Monday, 9 June 2014

Book Review: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Title: The Husband's Secret

Author: Liane Moriarty

Price: £7.99

Type: Fiction

Pages: 402

The Husband's Secret is a book that's been talked about a lot and has been high up on the list of bestsellers for a while. I do love a book with a great mystery, so I spontaneously picked it up one day while waiting for a train.

There are three main characters in this book and from the very beginning you get a sense that they are all connected in one way or another. Sadly, this also means that I figured out very early what this secret might be, although finding out the secret is not the point - it's about how the characters deal with the secret and the effect it's had on them.

First, there's Cecilia: A middle-aged woman living in suburban Australia with three daughters, impeccable organisation skills and a thriving Tupperware business. Think Bree from Desperate Housewives and you're pretty much there. She finds a letter from her husband addressed to her from years and years ago and it's this letter that throws her life upside down.
Then there's Tess. Tess has just found out that her cousin and her husband have fallen in love with each other. In complete shock and disbelief she packs her stuff, grabs her son and flies halfway across Australia to live with her mother again, hoping for a new beginning.
Finally, we meet Rachel, an elderly lady who works at the local school as a secretary. Rachel's daughter Janie was murdered when she was just seventeen and Rachel has never been able to move on from this horrendous event. Her life is filled with bitterness, hatred and a deep, vengeful desire to find Janie's murderer. In doing so, she alienates her son more and more without even realising.

As such, it is beautifully written. Although I hoped for a bit more on the relationship between said husband with a secret and his wife, the author delves really deep into the emotions of each character. They are well rounded and most importantly, very believable. I found it very easy to imagine to be each of those women and to follow their thought process. In that way, it is really similar to Jodi Picoult's writing and I think that if you're a fan of her books then you'll love The Husband's Secret.

It's a really great book - well written, it drags you in and makes you desperate to find out what happens next. The thing is, I didn't really enjoy reading it as much as I hoped I would. My problem with this book is that it's just so goddamn white middle class. I have nothing against white middle class, but when I read a book, I want to escape from everyday life into a world I would not normally experience and even though the characters in this novel were all thrown into an unusual situation, I found their reactions to be not only extremely predictable, but also incredibly dull. The ending in particular is what really did it for me. It was too perfect, leaving the reader with no unanswered questions. Uninspiring is the word that describes it the best.

I realise there is a place for books like this one and there's a reason it's been so successful. If reading about suburban everyday lives being thrown off-kilter is your thing (and by all means, there's nothing at all wrong with that), then I would gladly recommend this book to you, as chances are you're going to love it. For me, I've finally come to realise that this is simply not my kind of story and thankfully, my next read could not be further away from this book if it tried...

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