Wednesday, October 28, 2015

#37 [2015/CBR7] "The Husband's Secret" by Liane Moriarty

I've decided that I like Liane Moriarty. After reading and really enjoying Big Little Lies, I decided to move on to The Husband's Secret (2013). Like Big Little Lies, The Husband's Secret focuses on the intertwined domestic lives of middle-class, Australian suburbanites. Although I found Big Little Lies slightly more interesting with its incredible characters and snark, I was still impressed with The Husband's Secret. In fact, I've been enjoying Moriarty so much, I will definitely read other books by her. (This is actually a certainty since I've already read another by Moriarty--I'm just way behind in my reviews).

As the title suggests, The Husband's Secret is a story about women whose lives are transformed by secrets their husbands are keeping from them. These are devastating and life-altering pieces of information that have the potential to tear their safe, carefully built lives apart. Cecilia loves her husband, John-Paul and their three daughters, but he's been acting odd lately. When she finds an old letter in her attic addressed to her in the event of John-Paul's death, she reads it. Would she have been happier if she never read it? Undoubtedly--although I cannot imagine anyone in her shoes making a different decision--it's one of the many things to ponder while reading.

In a different, yet connected storyline, Tess loves her husband, Will, so she is blindsided when Will and her cousin, Felicity confess to her that they are in love. Overlaid on top of these secrets and betrayals is the murder mystery of Rachel, whose daughter was killed over twenty years ago when she was only seventeen.

Moriarty does very well with understanding and portraying the stereotypical "soccer mom" in her books--but Moriarty's characters aren't stereotypes. These are real people with quirks, humor, humility, and feelings. And they have to keep moving, they have to save face, and deal with the consequences of their husbands' actions. This book was easy to keep reading. I loved the characters, the drama, and the mystery. It made me wonder how I would act in similar situations. And to be honest, it made me feel relieved I was single. I also loved the budding romance between Connor and Tess. It was very sweet.

Perhaps this book did not grab me quite as quickly, and it wasn't quite as funny as Big Little Lies. Also, I did have some trouble believing the neat way Moriarty tied up all the loose ends in her story. She set us up for some big consequences and kind of lets it slide in the end with some giant coincidences. However, I cared about the characters and I cared about what happened to them--the first sign of any good novel.

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