Monday, September 30, 2013

book review: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

The backstory: After reading What Alice Forgot  for my book club this summer (I'll review it eventually, I promise!), I was excited to see the first pick since I joined the She Reads Online Book Club would be Liane Moriarty's latest novel, The Husband's Secret.

The basics: The Husband's Secret focuses on three families in Sydney, who all have a tie to a Catholic school. Tess uproots her son and moves back to Sydney to stay with her mother when her cousin/best friend and her husband reveal that they are in love. Rachel, the school secretary, still mourns the loss of her daughter, who was murdered as teenager. She's further devastated when her son tells her he, his wife and son are moving to New York for two years. Cecelia is the woman who seemingly has it all, including three daughters and a successful Tupperware party business. When she stumbles across a letter in her attic addressed to her with the instructions "to be opened by my wife only in the event of my death," the question becomes: will she follow his wishes or give in to temptation?

My thoughts: There are a lot of characters living in the pages of this novel, yet I never struggled to remember them or keep them separated. At first, the three women (and their families) live a relatively separate existence, which gives the reader time to get to know all of them. As the novel progresses, however, Moriarty continues to richly build the characters and their world.

Obviously much of the intrigue centers around the titular secret. I read compulsively to discover what it could be. And while I was pretty sure I figured out the secret before it was revealed (I had), the how and the why were even more intriguing than the secret itself. (If you're as impatient as I am, the secret is revealed in a timely manner rather than at the novel's end.)

Admittedly, the novel lost a bit of momentum when the secret was revealed, but the drama soon reemerged as various characters dealt with the ramifications of the secret along with their existing daily struggles.

The verdict: The Husband's Secret is a fast, engaging read that deals with the reality of difficult subjects in a realistic way. While this novel could be classified as chick lit due to its approachability, Moriarty infuses the story and characters with depth that convinced me this novel is not nearly as simple as it appears to be.  

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 397 pages
Publication date: July 30, 2013
Source: publisher via She Reads Book Club

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Husband's Secret from an independent bookstore or Amazon (Kindle edition--only $5.99!)

Want more? Visit Liane Moriarty's website and like her on Facebook.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. Normally this is not something I'd read -- it seems too chick lit for my tastes -- but everyone and their mother has been raving about it! I'm going to give it a try this weekend, I think...

  2. I was so impressed with this book! Telling characters apart can be especially hard with third person narration, but each character had such a distinct personality that I couldn't possibly mix them up. I also thought this was really approachable but it was also very literary (the berlin wall thing, for instance) so even though it was easy to read, it also made me do a lot of thinking. Great review!

  3. This book has been getting great reviews. I was wondering if it would be considered chick-lit and appreciate you addressing this issue. I haven't read any books by Moriarty yet but I have What Alice Forgot on my shelf and will probably read it before The Husband's Secret. I'm glad to know you enjoyed the book and found the characters and the story to be far more than surface deep.

  4. great review - you managed to convey the essence of the book without giving anything away! I found that hard to do when I reviewed this one.


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