edia, "the story revolves around three backpackers who find themselves held captive by a serial killer in the Australian outback"), I was delighted to find The Husband's Secret a marked change from that description of the country.
Liane Moriarty's Australia is largely Catholic, and her focus is on the cities of Sydney and Melbourne. The novel follows the lives of three women: Cecilia, Tess, and Rachel. Cecilia finds a letter from her husband, marked "only to be opened in the event of my death," disrupting their perfectly organized life. Tess hears a confession from her husband's lips, then moves her son miles away to live with her mother. Rachel misses her dead husband each day, but not more than she misses her daughter. The intersection of the three women's lives is tied to the secrets each witnesses and holds.
Moriarty's novel could probably be titled simply Secrets, rather than The Husband's Secret, for it seems everyone has something to hide. Cecilia keeps her husband's secret with devastating results. Tess has her own secrets after moving back into her mother's house, ones that could affect her marriage more than her husband's confession. And Rachel has held a secret close to her heart for many years, a secret that could lead to her daughter's murderer being brought to justice.
Any description of The Husband's Secret sounds highly confusing and complicated. All those secrets, right? Who can keep up? However, it was a most entertaining novel, and not confusing at all to read. In fact, it was quite engrossing -- a page-turner within a piece of chick lit. I hesitate to tell you more about the plot, because I don't want to give anything away. Part of what made it so enjoyable to read was the way the events unfolded and the manner in which each piece of the story came to light.
All those secrets can feel a bit overly dramatic, but each could happen (and has happened) to people in real life. It is a work of fiction, after all, and much can be forgiven if it provides entertainment. The Husband's Secret definitely does not disappoint in that realm.
Liane Moriarty's website
The Husband's Secret on Amazon
SheReads September Book Club Selection