The Husband's Secret; with a title like that how can you resist!? The author, Liane Moriarty, begins her story with a little blurb about Pandora. You know the one who out of simple curiosity opened a jar and released all of the evils into the world. It is a prophetic start to the story, which is not just about secrets, but about what you do with that knowledge.
This is not a book I would normally have chosen but it came highly recommended; I really enjoyed it and read it in two days. The story is witty and thoughtful and I was very pleasantly surprised at how well the three main characters were developed and at the author's humorous depiction of life in the Sydney suburbs. There is a tension throughout the story which keeps you reading, and guessing, until the very end.
Without Cecilia her family would fall apart; a devoted Tupperware saleswoman, wife and mother of three, every day is run efficiently and competently. Always eager to encourage her children's interests, it is while she is looking for a piece of the Berlin Wall for her daughter Esther, that she finds the letter; "For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick. To be opened only in the event of my death". Now what does she do?
Tess is married, has a beautiful six year-old boy, a wonderful husband and the best friend a girl could ask for. But she has been betrayed. They feel just awful about it, really they do, but her husband and her best friend are in love. They haven't consummated their love, so that makes it better, right? Tess's mother couldn't have broken her ankle at a better time. What better excuse could there be for running home to Sydney with her son, Liam, than to care for her mother?
Rachel's daughter would have been grown with children of her own if she hadn't been murdered at the age of seventeen-strangled in a playground. The murder was never solved. Rachel is convinced she knows who the killer is, and he teaches at the school where she works. With her husband dead, and a son she barely knows, the one bright spot in her life is her two year-old grandson, Jacob, but they are taking him away. It is only for two years, but her son and daughter-in-law will soon be moving from Sydney to New York. Life will be very empty without him.
The author takes what could be just another chick-lit story and makes it so much more. She cleverly weaves together the different threads of the story in this seriocomic tale. No one is perfect and this book looks at how we cope with moral responsibility, guilt, love and loss, and of course, secrets. Like Pandora's Box, once you know someone's secret there's no going back.
If you enjoyed this book you might enjoy others by the same author, including What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies. You might also try Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison, and Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.
Recommended by Nancy Strakna