Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: The Husband's Secret

Summary: At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died. . .

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.  -- Amy Einhorn Books

A few years ago, I read and loved WHAT ALICE FORGOT by Liane Moriarty - here's the link to my review. And then, I picked up THE HYPNOTIST'S LOVE STORY (my review) and thought it was okay but not nearly as good as WHAT ALICE FORGOT. So I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I sat down with Ms. Moriarty's latest novel THE HUSBAND'S SECRET. I mean, I knew it had the potential to be excellent but I didn't want to be disappointed.

I am so thrilled to say that THE HUSBAND'S SECRET was terrific. I absolutely adored this novel and I think many of the reviews I've seen out there in magazines got it exactly right. I love it when that happens! I actually thought the book looked good based on the publisher's description, but I think I was pleasantly surprised by just how entertaining (and thought-provoking) the story was. Quite honestly, I couldn't put down this book.

THE HUSBAND'S SECRET tells the story of three women -- Cecilia, the "perfect" mother and wife; Rachel, a lonely woman whose daughter was murdered many years ago; and Tess, a woman who discovers that her husband and her cousin (who is also her very best friend) have fallen in love with each other. These women don't know each other, but their lives are connected by a secret in a letter written by Cecilia's husband.

Cecilia accidentally found this letter mixed in with some old files, and it said that it was to be read only upon her husband's death. However, when Cecilia asked him about it, he started acting very strangely. I think it's pretty safe to say that his questionable behavior led to a lot of questions for Cecilia, and naturally, she had to take a peek. What she discovered in this letter had major affects on her life, her marriage, and everything she thought she knew about her husband!

THE HUSBAND'S SECRET was so good and I loved pretty much everything about it. I was interested in the lives of all three of the women and I actually felt connected with them -- even if I didn't always agree with their actions. I also really liked how well the author juggled between these women's stories and then eventually brought them together through Cecilia's "husband's secret."

One thing I really enjoyed about this book is how it read like a "light" read, yet it touched upon some really serious issues. Each of these woman had major problems in their lives, and I found it fascinating how complex and, yet flawed, they were. Furthermore, I found it interesting how each woman worked through her issues -- the answers were almost never simple; and often times, I found their actions to be almost surprising.

And that brings me to my next point... I really liked how this book kept me on my toes. There were numerous times when I was surprised by what happened -- and one of those times was HUGE! In hindsight, I probably should have figured out more than I did; however, I loved that I just experienced this novel page by page!

In addition to surprising me, I liked how this novel made me think. I definitely wasn't expecting that from this novel, but shame on me. I felt exactly the same way about WHAT ALICE FORGOT. I loved that I thought about what I'd do if I were faced with some of these issues, and I even was forced to reconsider my initial reactions.

I'm predicting that THE HUSBAND'S SECRET is going to be huge for book clubs! It really is the perfect discussion book. There is a reading guide with eleven questions that delves into some interesting topics including honestly, grief, loss, marriage, ethics, morals, betrayal, social anxiety, forgiveness, and secrets.

I loved THE HUSBAND'S SECRET and I highly recommend it to fans of women's fiction!

I received a copy of this novel at the 2013 BEA.


Unknown said...

i just finished it for my Book Club. I have to say, I really loved it and the story gives you much to talk about, as it has a few different things going on in it. I highly recommend it

bermudaonion said...

I loved What Alice Forgot too and need to make the time to read this book. It sounds excellent!

Beth Hoffman said...

I'm drawn to stories that make me stop and think, and this one sounds really good!

Gayle Weiswasser said...

Did you like the chapter at the end with all of the "what could have been" scenarios? I liked this one a lot too - she's a gifted writer and I love her commentary on modern parenthood.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Moriarty really seems to GET it when it comes to women I think. She always has such great nuggets of insight. I also like her because her books are very easy to read but are far from chick lit. I have this loaded on the iPod and is up next!

Karlie said...

This sounds like a must read. Thanks for the great review!

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed this! I read What Alice Forgot and then not the next one, so I only know how good that story was. I will definitely be picking this one up soon.

Beth F said...

Perfect for book clubs! I agree.