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Audiobook Review : The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Written By: amodini - Jul• 25•14

The Husband's SecretTitle : The Husband’s Secret
Author : Liane Moriarty
Genre : Contemporary
Narrators : Caroline Lee
Publisher : Penguin Audio
Listening Length : 13 hours and 44 min
Source : Library
Rating : 4.5/5

This is a story of three women. Cecilia Fitzpatrick is the Tupperware queen, managing her wholesome family and her flourishing business quite well. When she inadvertently finds a letter from her husband John-Paul, she opens it, and her well-settled world turns on its head. Tess O’ Leary is married to Will, and considers herself fortunate to have a good friend in Felicity. When Felicity and Will confess that they have fallen in love with each other, she is shocked and goes off with her little son Liam, to her mother’s home in Sydney where she has grown up. Here she meets old boyfriend Connor Whitby, and also Rachel Crowley, an acquaintance of her mother’s who has sunk inwardly into a depressive stupor after the death of her daughter 3 decades ago.

Cecilia, Tess and Rachel are the three vertices of this triangle. Each one’s life is going through the wringer, facing catastrophes so real and immediate that even a semblance of normality is unthinkable. Though them, Moriarty questions our beliefs on morality, grief and guilt and wonders if these ever come with any disclaimers.

The Husband’s Secret has a very interesting three-pronged plot line. On the surface these seem to be three totally separate stories, but of course, they are connected. Very tenuously at first, but as we go on, (and go on we do; we are but putty in Ms. Moriarty’s hands) things get much clearer. Moriarity weaves in the three stories in parallel, so we get to hear a little of Cecilia’s , then a little of Tess’s and then a little of Rachels’s. As the characters get into closer contact, we also get to hear of them from the the other two points of view – we see them as perceived by others. Moriarty takes her time telling her tale, squeezing out the tension to the last possible moment. Cecilia’s husbands secret, for example, is revealed fairly late in the novel and I was racing to get to that point.

I haven’t read Moriarty’s work before but it is quite obvious that she is right at home telling us about middle class Australian women faced with their very own Waterloos. I have to say that this book was extremely engrossing. I couldn’t wait to have a spare moment to listen to it. Moriarty writes in the third person and accomplishes what I’ve always though only writing in the first person could do – she gets you to dwell in the minds of her characters. Her characters are transparent to us, we see every frisson of worry that crosses their foreheads, every nagging thought that flits through. And her astute observations are interlaced with wit and humor. She has a knack for description, description so relevant, so detailed and immaculate that you can almost see the scene and the people in it.

While this exceptional book stands on its own merit, the jewel in the crown was Caroline Lee’s fabulous narration. Lee’s narration made the story come to life with her great Australian accents. I enjoyed this very much indeed. Highly recommended.

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One Comment

  1. […] you’ve been following my reviews, you know that I loved Moriarty’s “The Husband’s Secret” – it made my Best Audiobooks of 2014 List. That book had three main characters, tenuously connected. […]

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