That’s the question I found myself asking while reading Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret. Prior to this book, I had only read one book by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies. I enjoyed that book and found it to be a good mystery with a satisfactory ending. I loved how that book started with a shocking event and then backtracked to show the events leading up to that night. I was hoping for more of the same with The Husband’s Secret, but this story was written differently. It was a good story with a definite mysterious aspect to it but there were things in it that I felt weren’t really necessary and took away from the story. **Please note: if you have not read The Husband’s Secret yet, please come back to this once you have read it so as to avoid spoilers!**
For example, I enjoyed Rachel and Cecilia’s characters. I think they were both true to human emotions with Cecilia’s reaction when her world falls apart and with Rachel’s inability to let go of her suspicions about her daughter’s murderer. Tess, however, was another story. The whole Tess, Felicity, and Will triangle felt unnecessary to me. I understand the role Tess plays in helping us readers to gain insight into Connor’s character and to see a different side of him other than the one being portrayed through Rachel’s eyes, but I feel that could have been done with Tess as a minor character.
Rachel and Cecilia are both profoundly changed by the end of the book but I didn’t feel that Tess had changed that much. Her life had changed, sure, but the character didn’t feel as developed or round as the other two main characters, and her involvement in the murder mystery wasn’t at a personal level as with the other two main characters which made her feel like the odd man out.
The epilogue also seemed unnecessary. Does it really matter what might have happened differently? The point of the story seemed to me to be about learning to accept the decisions we’ve made and to live with them and their consequences, not reflecting on what might have been. The only part that seemed relevant was the part pertaining to Janie’s death. I do think that was important but I think that this new information would have been more impactful if it had somehow been written into the plot of the story instead of added as a side note at the end.
I’ve now read two of Liane Moriarty’s books, and while I preferred Big Little Lies to The Husband’s Secret, I think both were good stories and I intend to read more of hers. The Husband’s Secret is definitely an entertaining read that is good for beach reading or for curling up in front of a fire on a cold winter day. Basically a good book to lose yourself in for a while. I just got distracted from the main story by Tess and her drama. I think the story could have been told through the eyes of just Cecilia and Rachel. I also found myself confused by the epilogue. Again, it felt unnecessary.
My review: 3 out of 5 stars
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Cecilia couldn’t remember what she’d said, but she’d only been joking. Anyway, weren’t women allowed to be sexist for the next two thousand years or so, until they’d evened up the score?” – The Husband’s Secret