What would you do if you found a letter from your husband marked ‘To be opened in the event of my death’? Especially if he was still alive? Would you open it? That’s the dilemma faced by Cecilia, devoted mother, successful businesswoman, and, she thought, blissfully married. Her decision changes her humdrum life forever. A stunning and riveting book.
Judy begs the question: would you open an envelope with those words written on it? Of course you would! But you'd be wise to spend some time preparing for many eventualities beforehand. Cecilia imagines the contents to be a reference to the birth of her first child, fifteen years earlier; a sentimental missive from the past to the future.
a bold and daring novel
But The Husband's Secret is not just Cecilia's story. We discover those of Tess and Rachel too. As the novel begins, the connections between all three women seem to us tenuous at best, but the husband's secret - John-Paul's secret - is going to have a transformative effect on each and every one of them.
Cecilia's pleasant, well-ordered universe implodes when her husband comes home unexpectedly early from a business trip.
Tess is thunderstruck when her own husband tells her he has fallen inextricably in love with Felicity. Felicity just happens to be Tess's best friend. Oh, and her cousin. And just to convert the whole horrible situation into a perfect storm, the two women are business partners as well. Nice.
Rachel has been in the grip of a nightmare for more than twenty years, since her teenage daughter was murdered. With her son and his wife moving to New York, a newly-bereft Rachel becomes obsessed with the man she suspects killed her daughter. He teaches at the school where she works.
What a canvas on which to paint this story. The Husband's Secret is a bold and daring novel, layered and morally challenging. It is a story about forks in the road; moments of decision; right and wrong.
And it's a quiet triumph for Liane Moriarty.
An absolutely compelling expedition through the moral maze that every one of us enters in childhood and remains trapped in for the rest of our lives.
her best yet
Liane Moriarty's enthralling story begins with a simple moral conundrum which we, the readers, at once realise is going to have far-reaching consequences, depending on the decision that is made to resolve it.
Cecilia has been married to Jon-Paul for 15 years. Their lives are busy, happy, and fulfilled. They have three clever, attractive daughters. Then a cloud appears on the horizon of their blue-sky world; a cloud no bigger than a man's hand. But it is the presage of a potentially terrible, destructive storm.
It takes the form of an envelope Cecilia finds nestling among a pile of ancient tax documents. It is dated just after the birth of the couple's first child, and the envelope bears the simple inscription:
For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick. To be opened only in the event of my death.
Choices, choices, choices. That is what this enthralling story is all about. It is Liane Moriarty's fifth adult fiction novel and judging by readers' reviews posted on the internet, it may be her best yet (recent books include What Alice Forgot and The Hypnotist's Love Story).
We loved it.