The Husband’s Secret – Book by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's Secret Image

The Husband’s Secret – a book by Liane Moriarty is one of the favorite books for most middle aged, middle class book loving women. This masterpiece has captured the hearts of many specially the revelation and the turmoil it has brought to the characters. Although it is a book written specifically for female readers, I highly recommend that men should also read this great book.

Liane Moriarty will make readers think, ponder, and even wonder to answer questions like a “what if?”. She crafted the story of The Husband’s Secret book into something stirring as it is indeed happening realistically. Complicated relationships, denial, trust, forgiveness, and revelation are a part of every relationship – it’s just time that ticks to ignite a devastating secret! That’s how Liane Moriarty revealed the truth about relationships, a sensitive issue that most readers are afraid to read about.

Now imagine having married for more than 15 years and having a near-perfect life and only to get shattered by a secret revealed in a letter? That’s how intriguing The Husband’s Secret is – a must read for all women and likely men as well.

Readers’ Review


I became a big fan of Liane Moriarty’s novels after reading “The Hypnotist’s Love Story”; she writes compellingly and realistically of modern marriage, betrayal, joy and heartbreak. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review her latest, “The Husband’s Secret”, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

There are three main characters, Cecilia, Rachel and Tess, who are all experiencing upheavals in their lives. Moriarty excels at describing how the quotidian details of one’s life can change due to the “before and after” of cataclysmic events. She deftly uses both Tupperware and the Berlin Wall as metaphors for sealing in and keeping out.

The novel is about secrets, and I don’t want to reveal any of them because Moriarty does it so brilliantly in the novel. Basically we are asked, as observers, to contemplate how a person can live with a huge and terrible, secret. And how can you live knowing someone else’s huge and terrible secret? Human existence is complicated and messy and far from black and white/good and bad. Humans make strange and often irrational choices. Are they always indefensible? These are the kinds of things that Moriarty is so good at dissecting for her readers, and why we keep coming back for more.

– Mary Lin

Wow! I rarely give out 5 stars for a novel, it has to be exceptional, and this is. A difficult review to write without giving too much away. Suffice it to say that the writing is what makes it exceptional. Moriarty develops each character with a skill that has the reader often wondering… what would I do in this case? The way she strings the relationships together make this fiction novel totally believable, has the reader caring about each character, drawing us in and reading far later than we intended to.

Would you have married your spouse if you knew he harbored a secret from his teens that paints an entirely different picture of the man you have known, loved and lived with for many years? Does 28 years of self-inflicted “penance” for a wrong-doing committed as a teen, make up for the mistake, when other people are still living with the consequences? People don’t always make the right choices, and not making a choice sometimes is exactly that, a choice. A thought-provoking, emotional, and masterfully crafted novel focusing on the complexities of relationships, secrets, forgiveness, trust and love, that will have you thinking about this novel long after you’ve finished it.

– myzglorybe

I am a huge fan of Liane Moriarty and I have enjoyed every single one of her novels, most recently What Alice Forgot and The Hypnotist’s Love Story. The Husband’s Secret is her fifth adult fiction novel and for me, her best yet.

“For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick
To be opened only in the event of my death”

She found the envelope amongst a stack of old tax records and imagined it contained a sentimental message, given it was dated just a few days after the birth of their first child, fifteen years ago. Cecilia has no idea that the letter will blow her world apart.

The story of The Husband’s Secret unfolds from the third person perspectives of three women, Cecilia, Tess and Rachel. At first the connections between these women are peripheral but the secret Jon-Paul has been keeping for decades will change them all.


Snippet : The Husband’s Secret

It was all because of the Berlin Wall.

If it wasn’t for the Berlin Wall Cecilia would never have found the letter, and then she wouldn’t be sitting here, at the kitchen table, willing herself not to rip it open. The envelope was grey with a fine layer of dust. The words on the front were written in a scratchy blue ballpoint pen, the handwriting as familiar as her own. She turned it over. It was sealed with a yellowing piece of sticky tape. When was it written? It felt old, like it was written years ago, but there was no way of knowing for sure.

She wasn’t going to open it. It was absolutely clear that she should not open it. She was the most decisive person she knew, and she’d already decided not to open the letter, so there was nothing more to think about.

Although, honestly, if she did open it, what would be the big deal? Any woman would open it like a shot. She listed all her friends and what their responses would be if she were to ring them up right now and ask what they thought.

Miriam Openheimer: Yup. Open it.

Erica Edgecliff: Are you kidding, open it right this second.

Laura Marks: Yes you should open it and then you should read it out aloud to me.

Sarah Sacks: There would be no point asking Sarah because she was incapable of making a decision. If Cecilia asked her whether she wanted tea or coffee, she would sit for a full minute, her forehead furrowed as she agonised over the pros and cons of each beverage before finally saying, ‘Coffee! No, wait, tea!’ A decision like this one would give her a brain seizure.

Mahalia Ramachandran: Absolutely not. It would be completely disrespectful to your husband. You must not open it.

Mahalia could be a little too sure of herself at times with those huge brown ethical eyes.

Cecilia left the letter sitting on the kitchen table and went to put the kettle on.

Damn that Berlin Wall, and that Cold War, and whoever it was who sat there back in nineteen-forty-whenever it was, mulling over the problem of what to do with those ungrateful Germans; the guy who suddenly clicked his fingers and said, ‘Got it, by jove! We’ll build a great big bloody wall and keep the buggers in!’ Presumably he hadn’t sounded like a British sergeant major.

Esther would know who first came up with the idea for the Berlin Wall. Esther would probably be able to give her his date of birth. It would have been a man of course. Only a man could come up with something so ruthless: so essentially stupid and yet brutally effective.

Was that sexist?

She filled the kettle, switched it on, and cleaned the droplets of water in the sink with a paper towel so that it shone.

One of the mums from school, who had three sons almost exactly the same ages as Cecilia’s three daughters, had said that some remark Cecilia had made was ‘a teeny weeny bit sexist’, just before they’d started the Fete Committee meeting last week. Cecilia couldn’t remember what she’d said, but she’d only been joking. Anyway, weren’t women allowed to be sexist for the next two thousand years or so, until they’d evened up the score?

Maybe she was sexist.

The kettle boiled. She swirled an Earl Grey teabag and watched the curls of black spread through the water like ink. There were worse things to be than sexist. For example, you could be the sort of person who pinched your fingers together while using the words ‘teeny weeny’. She looked at her tea and sighed. A glass of wine would be nice right now, but she’d given up alcohol for Lent. Only six days to go. She had a bottle of expensive shiraz ready to open on
Easter Sunday, when thirty-five adults and twenty-three children were coming to lunch, so she’d need it. Although, of course, she was an old hand at entertaining. She hosted Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas. John-Paul had five younger brothers, all married with kids. So it was quite a crowd. Planning was the key. Meticulous planning.

She picked up her tea and took it over to the table. Why had she given up wine for Lent?

Polly was more sensible. She’d given up strawberry jam. Cecilia had never seen Polly show more than a passing interest in strawberry jam, although now, of course, she was always catching her standing at the open fridge staring at it longingly. The power of denial.

‘Esther!’ she called out.

Esther was in the next room with her sisters watching The Biggest Loser while they shared a giant bag of salt and vinegar chips left over from the Australia Day barbecue months earlier. Cecilia did not know why her three slim daughters loved watching overweight people sweat and cry and starve. It didn’t appear to be teaching them healthier eating habits. She should go in and confiscate the bag of chips, except they’d all eaten salmon and steamed broccoli for dinner without complaint, and she didn’t have the strength for an argument.

She heard a voice from the television boom, ‘You get nothing for nothing!’

That wasn’t such a bad sentiment for her daughters to hear. No one knew it better than Cecilia! But still, she didn’t like the expressions of faint revulsion that flitted across their smooth young faces. She was always so vigilant about not making negative body image comments in front of her daughters, although the same could not be said for her friends.

Just the other day, Miriam Openheimer had said, loud enough for all their impressionable daughters to hear, ‘God,
would you look at my stomach!’ and squeezed her flesh between her fingertips as if it were something vile. Great, Miriam, as if our daughters don’t already get a million messages every day telling them to hate their bodies.

Actually, Miriam’s stomach was getting a little pudgy.

‘Esther!’ she called out again.

‘What is it?’ Esther called back in a patient, put-upon voice that Cecilia suspected was an unconscious imitation of her own.

‘Whose idea was it to build the Berlin Wall?’

‘Well, they’re pretty sure it was Nikita Khrushchev!’ Esther answered immediately, pronouncing the exotic-sounding name with great relish and her own peculiar interpretation of a Russian accent. ‘He was like, the Prime Minister of Russia, except he was the Premier. But it could have been –’

Her sisters responded instantly with their usual impeccable courtesy.

‘Shut up, Esther!’

‘Esther! I can’t hear the television!

‘Thank you darling!’ Cecilia sipped her tea and imagined herself going back through time and putting that Khrushchev in his place.

No, Mr Khrushchev, you may not have a wall. It will not prove that Communism works. It will not work out well at all. Now, look, I agree capitalism isn’t the be all and end all! Let me show you my last credit card bill. But you really need to put your thinking cap back on. And then fifty years later, Cecilia wouldn’t have found this letter that was making her feel so . . . what was the word?

Unfocused. That was it.

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