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Publisher's Summary

"My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died...."

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive....

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all - she's an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia - or each other - but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses - and, ultimately, ourselves.

©2013 Liane Moriarty (P)2013 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"In The Husband's Secret,, Liane Moriarty has created a contemporary Pandora whose dilemma is spellbinding. Shocking, complex and thought-provoking, this is a story reading groups will devour. A knockout!" (Emily Giffin, New York Times best-selling author)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    10,382
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    1,952
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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Good, but a little too much hand-wringing

Liane Moriatry would have had a real winner here if a fourth of the text were edited out. Even with the padding, I was fairly engrossed. We've got soap-opera family dynamics that rise above the genre thanks to original plot elements. Not great literature by any means, but for the purpose of enlivening a dull commute, this is worth a credit. I love the narrator. She can visit my ear anytime.

92 of 105 people found this review helpful

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  • Margaret
  • San Francisco, CA USA
  • 09-01-13

Escape to the land down under...

I downloaded this book because it got a great review from a reviewer I follow (thanks, Elizabeth) and I'm glad I did. I'd never heard of Liane Moriarty before, but now I'd compare her to Jennifer Crusie for her writing style and Lisa Lutz for the story. The voices of the characters are distinct and if I had to pick a favorite, there'd be trouble. All three of the female lead characters - plus Felicity - fascinated me. I felt oddly like I knew them very well and yet was constantly caught off guard by their next moves.

I have to admit that I guessed the ending. But that only increased my interest because I couldn't be sure. This book, while not literary per se, nor a thriller exactly, hovered somewhere in between - in the genre now known as "a Moriarty."

Caroline Lee's performance enhanced the listen. Recommend.

92 of 108 people found this review helpful

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Soap Opera Digest

The flower on the book was an omen foreboding me to step away. Romance novel was my gut instinct, and left it at that, until magazine after magazine touted this as one of the year's best. I caved and spent my credit only to find I was correct.

Cousins fight over a the same man; jilted lover hooks up with old high school beau; and spoiler alert...husband has a secret! This book isn't complete rubbish, but it's certainly not great lit either. Reminds me of another book given the same distinction, "Life after Life" and after the second time, I wanted to kill the narrator myself.

If you're expecting clever twists, witty dialogue, precarious situations, this is not for you.

193 of 228 people found this review helpful

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Loved It

One of the best novels I read this year, and I read about forty of them. Each of the three main characters has her own unique personality, compelling story, and internal growth. Their lives intersect in fascinating ways. This book has it all: an engrossing plot, interesting characters, and depth.

This novel is set in contemporary Australia, and features an unsolved murder, a marital separation, family tension, and not just a husband's secret, but small and large secrets of many characters.

I only wish the cover and title of this book didn't make it seem like a romance novel. It is deeper and more literary than it first appears.

58 of 69 people found this review helpful

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As Fun and Funny as it is Deep

Liane Moriarity's work read by Caroline Lee is the perfect example of symmetry. The book is funny, ironic, dramatic and egaging. Caroline Lee delivers a performance worthy of a great work.

I loved Big Little Lies so much I listened to it twice, back to back. Perhsps it was the cover or its title, but The Husband's Secret seemed more like a romance novel. In other words I judged a book by its cover! Please dont make the same mistake.

In the first moments of the book we are reminded of the story of Pandora and the box not to be opened. A young mother stumbles across a sealed envelope from her husband addressed to her, "to be opened in the event of my death," Like Pandora, if she opens the envelope her life will never be the same. That is the bait that caught my attention.

Moriarity takes us into a neurotic world of busy family lives, parenting trials and triumphs, complicated marriages in impossible situations. She does it with A genius sense of humor, yet also with a great deal of depth.

This is a really great experience!

57 of 69 people found this review helpful

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Secrets create the new normal

This is an excellent book that beautifully builds and draws you into the lives of three ordinary Australian women during extraordinary circumstances. The secrets that lie at the heart of each of them are easy to relate to and told masterfully. It is that wonderful mix of complex charcter study and great plot that makes you form a love/hate relationship with each of the characters. Caring so much about what comes next makes it hard to put down. This is the perfect summer read/book club/gift book because you'll want to run out and find someone else to talk with about it when you're done. Do be careful of spoilers on this one - - there is great pleasure in each revelation.

42 of 55 people found this review helpful

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Best Audiobook Since Gone Girl

I loved this audiobook. The narrator was amazing. I loved her accent and she was perfect for each character. The story had me at the first sentence and kept me engaged until the end. When I had an hour left, I went and did something else for a few hours just so I could extend the book. I did not want it to end. This book is not chick flick. This book has everything. Superb writing. Characters that were believable and I could relate to. And Ms Moriarty wove the tale like no other. I will be recommending this book to all my book lover friends. I can't wait to try some more books by this author.

106 of 140 people found this review helpful

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3.5 stars: A Very Good Story, but Tess, the End...

Would you consider the audio edition of The Husband's Secret to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print edition of this book, nor do I ever plan to read it. This audio edition was perfectly acceptable to me.

If you’ve listened to books by Liane Moriarty before, how does this one compare?

This was my first Liane Moriarty book. I might someday try another. (If I do, I'll hope for a more satisfying ending.)

Have you listened to any of Caroline Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I don't think I've heard any other books read by Caroline Lee, but I'd be willing to try another. I thought she did a very good job with this book.

Any additional comments?

3.5 stars - good

This was a pretty good story, but I had some problems with it. So it gets a 3.5-star "good" rating from me.

I have two major complaints, which I'll talk about at length in just a bit. . .

But first, I actually laughed out loud a couple of times in the beginning. Because I listened to this audiobook version of this story, I did not feel able to note down where or why I laughed, but it was sometime during the first 20% of the book - and I'm pretty sure I laughed at things Cecilia either thought or said (or at least, in the "Cecilia Family Scenes"). :-)

One of my - or maybe two of my three? - complaints is related to this line in the book's description:
"But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret."

The letter WAS important to the story, but it took an awfully long time before Cecilia read it and we learned what it said. It was introduced fairly early, but it wasn't opened until almost the second half of the book (on page 162 in the hardcover; felt like halfway through in the audio). And then when we did finally learn what "the husband's secret" was. . . The book could have ended right there, 'cause nothing happened regarding it! :-(

(I mean, yes, Cecilia and John-Paul's youngest daughter was an indirect victim of the secret revealed in the letter, but that was it. No punishments or anything were forthcoming for anything.)

This is actually the second - and most important - of the two major complaints I mentioned at the start of this review: The ending didn't resolve anything! The Epilogue actually told us what would have happened had Rachel's daughter remembered about an appointment that day and gave us a pretty big hint as to what was in Cecilia's daughter's future had she not been hospitalized.

But was the husband ever punished for the secret in his letter? No. Not in this story's time line, at least. Once Rachel learned the truth, her reaction to that truth also left a lot to be desired. And while I could believe that it could have happened that way, it did not make for a very satisfying or satisfactory conclusion. :-(

My first major complaint - stemming from the above-mentioned blurb in the description - involves Tess's role in this story. Specifically, what was her role in this story? ???

I initially thought that the husband's secret involved bigamy, but this theory was tossed out as soon as we met Tess and her husband, who was clearly not John-Paul. . . .

Tess hadn't known Rachel's daughter, and she didn't really know Cecilia (if they didn't have their first meeting in this story, they were only passing acquaintances before it), so why was she in this book? She was the ex-girlfriend of that one guy, but he was also a teacher at Cecilia's youngest daughter's school, so Tess was not needed to introduce him as a character.

So why were Tess and her husband and her cousin - and all of their drama and angst - in this book?

???

Can anyone tell me? Because it seems to me that she was filler. :-( Cut Tess out, and the book would have been much shorter. So was she in there just so that this story would be book-length? And so that she could help Cecilia when she collapsed after learning the letter's secret and coming face-to-face with one of the victims of that secret? Because neither of these reasons is enough to justify her inclusion in this story.

Having Tess in the story made it sort of more interesting, but it also made this book read like a soap opera. :-(

So this was a really good story, with a super interesting premise, but it all just sort of fizzled away in the end. I doubt I'll remember this story or these characters in a week, and if I do remember them, it will only be because of how dissatisfied they made me feel. :-(

I feel like I should give this story fewer stars, but it was a good story. It kept me engaged and reading/listening, and I did care enough about the characters to want to see where the story went. . . I'd have given it four stars for being a story that I really enjoyed, but that ending (or non-ending). . .

So 3.5-good-stars is the right rating from me.

A few words on the narration: Caroline Lee did a good job, and if I wouldn't have been able to identify who was speaking apart from Esther (she had a lisp) and Jacob (he was a toddler, and sounded like a toddler), at least the text gave me their identities. So I never felt lost as to who was talking.

One note that it now occurs to me to share: I mentioned it in my first status update on Goodreads while "reading" this book, but forgot about it when writing my review until I started talking about the narration. . . I don't know if it was how the narrator read it or just how it was written (though I suspect it was how it was written), but the love scene between Cecilia and John-Paul made for very awkward listening. I'm pretty sure I actually rolled my eyes (though it might only have been mentally) during that scene. :-(

But overall, I think Caroline Lee did a fine job. I suspect that it is thanks to her narration that I didn't mind all of the Tess parts when I was engaged in listening to this book, even after I began to suspect that the Tess parts were mostly irrelevant.

So I'd give the narration a solid four stars for being "very good; really enjoyable." :-)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I Would Give 6 Stars if I Could!

First off, the narration couldn't be more masterfully done. Bravo Caroline Lee!
Second, the author is a phenomenal writer, skilled at weaving the everyday mundane into a brilliant tapestry, interconnecting the lives of the three main characters in a way that was reminiscent of "The Help" or a Maeve Binchy novel but it was certainly a unique and remarkable story all its own. Moriarty draws characters who you recognize (think John Grisham) and relate to, and she sucks you into their lives beautifully.

The big hook of this story is "what is in the husband's letter?" and I thought I had it figured out. (NO spoiler don't worry) But when it was finally revealed I literally gasped out loud and I don't think I've ever done that before while reading a book, ever.

This is a delightful, engaging, and poignant read that I would recommend to anyone. In fact I might even stop strangers in the street to recommend it. It's THAT GOOD!

32 of 43 people found this review helpful

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Loved it; could not put it down!

Would you listen to The Husband's Secret again? Why?

Absolutely I will!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tess, so funny, so real. I havent ever been the Tess in a TWF triangle, but the writer made me imagine being her, and I felt that I would think and react just as she did.

Which character – as performed by Caroline Lee – was your favorite?

Tess. Caroline Lee made all three women come vividly to life, however; I felt Cecilia's bottom-dropped-out shock and Rachel's raw grief equally keenly thanks to her amazing performance.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed out loud many times despite the subject matter, and cried a few tears listening during my daily commute.

Any additional comments?

This was my first Liane Moriarty book--and I was instantly hooked. I bought and listened to all five of her other novels in rapid succession. As audiobooks i have still never found their equal. The world--and especially Audible-hooked commuters--needs more Liane Moriarty!!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful