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The Husband’s Secret

This is a thumper of a novel. It doesn’t start this way – it begins with a snug domestic scene filled with small preoccupations and gradually builds to a crescendo of causes and effects that kept me glued to the pages.

Liane Moriarty introduces three seemingly separate women – a Tupperware sales woman, a school secretary and a business woman running an advertising agency. However, quite quickly the words ‘St Angela’s Primary School’ start appearing in each of the different story lines, giving tiny hints that these people may be coming into collision with each other.

At the start of the novel:

  • Cecilia is the most organised person you could ever meet, with everything completed sorted (the Tupperware sales woman)
  • Rachel has newfound joy in her life through her relationship with her grandson (the school secretary)
  • Tess has a perfectly balanced life and business, with her husband and her best friend (the business woman).

None of these ideal states can hold under the pressures that come to bear. It is a masterful unfolding, diving deep into motivations, guilt and the desire for revenge. I don’t want to say too much, because this is a story of building suspense, but you do come to understand how all three women do what they do. When hard things happen to them, they see the past in a whole new light, including their failures in relationship to others.

I loved the supporting characters in this novel, particularly Esther who is obsessed about the Berlin Wall.

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