Published by Penguin on August 29th 2013
My Darling Cecilia
If you're reading this, then I've died . . .
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick 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. 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 devastating secret.
WOW! It’s more than a week since I finished THE HUSBAND’S SECRET and have finally gathered myself together to write a review but my overall thought has to simply be – WOW. This book has been on my TBR for months and when I finally got my hands on a copy, I dropped everything and boy was I rewarded with a stunning piece of fiction. I read this book in less than 24 hours mistakenly starting it before bed and then tossing and turning all night long because of the emotion it stirred in me with just the few short chapters I had read before lights out. I immediately picked it up the next morning and devoured the book in a matter of hours, performing my tasks and eating my meals one-handed. It’s been a long time since a book has made me feel like that and I’m so glad it lived up to my expectations.
THE HUSBAND’S SECRET centres around three women, most notably Cecilia Fitzpatrick. Perfectly put-together, successful, organised, Cecilia has her life together raising her three adorable daughters with her handsome, loving husband John-Paul in the Sydney suburbs. When her daughter’s new obsession switches from Titanic to The Berlin Wall, Cecilia eager to connect, mentions that she has a piece in the attic from her European travels in the early 90’s. When she goes to seek it out she comes across a letter from her husband which says to be opened in the event of his death. Like Pandora in the old legend, Cecilia cannot help herself and the secrets that spill from the letter have the power to not only destroy her idyllic family life but have far reaching consequences she cannot even imagine.
This book was the very definition of a page-turner for me. Moriarty is a skilful story-weaver, whose emotionally charged passages kept me enthralled and characters whose actions compelled me to care and root for them. Each of the three stories, Cecelia struggling to keep it all together, Tess learning to cope on her own after splitting from her husband and Rachel finding herself all alone having lost her husband and daughter and staggered by the news her son and family are moving to the other side of the world were captivating. The secrets in John-Paul’s letter threaten the balance of their lives in ways that are both complex and incomprehensible as are their actions in response to the secrets.
The secret itself is not the story; it’s how people react to it, the sacrifices they make, and the limits that are tested in order for life to find its equilibrium again. This book affected me greatly while reading it, the sheer emotion it raised in me as it made me realise that no matter how much you know a person, you cannot possibly know everything and no matter how small an action is for you, its result can be catastrophic for someone else. Chaos Theory plays a big part in this book and made it even more compelling to read.
The characterisation was spot on and I connected immediately with each POV, engrossed in all three stories equally and Moriarty’s snappy dialogue was a joy to read.
Utterly readable and pacy, the pages whizzed by at light speed as the crescendo intensified to a stunning conclusion that left me stunned and breathless. Highly recommend.