The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty Australia, 2013

The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty Australia, 2013


Cecilia discovers a letter that her husband had written years previously and which is to be opened only in the event of his death. However, she finds herself forced to open it, even though he is not dead, and as her life swirls completely out of control she probably wishes that she had never found the letter and that, most of all, she had never opened it.

 Set on Sydney’s North Shore, The Husband’s Secret brings together a number of privileged middle-class women, most of whom have known each other since their school days. Several of them: Cecilia, Tess and Rachel are working their way through difficult personal problems, while a second layer of characters – children, friends and even ex-lovers – act as foils to the various dramas taking place.

The writing is mediocre, and the book itself falls somewhere between ‘chick-lit’, normal romance and social observation. However, as a light read, it is reasonably captivating – at least in the beginning. I found Moriarty to be skilled at describing all the small nuances of relationships, both romantic and social, and it is very obvious that she is fully acquainted with the structure and the layers of the society about which she is writing.

Photo of Moriarty is from the Daily Telegraph

I found that I did not connect particularly well with any of the characters: everyone seems to be far too focused on ‘how they appear to others’ and, consequently, have little or no depth. I feel that it is this lack of depth that, after the initial rush of ‘happenings’ and introductions in the first half of the book, makes the second half somewhat tedious. Of course, one wants to know how everything comes together, so one reads on regardless. However, to be then faced with an epilogue, listing a whole lot of new information and extra information that could have/would have changed the lives of the characters is, I feel, completely unnecessary.

This is a book to read when you don’t want anything too demanding, and when the cosy superficiality of a romantic, not-always-plausible plot means you can be entertained without having to think too much.

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