the Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Book Review


I picked this book because of the many positive reviews.  It is a fictional novel, where the three main characters are pieced together to create parts of a jigsaw puzzle. The first character you are introduced to is Cecilia Fitzpatrick a mother of three, Tupperware consultant and wife to John-Paul.  You learn early on that John-Paul has written a letter to Cecilia that she finds unexpectedly.  The envelope reads “For my wife – to be opened only in the event of my death“. When Cecilia casually mentions she found the letter to her husband on the phone during his business trip in Chicago, his reaction makes it clear that the last thing he wants is for her to read the letter. The “Pope” John-Paul is threatened by the thought of his wife opening the letter resulting in him hurling his “assets” back to Sydney, Australia in a hot NY minute to get a hold of the letter before it is too late.

Next, you are introduced to Tess Curtis the mother of Liam, a marketing professional, married to Will and the first cousin to Felicity (their Moms are twins).  She has a marketing and design business with her cousin and husband.  Tess and Felicity are inseparable cousins that share all of the same experiences including who they love.

The last main character you are introduced to is Rachel Crowley the mother of Will and Janie – her slain daughter.  Rachel’s character mourns the death of her daughter gravely throughout the book.  Janie’s killer was never captured. Consequently, life after death for Rachel is spewing hate towards Janie’s ex-boyfriend Connor Whitby, now the Physical Education (PE) teacher at the St. Angela’s school.  By the way, Connor was the last known person with Janie some 28 odd years ago.

In the beginning you learn that the Biggest Loser reality show is tuned on the TVs of Cecilia, Tess and Rachel’s households and the Trainer yells “You get nothing for nothing”. I am missing the point. The major theme of the novel is about secrets and fragile relationships pieced together by the presumed normalcy of familiar day-to-day activities that make up the main characters lives.

The next theme that I am puzzled by, is throughout the book there are many references to the Berlin Wall from Cecilia’s middle daughter Isabel. My literary analysis is on shaky ground here. Perhaps, the parallel has to do with “Pope” John-Paul living a lie for so long before the “wall” came crumbling down on the Fitzpatrick’s family in a serendipitous sort of way. Oddly, the Tess, Felicity and Will storyline is where the Berlin Wall symbolism can be applied inversely. Leave a comment and we can discuss further my thinking around this.

Before, I reveal too much – if I haven’t done so already – What I find ironic is the antagonist’s name – John-Paul.  Yes, in my review I’ve dubbed him as the “Pope.” (In the book he is not called the “Pope”.) Enough said. Get it. Got it. Good. :o)

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