The Husband’s Secret
By Liane Moriarty
Cecilia is the most organised person she knows. Esther, the middle one of her three daughters, has moved on from her most recent passion, The Titanic, to a new obsession, The Berlin Wall! Whilst looking for a fragment of the wall from her younger days Cecilia finds an intriguing envelope, addressed to her, to be opened in the event of her husband’s death. She resolves not to open it, initially!
Tess and her plump and less attractive cousin, Felicity, have been inseparable since they were small. Since Tess married Will they have been a threesome and now own TWF Advertising in which they all play complementary roles. But Tess has lost weight, lots of weight and suddenly she is beautiful. Tess is furious when Will and Felicity tell her they have fallen in love. She believes that if she leaves them to handle the business without her and sort out their feelings, the affair will burn itself out quickly. She gets on a plane with her young son Liam and returns to her hometown of Sydney ostensibly to look after her mum with a broken ankle. There she soon runs into an old boyfriend who is now a PE teacher at her old school, where she goes to enrol Liam.
Rachel, the school secretary, is a doting grandma whose son and daughter-in-law are about to take her grandson to America! Jacob is the centre of her world and she is devastated.
These are the main character in story that takes place over one week, with traumatic consequences for each of them. But their connections and the threads of their story go back much further.
I have read The Husband’s Secret three times, virtually unheard of for me but I reread it recently for our book club, where it was the subject of lively discussion, and it was no hardship.
I found the characters engaging and real. They were distinct and soon familiar. The insights into their personalities were good but also left something for the reader to work out about them. There are a number of issues in the book that lead you to wonder, ‘What would I have done?’ It is wondering what the characters will do that drives the story as the nature of the secret, and how it links them comes out quite early.
The plot is well paced and keeps you wanting more.
I would definitely recommend it.