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The Husband's Secret
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on March 8, 2017
I could not get into this book. Started reading it and just had trouble believing the characters. Too much in-your-head stuff. I really lost interest.
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on October 30, 2017
The 'secret' was ridiculous and unbelievable. The only evidence that carrying this secret had caused the husband (John-Paul) any burden at all in nearly 20 years was that he occasionally cried in the shower, and gave up rowing. There was of course a briefly touched upon suicide attempt immediately after the event but that was almost glossed over so the author didn't have to deal with it. Are we suppose to sympathise with him because of a momentary expression of guilt when he spent every moment since pretending nothing happened? The only aspect of this thread that pricked my interest was the implication that his mother knew all along. Amazing. Why couldn't we get the story from her perspective? There's the complex, conflicted character that would have given a compelling story.

What was the point of including Tess's story in this book? Whilst it was probably the most engaging, and for that I'm grateful it was included, it didn't really fit into the supposed intertwined tale as her link to the events was tenuous at best

Rachel was believable, but predictable. There was nothing unexpected or moving in her behaviour and consequently I felt limited empathy. She should have pulled at my heartstrings but she didn't.

After finally reaching the culmination of the story, the ending fell flat. Rachel gets the information she's been waiting for but seems to shrug and carry on with her life. Tess lacked the self-worth to make her husband put in any effort whatsoever to win her back and, just like Rachel, seemed to give a shrug and revert to normal. And John-Paul's family? Well, now that they've had their own tragedy, worrying about that other little event seems to have been downgraded to nothing more than a blip in their insular family life. Well done on creating a bunch of characters that are wholly selfish and apathetic.

I can't even put into words how stupid the epilogue was.
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on March 17, 2015
The Husband’s Secret is by Liane Moriarty. It is an interesting novel that is told through the eyes of three characters, Cecilia, Tess, and Rachel. The lives of these three women intertwine due to the death of Rachel’s daughter, Janie. Janie had been strangled when she was seventeen. She was killed twenty-eight years ago.
Cecilia is happily married to John-Paul and had three delightful girls. Besides running the household, taking care of the children, chairing various committees at the school and church, Cecile also sells Tupperware. In fact, she is the biggest seller of Tupperware around. To be able to juggle all her jobs, Cecilia is lucky to have a bit of OCD. She is thoroughly organized and never forgets things.
Rachel is the secretary of St. Angela’s school three days a week. The other two days are spent taking care of her grandson, Jacob. Rachel’s husband Ed had died as did her daughter Janie. After Janie’s death, Rachel withdrew within herself and is just now realizing that. She did know that her son, Rob, was somewhat neglected emotionally during this period. All she wants is the murderer to be found and brought to justice. She thinks the PE teacher at her school, Connor Whitby was the murderer. No proof has been found for her belief or has it?
Tess is the account manager of an advertising firm TWF. It is owned by Tess, her husband Will, and her cousin Felicity. Amazingly, the business is doing very well. They work out of the basement of Tess and Will’s home. Then one day, Will and Felicity tell Tess they are in love with each other although they had not been to bed together. As if that made it OK! Tess is floored by this information as she and Felicity had been brought up like sisters or twins. They had been together all their lives. Felicity even told Tess she should marry Will. Tess leaves home with her son Liam and returns to her mother’s home to take care of her mother who had broken her ankle. She enrolls Liam in St. Angela’s school where she meets Cecilia, Rachel, and Connor.
How will their lives entwine now? One of them knows who killed Janie; but is reluctant to tell the truth. What would happen if it were told? Someone’s life would be ruined as well as the lives of their family.
This is a really good book and I highly recommend it.
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on September 30, 2017
I was interested in reading a second book by this author after finishing Big Little Lies (which I loved). I admit that it took me a bit longer to "hooked" than I prefer. But before too many chapters, I was. I'm so glad I stuck with it! The story itself is fantastic, but what makes it so, is the way the author weaves several story-lines and many interesting characters together to bring the reader to the edge of the story. I literally gasped and had to set the book down when I reached the moment of "Ah ha! I see where this is going!." Great book. I will definitely read more by this author.
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on December 18, 2017
This is a review for the Audible version of The Husband's Secret. 

Oh, Liane Moriarty. You have won me over again. 

I recently read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and immediately fell in love with her talent for characterization and the very Desperate Housewives snarky-ness and hilarity of the dialogue. Now be warned, her novels do have an abundance of characters and usually change perspectives as the chapters change--- but it is so worth it to see the character development unfold and see the unique ways that she intertwines their stories. 

In The Husband's Secret, you are quickly introduced to three main women who are at the center of the story. 
Cecilia Fitzpatrick -- For me, Cecilia is the heart of the story. I love her over-the-top, hilarious character. She's a front-runner who seemingly has her life all together, packed nice and organized into a little box (much like the Tupperware she seells). Cecilia finds a letter from her husband in the attic that is noted to be opened in the event of his death. We all know what is going to happen here... You can't dangle a carrot in front of a horse and expect him not to move. 
Tess O'Leary -- Tess is your average wife, mom, business-owner combo, nothing drastically exciting happening in her life.. that is until her husband and cousin (who is also her best friend and business partner) sit her down to "let her know" that they have fallen in love. How will Tess cope with this news? How do you move forward after an announcement like that?
Rachel Crowley -- Rachel is a middle-aged woman who is fighting the conflict of her young grandson moving (with his family) to New York, in a completely different country across a vast ocean. She is also suffering through the echoing grief that lingers from her daughter's murder many years ago. Does time heal all wounds? Will Rachel ever be able to find a sense of closure? 

These characters are so much fun and the conflicts they all face are so real. They are conflicts that many people face every day, but are by no means easy to deal with. I could feel the hurt, frustration, betrayal, confusion, paranoia, and anxiety of all of these characters and loved watching their stories unfold. Their stories all intersect in the end in the most unexpected and captivating ways. Make sure you don't skip over the epilogue. I love when a novel can make me stop and ponder things in my own life and my own choices, and the epilogue of this novel did just that. 

“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It's probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”

**One last note: I have only ever listened to the Audible version of Liane Moriarty's books and I will probably continue to experience them this way because I think the actual audio form of these character's voices is brilliant. I love how their personalities are portrayed through their dialogue and the intonation in their voices.

Especially my dear, sassy Cecilia...
"“All these years there had been a Tupperware container of bad language in her head, and now she opened it and all those crisp, crunchy words were fresh and lovely, ready to be used.” 

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on November 9, 2017
This is the 3rd Liane Moriarty story I've read, and while they're very well written, with interesting stories that draw one in, it's getting a little hard to ignore the tendency by the author toward criminal behavior being minimized. It's as if there's no such thing as the difference between criminal and civil laws. But, in real life, there is. One can decide not to pursue punishment or compensation for civil wrongs - that's the choice of the victim. But that is not allowed for actual CRIMES. In court it's not 'mother of murdered girl' vs accused killer. It's the state vs accused - because the crime of murder is a crime against society and it's not the choice of the victim (who is dead, of course) to decide whether the crime gets to be prosecuted or not. So, again, well-written interesting story that left me feeling immensely annoyed and frustrated once the 'secrets' started to be revealed.
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on June 6, 2015
Amazon gives approximate amount of time for reading a book, for this one it is 5 hours and 42 minutes. If you have time, read this in one sitting. I did not. After reading the first 50 pages, I was off to do the mundane daily stuff. When I came back to the book, I had to almost begin again because in the first few chapters many (emphasis) characters are introduced along with their relationships to each other. I was not put off by this because the writing is so good that I did not consider the second look at all wasted. But I did use the highlight feature for names and connections in case of future interruptions.

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.
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on March 9, 2015
***Really 4.5 Stars***

This book was just...whoa. I've never read anything quite like it! At times it read like a murder mystery, at other times a humorous women's fiction or even literary fiction.

I was hooked from the very beginning with Cecilia's voice and the intrigue of her finding a letter addressed to her from her husband, to be opened only in the event of his death. As Cecilia struggles with the ethics of whether she should open the letter, we're introduced to the two other main characters: Tess, whose husband and best friend have just announced they've fallen in love, and Rachel, an older woman who's still grieving the murder of her daughter. How these three women's stories tie together is what makes this novel so riveting!

I appreciated the parallels drawn to the Berlin Wall, perhaps a symbol for the before and after of momentous life changes, and the themes of secrets and guilt. I didn't realize it until just now, but Polly's obsession with secrets was terrific foreshadowing.

There were so many twists and turns. And that ending! It was so bittersweet and unexpected. There's A LOT to discuss with this book so I'm thrilled my book club is currently reading it!

My only complaint is Tess' POV...In retrospect, I'm not sure why it was included, apart from it being another example of how secrets can destroy a marriage. But that's a small qualm. Overall, this was a really enjoyable read and one of my new favorites. I'll definitely be reading more of Liane Moriarty's work!

One of my favorite quotes, which showcases the smart and surprising humor: "All these years there had been a Tupperware container of bad language sitting off to the side in her head, and now she'd opened it and all those crisp, crunchy words were lovely and fresh, ready to be used."
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on October 9, 2017
This book wasn't originally on my list; however, a few coworkers were reading it at work, so I went ahead and snagged the ebook copy. Now, this was a very complex and profound book. Once I finished reading, I instantly thought of the movie, Crash. This story had an amazing plot, fully developed characters, and a lot of tears (the sad kind!) and laughter (when appropriate) along the way. This is a book that really makes you start thinking about your own life once you are done reading. If you did just one thing differently, what would your life be like? All in all, I definitely recommend reading this book.
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on May 26, 2015
This book kept me engaged throughout... But it's not one I would re-read or really remember a year from now. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could (MAYBE 4 if I'd skipped the epilogue). Regardless of your feelings on the decisions and character paths in the book, it largely focuses on the gray areas in life, where right and wrong suddenly have domino affects either way, and can leave one conflicted. It also shoulders on how interconnected we are within one another's lives - and how in just a few seconds, everything can change. It does dabble in some shallow, pettiness, but truth is it's in our society, so it's fair game for the author to set her novel as such. I did hate the epilogue though... wish I hadn't read that. When life goes one way, there's no guarantee how it would have turned out otherwise, so I didn't appreciate her curt wrap up of what could have/would have been.

I don't want to ruin the book for anyone so this review is short, but happy to talk about it :)

This would be a great book club read!
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