Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Cecilia Fitzpatrick, devoted mother, successful Tupperware business owner and efficient P&C President, has found a letter from her husband.

For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick
To be opened in the event of my death

but Cecilia's husband isn't dead, he's on a business trip. And when she questions him about it on the phone, Cecilia senses something she hasn't experienced before, John-Paul is lying. 

What happens next changes Cecilia's formerly blissful suburban existence forever, and the consequences will be life-changing for the most unexpected people. 

I love the premise and inspiration for this novel:

Two years ago Liane Moriarty stumbled upon a fascinating article about real life deathbed confessions. She learned about Christian Spurling, who confessed on his deathbed to faking a notorious photo of the Loch Ness Monster. There was a famous songwriter who was dying of cancer and wrote a letter admitting, after years of adamant denials, that she had plagiarized a lullaby melody. Then there was the hapless man who, after suffering a stroke, confessed he’d killed his neighbour thirty years earlier. The only problem was that he didn’t end up dying. After he was released from hospital he went straight to jail. 
This article helped inspire Sydney-based Liane to write her latest novel, The Husband's Secret which we are publishing in April.  
Cecilia Fitzpatrick, Sydney wife, mother and P&C President, discovers her husband has a secret so dark it could destroy her blissfully ordinary suburban existence. We all have secrets. But not like this… The Husband’s Secret is a stunning, complex novel guaranteed to cause debate and controversy. This book will have everyone asking, “What would I do?” (taken from Pan Macmillan's press release)
Some of the best highlights of my reading life over the last 7 years (it was in 2005 that I stumbled upon Three Wishes, an all time fave) has been snapping open a new Liane Moriarty. My love for her prose and characters and unique stories brings with it high expectations. You guys, I am SO EXCITED to be sharing my review of this book with you as there has never been a better time to get with the program. The Husband's Secret was so divinely awesome, so surprising, so deliciously funny and genuinely heartfelt that it seriously blew me away, me - a devout fan with sky-high expectations.

So you think you know what this book could be about? Think again. It is so mysterious  and even after the Big Reveal (ie the reading of the letter) it's even more unexpected and surprising. Even more addictive. How does she do it? Liane has a niche on the market for intelligent women's fiction ~ utterly original, superbly creative and just so good, so good.

This book had the magic combo for me: that feeling of wanting to rush ahead and devour it all, desperately hanging out for the reveal, and also wanting to slow down and savour all it's brilliance. (confession: I decided to savour this book. 24 hours after cracking open that first chapter I was done. I couldn't stop thinking about when I had to tear myself away, and I'm still thinking about it now.)

I love so much about Liane's books. But I often find myself in a scatterbrained mess trying to articulate just how brilliant they are. Here's a few points :)

1. The storytelling! Moriarty is a master storyteller weaving together three perspectives which eventually criss-cross each other paths. It has that gorgeous touch of whimsy, coincidence and fate. It's also insanely addictive storytelling - reveals in just the right places, humour sprinkled in perfectly alongside the heartbreak  the tension building and the climax exploding. 

2. The humour is so delightful, it's wicked and empathetic and intelligent and smiley and it just nails it, every time. 

3. The characters. They come to life in such a way that they are lovable even in their unlovable moments. I truly was invested in them. I felt their sorrow and ached alongside them <3

4. Those swoony moments. With a few deft sentences, the romance in this book just had my heart, it also left me bereft (but hopeful) at times. Which is the perfect kind of love stories, all good and bad and swoony and unpredictable.

5. The Sydney (and Melbourne) setting. Just gorgeous. So spot on, I could feel myself walking along those streets and doing the school run. 

6. The more I was drawn into the book, the more I got caught up in the shades of grey. And wondering just what was the right thing to do? How was Liane going to make this whole thing turn out? The answer is: in an unexpected and unforgettable way...

I recommend this book so much. I am excited for it to be out, excited for everyone to read it. And already hanging out for my next Liane Moriarty fix.

The Husband's Secret is available in Australia now :)
The Husband's Secret @ goodreads
The Husband's Secret @ Pan Macmillan 
(Also available for preorder from The Book Depository for non-Aussies)

Thanks ever so much to Pan Macmillan for the review copy


  1. Fab review and love your comments "intelligent women's fiction" "insanely addictive"
    I seriously can't wait to read this one, since adoring Paper Chains, I'm fast becoming a fan of all the Moriarty girls!

  2. I too am quickly becoming a big fan of all the Moriartys! I am looking forward to this one immensely!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I am intrigued! And I already like Liane Moriarty from What Alice Forgot so I can't wait for this! Thanks for the review.

  5. This sounds so good - just pre-ordered it!

  6. Sounds really good, I'm just coming to discover the Moriarty sisters and this book sounds very intrigued :D

    1. I meant intriguing :P LOL sorry.

  7. Sounds brilliant. I hope it's out here soon, I need a Moriarty fix!

  8. This sounds great! Can't wait to read it. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Another book by a Moriarty? Hell to the yes.

    BTW Nomes, Jaclyn Moriarty is coming to LA!! She's going to be at the LA Times Festival of Books. I'm so ridiculously excited.


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  17. Wow- I loved reading this review and seeing how much you just loved this book! I'm thrilled to hear it was far from a disappointment and really enjoyed the excitement and awesomeness in this review. I'm quite intrigued by the book, and love how the idea for it was born, but I think, at least for the moment, I might pass it over. Great review, Nomes!

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  19. Hey Nomes, great review and thanks for putting me onto all the best authors.

    About a month after reading The Husband's Secret, I had a memory flash through my mind. I was trying to work out where the memory was from, was it a scene from a movie or something that happened to me? After a bit more thinking I remembered it was the 'discovered video' scene from this book. Moriarty's description gave me such vivid images of what I read that it lingered as though it was something I had watched in a movie a few times!

    *spoiler alert: trying to be vague, but the rest of this comment discusses the ending*

    When I first finished the book, I didn't like the ending. I wanted it to be more cheerful, I wanted the characters to have resolution and absolution.

    But I have done a bit of growing up over the last couple of months and realised how powerful the ending actually is - the all-knowing narrator clues us in and we realise that the characters of the book might be carrying guilt, hatred, anger all their lives when in truth, there were extenuating circumstances which meant it was a sad thing that happened, but nowhere near as brutal as we might think.

    What a powerful lesson in being more kind to ourselves and others rather than judging or getting bogged down in negatives. Thanks Liane, a very memorable, enjoyable and enlightening read.

  20. I became a big fan of Liane Moriarty's novels after reading "The Hypnotist's Love Story"; she writes compellingly and realistically of modern marriage, betrayal, joy and heartbreak. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review her latest, "The Husband's Secret", which I thoroughly enjoyed.


Thanks for the commenty love :)