The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

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“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It’s probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”

 

RATING: 4.5/5

BLURB: “Mother of three and wife of John-Paul, Cecilia discovers an old envelope in the attic. Written in her husband’s hand, it says: to be opened only in the event of my death.

Curious, she opens it – and time stops.

John-Paul’s letter confesses to a terrible mistake which, of revealed, would wreck their family as well as the lives of others.

Cecilia wants to do the right thing, but right for who? If she protects her family by staying silent, the truth will worm through her heart. But if she reveals her husband’s secret, she will hurt those she loves most…”

REVIEW: Having read previous novels by Moriarty, I was very much looking forward to reading ‘The Husband’s Secret’. This novel tells the stories of four women: Cecilia, Tess, Rachel and, taking place several years prior to the other perspectives, the story of Janie. The novel is instantly gripping as Cecilia discovers the letter from her husband and the reader eagerly urges her on to open it; we are also introduced to Tess very early on, who discovers that her husband is having a relationship with her cousin and best friend Felicity, and to Rachel, a grandmother who is heartbroken at the thought of her son and grandson moving abroad and who has already lost so much. The book is instantly gripping, and the reader is intrigued to see how the stories of these three women who are intially present in the novel could possibly be linked. In this manner, mystery is built whilst the protagonists are made easily likeable as we wait for the letter to be opened.

I had expected to reach almost the end of the novel by the time the contents of the letter were revealed, but actually uncovering the story of Rachel’s murdered daughter Janie and the identity of her killer relatively early on in the novel somehow makes it even more intriguing, as I could not see where the story would then go. The reader is then introduced to Janie through flashbacks where she tells the story of the events leading up to her death, and the twists revealed through these and, indeed, through the present-day perspectives, keep the reader guessing despite the fact that the conclusion of the main mystery has long been revealed. I absolutely loved the ending of the novel and how it links to the butterfly effect, with Moriarty showing us how the lives of the characters would have been had certain events not taken place. I find the whole idea of the butterfly effect fascinating, and loved seeing it depicted fictionally. I didn’t love this novel quite as much as ‘What Alice Forgot’, but I greatly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it all the same.

 

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