Australian author, Liane Moriarty, is doing a whole lot of smiling these days. You may know her as the creator of Big Little Lies, which was optioned by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon and turned into an award-winning television show. The second season has just wrapped production and stars Meryl Streep as the mother-in-law to Kidman’s character.
In fact, all eight of Liane Moriarty’s novels have been optioned. She’s sold 14 million copies of her books so far, and had 3 titles on the New York Times list at once. That’s mighty impressive!
So, if Big Little Lies is her breakout novel (her eighth adult book, by the way), why am I recommending another of her titles? It’s because the Husband’s Secret is a wonderful gem of a story and I’d hate for it to get lost in the shadow of its younger sibling.
Published in 2013, the Husband’s Secret centres around 42-year-old Cecilia Fitzpatrick who stumbles across a letter from husband which is to be opened only in the event of his death. Secrets are fantastic things to build a story around, and Moriarty certainly makes the most of it. Each piece of information she gives only raises more questions and so we can’t help but turn the page.
It’s a riveting story without being heavy handed. To create a page-turner, writers often rely on life and death stakes (like in crime stories or thrillers) but in this story, we have high stakes in a more realistic environment. Some scenes are tense, others are heartbreaking and some are laugh-out-loud funny.
It’s also got a miniplot structure (think Love Actually) which I honestly found refreshing. I’ve read so many archplot stories lately (stories that follow one character only) that this was a welcome change. Yes, Cecilia serves as a focal point. However, her husband’s secret touches the lives of a whole lot of other families. What we have in this book then, is several seemingly separate storylines that come together toward the end. Happily, I did not predict the ending! I could go on and on, but I think you get my point.
If you’re in the mood for a story that is entertaining, and has some substance but isn’t too heavy to read, then the Husband’s Secret might be just what you’re looking for.
The audiobook (available from audible and possibly your local library) is narrated by Caroline Lee and is truly wonderful. I’m a hard person to please when it comes to narration, but I happily give this performance a thumb’s up!