book review

The Husband’s Secret (2013) | Liane Moriarty


The Husband’s Secret is quintessentially Australian and a perfect holiday read. It isn’t literature, but it isn’t trashy either – not chick-lit, but not quite hitting the mark of the new female-led psychological crime-thriller genre that Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl kicked off.  It’s somewhere in between all of that.

I didn’t like the plot of the book, but my god did I enjoy reading it. I read this book in two days flat on my phone. The style is sharp and witty; Liane Moriarty has a command over the English language that I’ve not often seen before in Australian fiction (usually dull and bogged down with purple prose). There isn’t a single wasted word; every single line reveals something about the characters and plot.

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has found a letter written by her husband, addressed to her, to be opened after his death – a letter that contains his deepest, darkest secret. A letter with the potential to destroy everything they’ve built together, and the lives of others as well.

The trouble is, Cecilia’s husband is still very much alive.

The book follows three women whose lives are all upended in one way or another, and at the centre of them all is the letter that threatens to tear everything apart.

This is a gripping novel. Moriarty’s style, as I already said, is fantastic. Even when certain subject matters and plot twists sat uncomfortably with me, I couldn’t put the book down – not for wanting to know what would happen, but to just keep reading more of Moriarty’s writing. This is not to say the content itself wasn’t good – the story is extremely thought-provoking and very confronting, and I appreciated the sheer balls it had on numerous occasions.

I also was surprised to find myself truly enjoying an unashamedly Australian novel. Easter in Autumn! Sydney suburbs! Usually books set in Australia and written by Australian authors is enough to scare me off (Tim Winton comes to mind), but Moriarty may just be the author to kick off the a new genre in Australian fiction that does not involve angsty historical tales of woe.

Recommended for holidays and plane reading.


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