Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty (Audio)

Nothing could have tickled me more when I found out that the She Reads September book club selection was none other than the next release from Liane Moriarty.  You might remember me going a little bit crazy over her novel "What Alice Forgot", which I read a couple of summers ago.  More recently I reviewed "The Hypnotist's Love Story" which didn't quite hit the mark with me, but nevertheless, this author has so much to offer.  While her books appear to be fluffy fun reading for women, there is way more to her, and I'm always left with a swirl of thoughts in my head long after I finish.  She just seems to understand middle-aged women, more than most women understand themselves.  She is like the BFF who knows what's bothering you before you even utter a word.

So let me tell you a little about Moriarty's next work of art.

Synopsis:  Cecilia Fitzpatrick is a busy woman.  She has three daughters under the age of 12, is President of her parent/school association, she runs a successful Tupperware business, is highly organized and efficient, and has been happily married for 15 years.  Then one day when she was digging through the attic looking for something, she comes across a sealed envelope that is labeled "For my wife Cecelia Fitzpatrick, to be opened only in the event of my death".  Hmmm.  An irresistible temptation, no?  Especially since her husband has been acting a little strange...turning his back on sex, crying in the shower, etc.  But Cecelia could never predict the demons unleashed once she reads this letter.

Tess has just been informed by her husband and her cousin/best friend/business partner that they are in love.  They haven't slept together! No, no.  But they are meant for each other.  Horrified and deeply hurt, Tess takes her 6 year-old son and runs to stay at her mother's to try to figure out what to do.
Rachel lives for her grandson, Jacob, who is two.  He is the only shining light in a life that has been filled with anger and grief, ever since her daughter Janie was murdered over twenty years ago, and her husband died soon after of a broken heart.  Sure, Rachel still has her son, and but she can't quite move on since Janie's killer was never found.

In alternating narratives, these three troubled women are slowly drawn into each other's orbit, tackling a laundry list of problems ranging from menopause to murder.

My thoughts:  With many authors, after you've read a few of their books, you begin to see common themes and styles emerge, with just a change in names and locale.  So I find it curious and a little delightful that Moriarty does not succumb to this pitfall.  Each of her three books I've read are so different.  The only common denominator is women in distress.

For those that expect a fun beach read, they are going to be shocked at the depth and gravity of some of the issues here.  Sure, there is plenty of humor because let's face it, some of the crap women suffer through has to be laughed at, just so we don't fall apart.  But the underlying issues, in this case infidelity and all its forms, grief, middle age, deceit, forgiveness...are heavy burdens.  I was enthralled by the storytelling here, but will admit that there were times when I heaved a big sigh.

I don't want to sound like the book was a huge downer, but it does make one think.  Moriarty always is good for a few days of self-evaluation, and is a book club's dream.  Ultimately the author always pulls you back up from your navel-gazing and offers a delicious, warm ray of sun to let you know that not all is lost.  Life may not be perfect but is worth the effort to try your hardest.

A few words about the audio production:  I almost squealed like a kid when I heard the first words of this audio play into my ears...Caroline Lee!  She is THE VOICE for all of Kate Morton's books and I've fallen in love with her girlish, accented little performances.  They delight me, and she was perfect for this book.  She makes listening such a pleasure.  Also a big thanks goes out to Penguin audio for providing my digital download!

Listening length:  13 hours and 44 minutes (416 pages)

4.5 out of 5 stars


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I don't know if I'd want to read this, but I can offer a shout out for the beautiful cover! :--)

bermudaonion said...

I loved What Alice Forgot too so I'm really looking forward to this. Now I'm wondering if I should read the print book I have or seek out the audio.

Anonymous said...

I'm STILL waiting for this one to come in the mail but once it does (if ever), I'm definitely reading it. I haven't read any of her novels but everyone raves about them. And I love books like this.

Anonymous said...

I just joined the She Reads club and got this book. I loved What Alice Forgot, a new to me author (unfortunately I don't sample enough Australian authors. I only read the first chapter as I am also reading A Tap on the Window--2 very different reads! Thanks for sharing this. I only skimmed because I don't want to know too much before I finish it :)

Anonymous said...

I'm halfway through this one, my first experience with Moriarty. So far so good :)

Julie P. said...

I really enjoyed this one. Sounds like the audio version was terrific!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed your review. I am glad to know there is variety in Liane Moriarty's books. I enjoyed this one and I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.

Darlene said...

This was a great audio and book! I noticed that too - that she doesn't follow a set path on her books. It's refreshing and it keeps you wondering what she'll come out with next.

DoingDewey said...

This definitely made me think! I loved how deep this story was, definitely not just a light beach read. This was my first book by this author, but this book made me certain I'd like to read her other books too :)