cecilia, another woman, Tess, finds out that her best friend and husband are in love with each other. On a whim, she moves back into her mother’s home with her six-year-old son. Finally, Rachel, an old woman, is struggling over the death of her daughter. These characters come together is unlikely situations, and are all impacted over the husband’s secret.
‘She wasn’t going to open it. It was absolutely clear that she should not open it. She was the most decisive person she knew, and she’d already decided not to open the letter, so there was nothing more to think about.’
The plot in The Husband’s Secret is thought-out brilliantly and everything comes together in odd circumstances. For around a third of the novel, I was waiting and waiting to learn what truth was hidden in the letter, as Cecilia found many reasons to stop herself from opening it. This was a good way of keeping the readers interested, although it made me frustrated when the author kept ending the chapters with a variation of ‘Okay, I’m going to open the letter now’. And then we would have to read another two chapters told in the other women’s point-of-views before getting back to Cecilia. But I do like to be entertained in novels, so I do not really see this as a major problem.
Tess is a grounded character and I felt the most connected to her. While her situation is something out of a soap opera, her internal struggles were something that I could relate to. Her story could have even been a story on its own because she did not really contribute much to what the husband’s secret was.
The mystery is definitely the most prominent aspect of the novel, which I anticipated greatly. Before I read it, I made a guess as to what it might be, and predicted it correctly. The twist is not so shocking, but shocking enough to want to keep reading. It is also a realistic twist, which seems to be a good option in a contemporary novel.
What made this novel slightly off-putting is the dramatic events that took place. The husband’s secret seemed plausible, and so did the ending, but considering the additions of the other character’s, their situations, and other basic things made everything seem unbelievable. The ending, to me, is strange and quite unrealistic, but the author is very wise in how she makes the story wrap-up.
The setting is in suburban Sydney, Australia, which I could easily imagine as I live in Melbourne. There are so many Australianisms in the text, such as the show The Biggest Loser, which is really big in Australia (annoyingly, I hate it), and also during Easter when we sell hot cross buns (do other countries places sell them?). I really enjoyed this because I mostly read American novels and sometimes there are cultural things that are mentioned that I do not understand. But you could obviously read this novel no matter what country you are from and have it make sense.
I really enjoyed The Husband’s Secret and will likely be reading more of Liane Moriarty’s work. I would recommend this novel as a bit of ‘light’ reading and to those who like popular women’s fiction.
- Have you read this book?
- Do you have a favourite by Liane Moriarty?