After a book haul by my main girl Alison Anderson (can you tell I’m actually in love with her?!), and then seeing a million great reviews I quickly went out and read “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty. I won’t put in any big spoilers or anything, for those who haven’t read it, but I will say if you want a complete fresh view of the book when you go into reading it, you might want to come back to this review after you have done!
“Mother of three and wife of John-Paul, Cecilia discovers an old envelope in the attic. Written in her husband’s hand, it says: to be opened only in the event of my death. Curious, she opens it – and time stops. John-Paul’s letter confesses to a terrible mistake which, if revealed, would wreck their family as well as the lives of others.”
Now, I feel I can sum up my immediate, albeit confused, feelings on this book with one phrase:
I like it, but I didn’t love it. And I so wanted to love it.
I don’t know what it was, perhaps it was all those reviews that gave me such high expectation of this book that meant I was expecting more than I got. Perhaps it was because the blurb was fairly vague (in terms of the story as a whole) that I just wasn’t sure of what I was expecting from the storyline or characters as I started reading. But unfortunately I think what makes me question whether I just ‘like’ this book or whether I ‘loved’ it was the fact that I really didn’t get into the book until around chapter 12/13, which is about a third of the way through. Initially I couldn’t get to grips with the three different story lines and almost didn’t think it was necessary at the time (although this opinion changed dramatically by the end!). I just couldn’t work out who was married to whom, and who did what job, and who lived where, and how old each person was, and how did all these people relate to others. Basically I was just full of confusion! Although perhaps its just that I was a little slow getting to grips with it compared to others, but what is it that they say? You need to draw your audience in by the end of chapter one? Either way I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ the book and could have quite easily given up, and it would have been one of those books you find on your shelf months down the line and think ‘oh yeah, I never finished that’, and maybe you’d start reading it again. But I am glad I persevered!
Moriarty’s writing is easy going enough that it’s not a difficult read. It has a great flow to it and often leaves a chapter with a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more, and once I had really gotten into the story and invested myself into the characters, I couldn’t put the book down. Whilst it might seem that seeing a story from three different point of views may be confusing, once you’ve established who is who, and how each person relates to one another, the transitions are smooth and easy to understand. I think it was perhaps down to the way she wrote it in 3rd(?) person, so straight away it was “Rachel thought to herself…” and you immediately knew who you were in the story.
I loved towards the middle to the end of the book how these three women’s lives started intertwining, and you got to see certain events from two or three different perspectives – and it was done really well. I liked how certain people would crop up throughout moments in these women’s lives or their history and you can start putting the puzzle together in your own way. I must say that when you eventually find out what it was that John-Paul had written in his letter, I got my “oh my god!” moment that I said I didn’t quite get with ‘Dark Places’ – though of course, this is just my experience, other people might work it out a lot quicker!
To be honest I wasn’t sure about the Epilogue. In a way its like she was trying to tie it all up into a neat little bundle, and I wasn’t sure it was quite necessary, I would have been perfectly happy if it had ended with the last chapter. I think (I wont give anything away) that everything that came to light throughout this epilogue sort of diminished what had happened in the story, and personally I didn’t like it. But it did get me thinking. Ultimately this is a story of karma; what goes around comes around, but definitely not in a way you might have expected. There were moments in the story that I found so…intense…that I found myself almost skipping over bits to find out what happened quicker.
I must say that this is a book that has stuck with me, and in a way its one of those books that I didn’t want to finish reading – which is definitely a good thing! I would recommend you go out and read it if you’re looking for something new. Overall, once you get into it and get to grips with the constant change of the character voice, it is a good read and I will be passing it on to my mum for her to read next! Though I might say that the blurb doesn’t really give you a good idea of the story, in my own opinion, so just go into it with a fresh mind with no preconceived notion of what its going to be about and you’ll do fine!
FINAL VERDICT: 3.5/5 (I almost want to give it a 4 but I know I’ve read plenty of better books)
I hope you enjoyed this review! Let me know if you have read the book and what you thought of it – no spoilers though please!
Talk to you later!