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The Husband's Secret Paperback – March 3, 2015
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2013: Liane Moriary is probably doomed to be forever labeled a writer of “chick lit.” But despite its dopey name, her new novel, The Husband’s Secret, is better described as a comedy of manners and one with a serious undertone. As in her previous books, most successfully What Alice Forgot, Moriarty here wittily and observantly chronicles the life of middle aged, middle class Australian women, suburbanites who grapple with prosaic issues like marital fidelity and torturous ones like moral guilt and responsibility. You can’t help but laugh along with the small observations--“And there was poor little Rob, a teenage boy clumsily trying to make everything right, all false smiles and cheery lies. No wonder he became a real estate agent.” But it’s the big ones--Can good people do very, very bad things, and what, exactly, are we responsible for, and for how long?--that will make you think. This is a deceptively rich novel that transcends its era and place at the same time that it celebrates same. --Sara Nelson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Australian author Moriarty, in her fifth novel (after The Hypnotist's Love Story), puts three women in an impossible situation and doesn't cut them any slack. Cecilia Fitzpatrick lives to be perfect: a perfect marriage, three perfect daughters, and a perfectly organized life. Then she finds a letter from her husband, John-Paul, to be opened only in the event of his death. She opens it anyway, and everything she believed is thrown into doubt. Meanwhile, Tess O'Leary's husband, Will, and her cousin and best friend, Felicity, confess they've fallen in love, so Tess takes her young son, Liam, and goes to Sydney to live with her mother. There she meets up with an old boyfriend, Connor Whitby, while enrolling Liam in St. Angela's Primary School, where Cecilia is the star mother. Rachel Crowley, the school secretary, believes that Connor, St. Angela's PE teacher, is the man who, nearly three decades before, got away with murdering her daughter—a daughter for whom she is still grieving. Simultaneously a page-turner and a book one has to put down occasionally to think about and absorb, Moriarty's novel challenges the reader as well as her characters, but in the best possible way. Agent: Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency. (Aug.) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
Tess and Felicity and Will are in a complicated relationship. Their story, present and past (flashbacks) is presented in one introductory segment. Another segment presents the story of Cecelia as she raises three daughters and deals with an increasingly distant (as in moody) husband. Another story is one of Rachel and how she copes with events in her life. Initially these three stories are presented in a linear fashion without a lot of connection to each other. That is what sent me to the highlighter function after interrupted reading.
Then some threads from each of these stories begin to intersect. Characters begin to interact across groups in subtle and then increasingly complex ways. This is where the appreciation of Moriarty’s writing skill grows as the reader is led to reflect on possible subtexts. On page 204 there is a conversation in a kitchen between Tess and Cecelia in which Tess, referring to a text about the history of the Berlin Wall says “I always like reading about the escape attempts.” Cecelia agrees and adds “Me too,” ……The successful ones, that is.” To understand the importance of the Berlin Wall, read the book. This exchange could have been left out. A different conversational gambit between Tess and Cecelia could have been used. I was just stopped by the perfection of this sentence to tie elements together and illustrate the desire to escape for which many characters in this work feel a need.
The flashbacks are not annoying; they are well crafted stories on their own. Characters are not brought together by improbable circumstances; the story flows well and believably.
I found control to be a central theme. Cecilia controls her life with calendars, to do lists, and physical organization of everything she owns. She joins every community activity. Believing she can control and even fix anything, the one stable element in her life is Tupperware.
Rachel’s story is about a different type of control; it is more accurate to describe it as coping. Her life is a long series of losses, the most important of which are her loss of a daughter (past) and the imminent loss of Jacob (a grandchild).
Tess and Felicity are “almost twins”. Lifelong friends, Tess has always been the one seemingly in control, the decision maker. As the story proceeds, she becomes increasingly aware that not only is she not in control; she never was. And she does not want to accept this.
The book moves along at a fast, interesting pace until approximately the middle, then there is an explosion. After that I put off all the mundane tasks; I could not put the book down.
I found this book to be equally as absorbing as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.
This is an excellent book! I love how all of the characters seem to have totally separate lives, only to collide in one fateful moment. I also enjoyed the "what ifs", because let's face it, we all wonder how different our lives would be "if only". The characters seem so human, something not all authors seem able to achieve. I'm looking forward to reading more books by this author.