The Husband’s Secret
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home.
Then she finds a letter from her husband, to be opened after his death.
The letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something with the potential to destroy not just their life together, but the lives of others too.
And her husband is still alive and that letter is about to change everything.
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.
This is a deceptively mundane story about families who live in the leafy suburbs on Sydney’s North Shore.
We meet all the husbands and wives and children and learn what they have for breakfast, their likes and dislikes, their appointments, meetings and Tupperware parties, and their slightly bitchy thoughts about each other.
It is so jaw-droppingly boring that I thought I would just stay with it until the secret of John-Paul (the husband) is disclosed. Then the second half of the book start to become interesting. Cecilia eventually opens “the letter”, Tess is having a fling with her son’s P.E. teacher and Ruth wants revenge for the murder of her daughter many years ago.
I found the first 100 pages of this book a bit confusing because I wasn’t sure where the three different family stories were going.
Once the three main threads were woven together the complex interrelationship of all the characters and families made it an interesting read.
The principal characters in each family have a secret. Murder, infidelity and attempted revenge killing.
The author explores themes of secrets, love, hate, betrayal and reconciliation. Despite the slow start I enjoyed this novel. Support Australian authors! 7/10
It’s refreshing to read a book set in Australia that reflects families dealing with believable real life moral quandaries.
Once revealed, “the husbands secret” becomes the “wife’s dilemma” creating moral issues that we would all, no doubt, deal with differently. It would be difficult to complete this book without testing your own moral boundaries. Cecilia’s problem is cleverly intertwined with two other women in crisis. Tess has a suddenly broken marriage and Rachel her daughter’s long-unsolved murder.
The author cleverly brings the three and their families together to ultimately provide absolution for all. A good read but I found the ending short of my expectations.
I enjoyed this book and am likely to reserve more by this author.
We are introduced early to Cecilia Fitzpatrick who is not only a perfect mum, happily married and a successful Tupperware consultant but a multi-tasker supremo!
Cecilia sails effortlessly through the day, leaving ordinary mortals shaking their heads in wonder. In an almost karmic way Cecilia’s world falls apart as her husband’s secret is revealed.
Skillfully, the writer interweaves subplots and other characters – Rachel who is mourning the death of her daughter and Tess who is facing the loss of her marriage. Personally, I found the ending unfair but I loved the epilogue with all the “what might have been” scenarios.
I found this book a little hard to settle into as the chapters are short and it takes time to get to know the three central characters. But complexities and tensions build, and in the end it’s a very good read.
Cecilia is a suburban super-mum whose life is thrown into turmoil when she finds a letter that her husband wrote to her years ago. Her dilemma would make a good book club discussion.
Rachel, an older woman in the same neighbourhood, was particularly well-drawn. Her daughter was murdered many years ago and the killer has not been found. The reader sees Rachel’s rage and pain and her brave attempts to have a life despite this tragedy. I thought Tess, the young mum with marriage problems, was the sketchiest character and the least appealing.
The characters in this novel are so busy thinking and worrying about their guilt-ridden lives that plot development suffers.
We juggle the lives of three characters which constantly intertwine. By the time “the husband’s secret” is revealed, its impact is seriously diminished by the myriad of secrets in the lives of the other players.
Because this book deals with the complexities of adult relationships and the frailties of human nature it is not surprising that it has attracted Hollywood interest.
Add this to your holiday reading list, but don’t have high expectations.