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The Husband's Secret Paperback – March 3, 2015
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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 Library Binding 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 Library Binding edition.
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I gave it 3 stars because I did not want to denounce the book to all those who gave it five stars, and it was competently written...but for any but a voracious and fast reader, you can spend your reading time and money on books of much more quality, with characters you want to remember. Not these to be sure. These are characters drawn on a fairly stereotypical and superficial level. Read it if you want to read very little about a few families in Australia (without learning much if anything about Australia).
Make that two stars.
That being said, I thought that Liane Moriarty did a commendable job of portraying the characters with their strengths and shortcomings. I could feel Rachel's pain over the loss of her daughter, and the heart-wrenching outcome of justice being served.
Someone asked me if I would open such a letter should I come upon one in my own attic, and I could only unhesitatingly say, "Yes!" The curiosity would be too unbearable to resist, although I would probably regret such knowledge that the letter would bring. Satisfying one's curiosity is not for the faint-hearted, and sometimes it is much more difficult to live in response to the truth. The Husband's Secret certainly proved that there are no simple answers in life, and one must take responsibility for the choices and actions that one makes.
Most recent customer reviews
The first part of the book when Cecilia was trying to guess what was in the letter her husband wrote had me interested.Read more