Tuesday, September 24, 2013

All husbands have secrets

"She longed to feel something momentous.
Sometimes her life seemed so little."
But then again so do all wives. However, not all secrets are lethal. And that's what Cecilia Fitzpatrick is hoping is hidden inside an envelope that she stumbled upon while looking for some relic of the Berlin Wall in the attic. The envelope was tucked away with some old bills instead of with the wills her and her husband had written years before. The yellowness of it makes her think it must be an old one. But the problem is her husband isn't dead and his reaction at his wife's mentioning of the letter makes her think she was not supposed to find it. In fact, she believes her husband lied to her when she asked him about it. And he practically begged her not to open it. You *know* Cecelia will end up opening it but it takes her a long time to get there. By then we are introduced to two other women whose lives will be affected by that terrible letter.

"All these years there had been a Tupperware container of bad language in her head, and now she opened it and all those crisp, crunchy words were fresh and lovely, ready to be used."

Rachel Crowley is a very, very sad widow who after losing her daughter also lost her husband. Now the only son she has left is happily married to Lauren (whom she all but likes) and they have given Rachel a new joy in her life - little Jacob. But because Lauren is being transferred to New York the whole family will be uprooted and they will leave Melbourne. They act like it's just for two years but Rachel is crushed, believing she has nothing else to live for after Jacob is gone. And to top it all, police refuse to take her seriously when she keeps telling them who is responsible for her daughter's death.

"She had no idea that her life was so flimsily constructed, like a stack of cards, and that Rob and Lauren could march in here on a Monday night and cheerfully help themselves to the one card that mattered."

In Sydney, Tess O'Leary's life seems perfect. She has a beautiful son and a company with her husband and her best friend (and cousin) Felicity. But then her world is turned upside down by a betrayal of the worst kind and she grabs her son and flees back to her mother in Melbourne. There she crosses paths with Cecilia and Rachel as well as an old flame. Their lives begin to weave together and even though you can see it coming and you already know what the husband's secret will be before it's revealed, you want to see what will happen.

"Falling in love was easy. Anyone could fall. It was holding on that was tricky."

I sort of devoured this story even though I was annoyed by quite a few things. You see, I'm anything but a fan of hysterical women. To be fair, most of the women in the story were pushed into a situation that was not their fault. This book is moving fast on best seller lists. Inspired by real death bed confessions the story does not focus so much on the secret but on the effect it has on people who are unknowingly connected. I didn't think Tess was connected to the whole story enough and not nearly as affected by it as the other two women. The connection to Berlin Wall was also quite unnecessary and strongly exaggerated. I was however blown away by the unraveling of Cecilia and her perfect beautiful and polished life. 
And then there is an epilogue that has left readers divided. Many believe that it is over the top or perhaps that Liane Moriarty had too many ideas that she couldn't stuff into the plot. But I was mesmerized by it. It is absolutely the best part of the whole book and it will keep you reeling. And for those who hated the ending before the epilogue... What were you expecting?

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