The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

‘For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick. To be opened only in the event of my death.’

Cecilia Fitzpatrick is one of the three women at the centre of this novel. Cecelia is one of those amazingly well organised women. She is a successful Tupperware consultant and serves on the P&C at St Angela’s, where her three daughters attend school. Her home is spotless, everything in its place. Until the day Cecelia goes looking for her piece of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall has just replaced the Titanic as her middle daughter Esther’s latest interest. Cecelia’s husband, John-Paul, is the man with a secret. A secret which he was committed to a letter. A letter which he had only ever intended be opened by Cecelia if he was dead. A letter which he’d misplaced. A letter which Cecelia finds while looking for her piece of the Berlin Wall.

The other two women central to this novel are Tess O’Leary and Rachel Crowley. John-Paul’s secret has an impact on all of them. Tess has returned to Sydney (and moved her son Liam to St Angela’s) ostensibly to look after her mother but, in reality, to think about her marriage to Will. It seems like Will has fallen in love with Tess’s cousin Felicity. A situation made more awkward by the fact that the three of them work together. Rachel is an older woman who works at St Angela’s as the school secretary.

So, what is John-Paul’s secret, and how does it impact on the lives of these three women? You’ll need to read the novel to find out. The secret itself is revealed early on, the consequences play out over the balance of the novel.

‘Did one act define who you were forever?’

Ms Moriarty is a gifted story-teller. This novel invites you to wonder about how well you might know your partner, and to think about how you might react in a similar set of circumstances. Some secrets are small and insignificant, others (like this one) are massive and life-changing. And against the backdrop of this huge secret, everyday life continues for the characters.
So how does it end? Can there be a satisfactory ending (or endings) to this story? While sad about one aspect, I really admire the way in which Ms Moriarty pulled it all together.

‘Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.’

I am working my way through Ms Moriarty’s novels in order of publication. So far I’ve enjoyed each one.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith


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