Secrets are generally terrible. Beauty is not hidden–only ugliness and deformity.” ― L.M. Montgomery
Once again, I have discovered a book about a marriage where the husband has a secret. My own husband complained, “Why is it always the husband? Don’t wives ever keep secrets?” I thought about that and I realized that while wives may keep secrets from their husbands, they almost always tell a friend. A secret revealed to someone else becomes not quite as sinister and loses some of its power. This one, locked in the heart of the husband, does not.
The Husband’s Secret is one of those books that surprises you and despite the terrible secret that one and then two and finally three of the characters carry, I found them, especially Cecilia, mother of three daughters who supplements her income by being a star Tupperware Lady, to be very entertaining and very real. She reminds me of the busy young mothers I meet on walks through my own neighborhood.
While her husband is away on a business trip, Cecilia rummages through boxes in her attic in search of a piece of her own past for a child’s school project. She accidentally stumbles upon a dusty sealed envelope marked:
For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick
To be opened in the event of my death
Admit it. I have you right there, don’t I? What Cecilia does with the letter, and how the secret it contains spills into the lives of the other characters, is the story. Liane Moriarty cleverly weaves in the lives and subplots of her other characters. Tess, who has fled her own crumbling marriage, and Rachel, the widowed secretary at Cecilia’s younger daughters’ school also carry secrets.
Writing in the third person, Moriarty takes you into the minds and hearts of these three women allowing you to feel their heartache and follow their decision-making. This would be an easy book to spoil for you, so I will leave you with this thought. In the beginning, The Husband’s Secret may feel like a typical “wife who has been wronged” tale, but it is so much more than that. I found myself thinking about the characters whose lives were impacted by the letter Cecilia found long after I had finished reading the story. This one is well worth reading and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.