Cecelia is the perfect wife, mother and neighbour. She prides herself on her perfection and her home and family are organised to within an inch of their perfect lives. Chaos and drama belong in other peoples lives. Or so she thinks.
Rachel hasn’t stopped grieving for the daughter who was murdered twenty five years ago. It’s still all consuming and defines her as a person. The only thing to bring any joy or purpose back into her life is her two year grandson Jacob. But when her Daughter in Law’s high powered job means that Jacob will be moving to another country for at least a couple of years, it’s just too much for Rachel to bear.
Tess has just found out her husband is in love with another woman. The betrayal strikes hard, especially as that other woman is her cousin and best friend. Taking their son back to her home town, Tess is about to take a trip down memory lane, leaving her with a difficult decision ahead.
Three seemingly unconnected women, The Husband’s Secret starts by giving you a glimpse into each of their very different lives leaving you wondering how exactly they all fit together. I admit, I found the first three chapters a bit random as they switched to the different scenarios without anything to link them initially. However, the characterisation of each woman is so well written, I immediately felt drawn into their lives and wanted to know more. Liane Moriarty has created three very real characters with such depth and honesty I could feel every emotion leaping off the page.
The ‘secret’ is revealed quite early on, and isn’t much of a shocker (I worked it out before it was revealed). This isn’t a tense, psychological thriller to keep you guessing. Instead, we go on a journey with these three woman over just a few days as repercussions ripple amongst the community and lives change forever. I found the contrast between two of the women particularly well written, as one falls apart and the other blossoms. The fact that the story is entirely plausible gives it even more credence and I found myself asking ‘what would I do’ quite a lot. While some of the women’s decisions may not be ones we’d agree with, it’s easy to see and understand why they act the way they do. Giving each woman a first person narrative allows for brutal honesty, sometimes uncomfortably so, but always believable so.
I found this book an emotional and gripping read. The epilogue was particularly poignant and left me with quite a big lump in my throat. While there’s no racing plot and shocking twists and turns, I felt fully immersed in the three woman’s lives and couldn’t put it down. Heartfelt, emotional and honest throughout. Recommended.
Similar to: Louise Douglas, Lisa Jewel, Dorothy Koomson, JoJo Moyes
Published in the UK by Penguin 2013