It wasn’t long ago that a friend and I were discussing “The Moment.” The one moment in your life that sends you down the path to the place you end up. What decisions did we make when we were teenagers that have affected us well into adulthood? There are a million decisions and a million more events that alter the futures of loved ones and even strangers. And somehow with all of life swarming around us and dozens of decisions to make everyday, we rarely think about where those decisions take us.
Imagine if you found a letter from your husband that was only to be opened in the event of his death. Then imagine that he’s not dead and that he begs you not to read it. To make matters worse, he is on a business trip on another continent. You are raising three daughters at home, one of which tells you that she found her father weeping in the bathroom recently.
Do you read it? Well, I think we all know the answer to that. OF COURSE YOU DO. But what will that decision cost? Can you ever un-know something. Are you capable of forgiving a person’s failings, no matter how gargantuan they may be?
That is the catalyst for Liane Moriarty’s novel, The Husband’s Secret.
Cecilia Fitzpatrick is faced first with the moral dilemma of opening and reading a letter her husband expressly asked her not to read. When she finally reads it and sees that the news is more devastating than anything she could have imagined, her marriage, her life, and all of her decisions come into question.
And though that event is certainly adequate material for a novel, Moriarty adds so much more. She weaves two other women into Cecilia’s story. Rachel is a grandmother who had a daughter that was murdered years before, and Tess is a mother who finds out her husband might not be as happy in the marriage as she believed him to be. Tess also discovers she might not have been as happy in her marriage as she first thought. Meanwhile, Rachel is still dealing with oppressive grief from losing her daughter and now she is faced with losing her son and grandson as they plan for a move to another country.
I can’t talk too much about the plot because it is so masterfully created that many of the plot points would also be spoilers. All I will say is that this is a loaded novel. So many times we think we know how we would respond to a situation, but I found myself second guessing those absolute beliefs about myself. Maybe there are special circumstances to EVERY situation that makes the moral decision more gray than we first believe.
I swear it was almost like watching a Tennessee football game at times. I found myself shouting advice aloud to characters in a book. There were several points in the book that I was able to predict an outcome, and still found myself slack-jawed when they came to pass. Moriarty addresses sin and guilt, what loyalty to a spouse really means, honesty in relationships, in-law relationships, anger, grief- I mean seriously, I can’t even tell you how much I loved the layering of this book.
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, will not leave you disappointed. The plot is masterful, the characters are rich, and you will find yourself gloriously invested in the decisions of these women.