Reviews for Husband's Secret


BookPage Reviews 2013 August
The secrets we keep

At first, this reviewer wanted to warn readers not to be taken in by the light tone of Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret. On second thought, maybe readers should let this rather crafty novelist’s deceptive breeziness and humor sweep them along. It makes the shocks just that much more deliciously nasty, including the gob-smacking twist in the epilogue.

On the surface, the story is about a group of nice, middle-class, mostly Catholic women living in modern-day Australia. There’s Cecilia, the disconcertingly chipper and organized Tupperware salesperson with her mysterious, moody husband John-Paul and their beautiful young daughters. There’s Tess, who embarks on an affair of her own after she discovers her cousin Felicity is sleeping with her husband. And then there’s poor Rachel Crowley, whose daughter Janie was found dead in a park many years ago as a teenager. The case has never been solved, but Rachel’s sure she knows who killed Janie.

A constellation of spouses, children and co-workers surrounds these women, giving the proceedings a cozy normality that we know can’t last. Though men tend to be background figures, the most developed is Connor Whitby, the P.E. teacher at the school attended by Cecilia and Tess’ kids. Handsome and fit, Connor has everyone wondering why he remains unmarried well into his 40s.

Perhaps there’s a reason that most everyone in the book is Catholic, given its themes of sin, both venal and mortal, of guilt and redemption, forgiveness and confession—as well as its images of Easter eggs and hot cross buns and wrong­doings that erupt on Good Friday like the undead. The genius of The Husband’s Secret is that it makes us start to wonder what in our own lives would—or would not—have happened if, say, we had waited just five more minutes before we walked out the door, had not said that hurtful thing, had applied a bit of logic to that situation. The Husband’s Secret is as scary as it is familiar.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 April #2
There are more than enough secrets to go around in the intertwining lives of three women connected to a Catholic elementary school in Sidney. Australian Moriarty (The Hypnotist's Love Story, 2012, etc.) experiments with the intersection of comedy and tragedy in her slyly ambitious consideration of secrecy, temptation, guilt and human beings' general imperfection. Superorganized, always-on-the-go Cecilia is a devoted mother who constantly volunteers at her daughters' school while running a thriving Tupperware business. Not quite as perkily perfect as she seems, 40-year-old Cecilia yearns for some drama in her life. Then, she finds a sealed envelope from her husband that is to be opened only in the event of his death. John-Paul is very much alive, but the temptation to read the contents is understandably strong. Once she does, she can't erase the secrets revealed. Meanwhile, in Melbourne, 30-something Tess' husband breaks the news that he's fallen in love with Tess' first cousin/best friend/business partner. Furious, Tess moves to her mother's house in Sydney. Enrolling her 6-year-old son at St. Angela's, Tess runs into former lover Connor and sparks re-ignite. Formerly an accountant, Connor is now the school's hunky gym coach and is crushed on by students, teachers and parents like Cecilia. One holdout from the general adoration is widowed school secretary Rachel. Connor was the last person to see her 17-year-old daughter Janie before Janie was strangled in 1984. Still grief-stricken and haunted by a belief that she could have prevented Janie's death if she hadn't been 15 minutes late to pick her up, Rachel is increasingly convinced Connor is the murderer. As the women confront the past and make hard decisions about their futures (the novel's men are pale and passive), their fates collide in unexpected ways. Moriarty may be an edgier, more provocative and bolder successor to Maeve Binchy. There is real darkness here, but it is offset by the author's natural wit--she weaves in the Pandora myth and a history of the Berlin Wall--and irrepressible goodwill toward her characters. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 June #1
There are more than enough secrets to go around in the intertwining lives of three women connected to a Catholic elementary school in Sidney. Australian Moriarty (The Hypnotist's Love Story, 2012, etc.) experiments with the intersection of comedy and tragedy in her slyly ambitious consideration of secrecy, temptation, guilt and human beings' general imperfection. Superorganized, always-on-the-go Cecilia is a devoted mother who constantly volunteers at her daughters' school while running a thriving Tupperware business. Not quite as perkily perfect as she seems, 40-year-old Cecilia yearns for some drama in her life. Then, she finds a sealed envelope from her husband that is to be opened only in the event of his death. John-Paul is very much alive, but the temptation to read the contents is understandably strong. Once she does, she can't erase the secrets revealed. Meanwhile, in Melbourne, 30-something Tess' husband breaks the news that he's fallen in love with Tess' first cousin/best friend/business partner. Furious, Tess moves to her mother's house in Sydney. Enrolling her 6-year-old son at St. Angela's, Tess runs into former lover Connor, and sparks re-ignite. Formerly an accountant, Connor is now the school's hunky gym coach and is crushed on by students, teachers and parents like Cecilia. One holdout from the general adoration is widowed school secretary Rachel. Connor was the last person to see her 17-year-old daughter Janie before Janie was strangled in 1984. Still grief-stricken and haunted by a belief that she could have prevented Janie's death if she hadn't been 15 minutes late to pick her up, Rachel is increasingly convinced Connor is the murderer. As the women confront the past and make hard decisions about their futures (the novel's men are pale and passive), their fates collide in unexpected ways. Moriarty may be an edgier, more provocative and bolder successor to Maeve Binchy. There is real darkness here, but it is offset by the author's natural wit--she weaves in the Pandora myth and a history of the Berlin Wall--and irrepressible goodwill toward her characters. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 July #1

Cecilia is leading the perfect suburban life. She's the envy of other school mothers, and she managed to marry one of the handsome Fitzpatrick boys. While her husband is away on a business trip, Cecilia accidentally finds a note to be opened in the event of his death. His alarmed reaction to her discovery and immediate early return from his trip pique Cecilia's curiosity, and she opens the letter. A secret from her husband's past is about to bring her perfectly sculpted world crumbling down. Weaving allusions to the Berlin Wall throughout, Moriarty (What Alice Forgot) shows how Cecilia struggles to live her life as she did before the secret burdened her marriage--like those Berliners who attempted normalcy after the infamous wall went up/came down. A simple confession of the truth can simultaneously shatter many different worlds. The secret creates a ripple effect in Cecilia's community, involving more and more people and families. VERDICT Moriarty examines the ease with which darkness can spread into relationships. Weaving stories from multiple perspectives keeps this one interesting all while leaving the reader wondering what will happen next. This great summer read is hard to put down.--Brooke Bolton, North Manchester P.L., IN

[Page 74]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 June #2

Australian author Moriarty, in her fifth novel (after The Hypnotist's Love Story), puts three women in an impossible situation and doesn't cut them any slack. Cecilia Fitzpatrick lives to be perfect: a perfect marriage, three perfect daughters, and a perfectly organized life. Then she finds a letter from her husband, John-Paul, to be opened only in the event of his death. She opens it anyway, and everything she believed is thrown into doubt. Meanwhile, Tess O'Leary's husband, Will, and her cousin and best friend, Felicity, confess they've fallen in love, so Tess takes her young son, Liam, and goes to Sydney to live with her mother. There she meets up with an old boyfriend, Connor Whitby, while enrolling Liam in St. Angela's Primary School, where Cecilia is the star mother. Rachel Crowley, the school secretary, believes that Connor, St. Angela's PE teacher, is the man who, nearly three decades before, got away with murdering her daughter--a daughter for whom she is still grieving. Simultaneously a page-turner and a book one has to put down occasionally to think about and absorb, Moriarty's novel challenges the reader as well as her characters, but in the best possible way. Agent: Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency. (Aug.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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