Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Husband's Secret: Review

Author: Liane Moriarty
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit
Originally Published in: 2013
Pages: 406

"People thought that tragedy made you wise, that it automatically elevated you to a higher, spiritual level, but it seemed to Rachel that just the opposite was true. Tragedy made you petty and spiteful. it didn't give you any great knowledge or insight. She didn't understand a damned thing about life except that it was arbitrary and cruel, and some people got away with murder, while others made one tiny careless mistake and paid a terrible price."

Based in Australia, The Husband’s Secret tells the story of three quite different women, whose fates are bound to meet due to one significant event.

Cecilia might be seen as the typical housewife – mother of three, heavily involved in the school’s committee, busy taking care of the whole household, popular among the whole community. One night, however, she finds an old envelope in her husband’s writing, which reads “to be open only in the event of my death.” Of course the problem is her husband is still very much alive. So, Cecilia begins to wonder what could be in that letter and should she open it anyway?

Tess is happily married to Will, has a cute little boy, and her own company with her husband, and cousin Felicity. That is, until one night Will and Felicity admit that they are in love with each other. Ouch.

Rachel is the oldest out of the three and the least happy one. She has lost her daughter when she was brutally killed at the tender age of 17, she has lost her husband a few years later, and now her only happiness in life comes from her little grandson Jacob...Until one night her son and his wife, present her with the news that they are all moving to New York.

Yes, all these women’s lives completely change due to events that happen on the same night, but what is going to bring them together eventually is the husband’s secret. John-Paul’s secret is so great it has the power to impact a lot of people’s lives. So, when Cecilia opens the letter she has to make the greatest decision of her life – to stick to her principles, or to save her family.

The plot of the book is quite intriguing. However, “the husband’s secret” is not that hard to guess once you are a few pages in the book. So, the novel turns out to be quite predictable although there are a few surprises here and there.

A book and a dessert for breakfast!

What the book lacks, however, is a great literary style. Moriarty is not a bad writer but there is definitely space to improve. There is some repetitiveness and the style as a whole needs some polishing. It is not great literature by any means, but for a chick lit – it is still one of the better ones as it is quite funny, yet sad and compelling. A common theme that goes through the whole novel is also the fall of the Berlin wall. It might sound a bit strange and as if it does not make any sense but it somehow works as often different people's lives can be marked by the grand event of the days. Even if they do not realise it at the time.

I have to admit it is quite catchy and despite its flaws, I could not put it down and read it pretty fast. So, although it is predictable, the story manages to also be quite engaging, mostly due to its characters. A lot of readers might not find them exactly likeable but this does not prevent a book from being enjoyable. Personally, I thought they all had their good sides and eventually found myself caring for them. Plus, the book reflects on some quite dark matters such as loss and murder – the way its characters deal with them is the novel’s biggest strength, and where its humanity lays. The choices some of this characters make can be sometimes questionable and yet they feel very much real and believable. Especially when dealing with any kind of loss, there is rarely a right or wrong way to deal with it, which makes some of these people's mistakes easier to comprehend, if not to excuse.

Ultimately, The Husband’s Secret is a good read as it offers some interesting ideas on life and marriage. Even though it lacks in some departments, it is still a book that you can easily enjoy in your leisure time.

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