Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Having enjoyed a Moriarty book last week, I picked this one up at the library.  The style is similar - a bit of a mystery wrapped into a typical family/relationship drama.

In this case, the mystery, not surprisingly is what the husband's secret is.  Cecilia discovers a letter written by her husband to be read only in the event of his death.  She is general rule abiding but when he reacts rather oddly to her announcement that she has found it, she becomes more intent on opening it.  She begins to really imagine the worst when her youngest daughter, Polly, remarks that her father looks oddly at her oldest daughter, Isabel; and her middle daughter, Esther, says she caught her father crying in the shower.  About halfway through the book we find out what the husband's secret was - it was not what either Cecilia nor I was expecting.  Through the remainder of the book we see how the family and others in the community deal with the revelations in the letter.

The other key characters are Rachel, an elderly woman whose only daughter was strangled as a teenager and whose death remains an unresolved crime.   She has finally found some peace with the birth of her grandson, but when her son announces he is moving to the US with this grandson, all her loneliness and anger comes back.  Rachel is the secretary at the Catholic school where Cecilia is president of the parents' association and where her three daughters attend.  So their lives intersect.

The third group of people are Tess and her husband who has just announced he has fallen in love with her cousin and best friend.  As a result Tess returns to Sydney with her son and enrols him at the same school.  She also begins an elicit affair with a former  boyfriend who is the PE teacher there.  So her life also intersects with the others - though frankly this story is somewhat less central to the overriding story of the secret.

In all this is an easy read with mostly likeable characters.  We see the action from many different perspectives, male and female, young and old, etc.  And we see how one secret can impact a whole community of lives.

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