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on 25 February 2014
The Husband's Secret - read Jan 2014

This isn't my normal type of book but as was chosen by the bookclub started early again to ensure I finished. Low and behold read within the week and wow yet another I'm glad was picked by the group. Is certainly a book I would recommend and is well worth the 5 stars I've rated this on Goodreads. I will say that when I first started this the jumping from one to another was a bit off putting but if you can get past that its a good read.

**spoiler alert**

Cecilia Fitzpatrick thinks she knows her husband until whilst in the attic one day she knocks a box over of her husbands tax returns and a dusty sealed envelope with "For my wife - to be opened only in the event of my death" written on it.

She is left thinking all sorts of things, from infidelity to numerous other things and casually mentions it to him on the phone (husband currently away) only to be told don't open it its nothing!!!

Why she is left wondering!! The story then jumps to another woman, Tess, whose husband has fallen in love with someone else (a family member). Shocked and distraught, she makes plans to go and stay with her mother in Sydney whose had an accident, taking their son with her.

The story then moves onto a third woman, Rachel whose daughter died in appalling circumstances.

The meeting of all three involves school, Tupperware parties to name but two and the three women's lives all slowly begin to link and the secret that Cecilia's husband has been keeping begins to unravel.
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Cecilia Fitzpatrick thinks she knows her husband inside out, so she's surprised to accidentally discover in the attic a dusty sealed envelope with "For my wife - to be opened only in the event of my death" written on it in his handwriting. When she casually mentions it to him on the phone, his reaction makes it clear that the last thing he wants is for her to open that envelope - but why?

Leaving us with this intriguing puzzle, the story then jumps to another woman, Tess, whose husband has fallen in love with someone else. Shocked and distraught, Tess makes immediate plans to go and stay with her mother in Sydney, taking her young son with her. Then we move onto a third woman, Rachel, whose much loved daughter died many years previously and whose life now centres on her grandson. Shortly, the three women's lives will intersect and the secret that Cecilia's husband has been guarding for so long will impact on them all.

Despite strong word of mouth, I wasn't expecting a lot from this book, having once tried to read another by this Australian author and giving up on it. But I absolutely devoured The Husband's Secret. From the first chapter I was gripped and I read it in two settings. I worried about the characters - I even woke up in the middle of the night wondering how the author could possibly resolve the events that she'd set in motion. This isn't epic literature, but it's incredibly readable and totally gripping - the kind of book you want for a long plane flight.
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on 13 April 2016
I was drawn to this book on the basis that I enjoyed 'Gone Girl' and was led to understand that this was very like it in tone. My only advice to anyone thinking of reading this with a similar understanding would be - don't! This is not a psychological thriller; if anything it's much closer to chick-lit fiction in the vein of Jane Green or Cecelia Ahern, and as such I discovered amongst its pages nothing but disappointment.

First off, the back cover synopsis is incredibly misleading. We're led to believe the story is only about Cecilia, but in actuality it's told from the viewpoint of three women; Cecilia, Rachel and Tess. This makes for very confusing reading at times, as Moriarty insists on introducing a myriad of characters very early on, sometimes with little to no explanation about who they are or why they're there.

Cecilia is your a-typical middle-aged housewife, married to the successful John-Paul and mother to three 'beautiful' girls (dare they be anything else after all, in Cecilia's perfect world?). She's an incredibly successful Tupperware consultant (something I personally thought had died a death in the early '90s), a proud member of the school PTA, all round good Samaritan and generally annoying busybody. And even after she discovers a horrible truth about her husband, she still finds time for the Tupperware and gossip, despite the fact that her home life is becoming increasingly unstable.

Rachel, a secretary at the local primary school and nearing the age of retirement, is increasingly lonely after the death of her husband. She's also struggling to come to terms with the murder of her daughter almost 20 years ago, a crime for which she believes there may at last be a new lead, albeit based only on her own wildly irrational assumptions. And then her son makes an announcement which could see what's left of Rachel's world fall apart completely, although she does her level best to make it look like she doesn't give a damn (quite possibly because she doesn't).

Finally there's Tess, back in Sydney with her son and living at her mother's house, after her husband inexplicably decides he's in love with Tess's cousin (a conversation which is particularly trite in its execution). Apparently suffering from social anxiety (and a seeming inability to make any decision without first wondering what said cousin would do in her shoes), she wastes no time in hooking up with an old boyfriend, whilst all the while declaring how awful it all is and how uncomfortable she feels about the whole thing.

I'm still trying to understand how this book became so popular and earned all the attention it's received. I'm genuinely struggling to think of one thing I liked about it. None of the characters are appealing - my least favourite being the wet dish cloth that is Tess, although a close second would definitely be 'try hard' Cecelia - and apart from the revelation about Cecelia's husband and another (supposedly shocking, but actually disappointingly predictable) incident towards the end of the book, NOTHING happens. Tess spends the majority of her time going round and round in circles about her husband and his infidelity; Cecelia spends the majority of her time going round and round in circles about her husband's secret and what she should do about it; and Rachel spends the majority of her time being horrible to almost everyone on the basis that her daughter was murdered and is therefore justified in doing so.

The rest of the assembled cast are one-dimensional at best and I certainly never felt a connection with any of them. All the women seem to follow the rule that you're only good enough if you're slim, pretty, have impeccable taste in clothes and have a successful husband, whilst the men are only ever handsome, good at their jobs and/or athletic. Which made it hard to muster up any empathy or sympathy for any of them and their respective stories.

There's so much minutiae to wade through as well, which rather than add depth to the story or nuance to the characters personalities, is just a chore to get through. I confess to skipping quite a few pages, mainly out of boredom but also because I knew there was very little chance I'd miss anything that was vital to the overall storyline.

Moriarty's treatment of the ending, in particular the epilogue with its protracted explanation of the woulda, shoulda, coulda of everyone's lives if they'd made different choices, is unnecessary and does nothing to raise the reader's opinions of this, quite frankly, horrible group of people. If they were my neighbours, I'd move house and not give out my new address. None of them learn anything (about themselves or each other) and we're left believing that if Moriarty was in charge no one would be accountable for their actions especially if they were pretty, handsome, successful or a parent.

Ironically, I think Moriarty sums up this book in her own words on page 90 (of the paperback version) when she writes: "It was like being buried in an avalanche of detail. The myriad of tiny logistical manoeuvres that made up someone's life. It wasn't that it was dull. Although it was a little dull. It was mainly the sheer *quantity* of words that flowed so effortlessly…"

I certainly won't be rushing to read any more of Moriarty's work if this is anything to go by. Massively disappointed, especially given the hype it's received.
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on 5 October 2015

Life is full of ‘What If’ questions. What if I didn’t dump that boyfriend back in high school? What if I didn’t move to Bristol? Liane Moriarty really pinpoints these ‘What If’ questions and makes you realise that life is just too short to keep questioning yourself.

The blurb of this book makes you assume that the story is based on Cecilia Fitzpatrick, a woman who has the perfect life which is soon shattered when she finds a letter buried away deep in the attic from her husband stating “to be opened only in the event of my death”. However, the book actually follows three seperate women; Cecilia, Tess and Rachel.

Cecilia – everyone’s ideal. A successful mother of three perfect children in a loving, married relationship.

Tess – the shy one, bad luck seems to follow her around.

Rachel – the elderly one who you cannot help but love.

These three women are in no way linked, or so you would think. They each have their own current ‘What If…?’ to deal with and Liane has ensured that you immerse yourself in to each life of the characters but gives you just the right amount to make sure you keep turning the pages.

What did I think?

If I’m 100% honest (which is what reviews are meant to be…right??), I thought I found this book quite predictable. I expected what happened to happen and for that, I am slightly disappointed. However, the way Liane Moriarty ended the book in the epilogue is brilliant and makes you feel a little bit stupid for thinking you knew how it was going to end.

What did I take from this book?

Don’t question your life. Don’t look back on what could have been. Don’t think ‘What If?’ Take your life each day as it comes, anything can happen and you may seriously regret worrying over the ‘What If’s?’ of life. The saying goes, as cliché as it sounds, hindsight is a beautiful thing.
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on 7 August 2014
…and now I do. Am I disappointed? Only slightly.

For awhile there it felt like wherever I looked I saw the cover of The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, taunting me. Every book-email and internet sidebar dangled the secret in front of me like a mouth-watering chocolate fudge cake (an M&S one no less). I had tried to be strong and to convince myself that I didn’t need or want to know the secret and that it was probably something unsavoury or uninteresting or un-something else but the temptation was far too much in the end. Apart from being a little insight into why I have had so many failed diet attempts I like to think that it demonstrates an admirable thirst for knowledge.

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has lived many years blissfully unaware that her mild-mannered husband, John-Paul, harbours a life-changing secret until the day she discovers a letter addressed to herself, to be opened in the event of his death. What she reads in her husband’s letter leaves her reeling, as everything she thought she knew about her well-ordered life and the person she loves comes crashing down around her.

I thought that the build up to the revelation of John Paul’s secret was brilliant. Moriarty certainly knows how to tease her readers into a desperate frenzy and although I managed to refrain from actually shouting out loud ‘just tell me’ I was extremely close on more than one occasion! As well as Cecilia’s ongoing battle with her conscience, one of Moriarty’s stalling tactics was to introduce a second female protagonist, in the form of happily married Tess, who despite having an unshakable faith in her relationship is about to find out about her own husband’s betrayal. Tess’s shyness and self diagnosis of social anxiety coupled with her confidence with men made for an interesting read but whilst I wouldn’t be so mean as to refer to Tess as ‘all filler no killer’ it was clear why she didn’t quite cut it as a solo leading lady.

After what felt like a long long time (but was actually a couple of hours of reading spread over a few days), of getting distracted by other characters, Liana finally decided to let me on the secret. I promise I am not just saying this because it is now after the event, and I want to look like a smart-arse, but I did guess the secret before it was properly revealed. Whether or not this was Moriarty’s intention I may never know but I think it probably was given the way she built it up. The only problem was that once I did know for sure I felt such a relief that I lost momentum a little bit and became slightly less interested in the rest of the novel. That being said though the new problem of how the protagonist was supposed to deal with her husband’s secret was still a thought-provoking concept.

I couldn’t help but compare Cecilia and John-Paul’s relationship to my own and wonder what it would feel like to have everything I thought I knew about Ben change in an instant. I found myself (hopefully not too creepily) staring at him and wondering what it would feel like to find out he had a terrible secret. Could I forgive and can you just stop loving someone because of their past?

Moriarty explores the themes of guilt, revenge, forgiveness and the boundaries of love with an engaging look at the other side of the story. Worth a read, if only to satiate your burning curiosity.
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WOW! It's more than a week since I finished THE HUSBAND'S SECRET and have finally gathered myself together to write a review but my overall thought has to simply be - WOW. This book has been on my TBR for months and when I finally got my hands on a copy, I dropped everything and boy was I rewarded with a stunning piece of fiction. I read this book in less than 24 hours mistakenly starting it before bed and then tossing and turning all night long because of the emotion it stirred in me with just the few short chapters I had read before lights out. I immediately picked it up the next morning and devoured the book in a matter of hours, performing my tasks and eating my meals one-handed.

It's been a long time since a book has made me feel like that and I'm so glad it lived up to my expectations.
THE HUSBAND'S SECRET centres around three women, most notably Cecilia Fitzpatrick. Perfectly put-together, successful, organised, Cecilia has her life together raising her three adorable daughters with her handsome, loving husband John-Paul in the Sydney suburbs. When her daughter's new obsession switches from Titanic to The Berlin Wall, Cecilia eager to connect, mentions that she has a piece in the attic from her European travels in the early 90's. When she goes to seek it out she comes across a letter from her husband which says to be opened in the event of his death. Like Pandora in the old legend, Cecilia cannot help herself and the secrets that spill from the letter have the power to not only destroy her idyllic family life but have far reaching consequences she cannot even imagine.

This book was the very definition of a page-turner for me. Moriarty is a skilful story-weaver, whose emotionally charged passages kept me enthralled and characters whose actions compelled me to care and root for them. Each of the three stories, Cecelia struggling to keep it all together, Tess learning to cope on her own after splitting from her husband and Rachel finding herself all alone having lost her husband and daughter and staggered by the news her son and family are moving to the other side of the world were captivating. The secrets in John-Paul's letter threaten the balance of their lives in ways that are both complex and incomprehensible as are their actions in response to the secrets.

The secret itself is not the story; it's how people react to it, the sacrifices they make, and the limits that are tested in order for life to find its equilibrium again. This book affected me greatly while reading it, the sheer emotion it raised in me as it made me realise that no matter how much you know a person, you cannot possibly know everything and no matter how small an action is for you, its result can be catastrophic for someone else. Chaos Theory plays a big part in this book and made it even more compelling to read.

The characterisation was spot on and I connected immediately with each POV, engrossed in all three stories equally and Moriarty's snappy dialogue was a joy to read.

Utterly readable and pacy, the pages whizzed by at light speed as the crescendo intensified to a stunning conclusion that left me stunned and breathless. Highly recommend.
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on 21 September 2014
As my title suggests, after finishing The Husband's Secret I am utterly speechless at how good a novel this has been ... and very disappointed that I have reached the end and I don't have anymore of this book left to read.

What an amazing read - seriously!!

It had me clinging on to my iPad every time I picked it up to read, finding it difficult to put down.

Normally, I am not a fan of a novel consisting of so many characters with alternating chapters - it is the 'trying to remember' where that character left off I don't really enjoy, but this novel somehow had me hooked. It is written in such a way that the 'trying to remember' moments did not exist - page after page flowed in such a way that I didn't feel like the reader, I felt like a character in the book standing back watching the plot unfold in front of me.

Liane Moriarty, I am utterly in love with your writing style - keep up the good work.
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on 24 August 2014
when I started the book I didn't think I would like it as I thought it was a romance. I am so glad I stuck with it. This is one of the best books I have read.
Beautifully written, I honestly feel I know the characters.
Bittersweet, tragic, heart breaking, funny.
I will be reading everything this author has written. Highly recommended.
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on 2 November 2014
Reviews are entirely subjective and I'm sure many people would enjoy this book more than I have. I usually read crime thrillers but it was the title and the fact this book was everywhere that made me buy it. I'm sorry to say I got three quarter way through and haven't had the heart to pick it up to finish it. There are lots of characters which I found it hard to keep track of, and some of the characters are going through such a miserable time I lost heart reading about them. Having said that the author writes with a lovely style and if you like this genre then you will most likely enjoy it.
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on 21 March 2016
Cecelia Fitzpatrick has the perfect life, a devoted husband and three lovely daughters. One day, she finds a sealed envelope with a letter inside asking her for to read it in the event of her husband Jean-Paul’s death. She is wracked by curiosity and eventually opens it to discover a shocking secret.

Alongside learning about Cecelia’s story, we learn about other characters that either work or attend St Angela’s school. These characters are beautifully described and the author seamlessly entwines all the different characters into the storyline. The thoughts and feelings of each character are described so vividly that it makes you feel like you know each one.

I devoured this book over the one weekend and absolutely loved it! Liane Moriarty has a unique way of really drawing you in as I was unable to put this book down.

I loved the “Sliding Doors” element of this book and it really makes you think about how split decisions and actions can change the course of life forever. It really left me thinking and I’m sure this book will stay with me for a while.

Highly recommended!
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