Celeste has an ideal life in Sydney, with her handsome husband and three young daughters. Everything seems perfect until one day she accidentally comes across an envelope addressed to her from her husband, only to be opened in the event of his death. Curiosity gnaws away at Celeste as she debates whether to respect her still-alive husband’s wishes or not. Little does she know, the secret revealed in that letter will not only affect their family but also two other women whom Celeste barely knows.
The novel opens with a passage about Pandora’s box, and that is exactly what comes to mind with this book. It’s an intriguing premise, because it begs the question to be posed onto the reader: what would you do?
The Husband’s Secret not only follows Celeste and her dilemma, but also the other women: Tess and Rachel. What begins as three separate stories, the lives begin to intersect and it makes for great storytelling. I enjoyed watching the connections reveal themselves and how their seemingly isolated lives are interwoven.
I did find that there was an interesting focus on women and their role in society. I haven’t read Moriarty’s other works as of yet so I’m unsure if this is her style. I’d like to think that the discussions on beauty associated with one’s weight and looks, or a wife & mother’s role is to keep house and change diapers, is a commentary on society. With all the trials and tribulations that these women go through, it was also striking to witness how often they kept blaming themselves for the mess that the men in their lives have done. And that was what I found hard to get through at times. Reading how these women make excuses, hide the facts and generally bear the burden was frustrating and made it difficult to like the protagonists.
The Husband’s Secret was a fascinating look into how the repercussions of our choices and actions can cause such a butterfly effect. This was a really interesting read, and I’m curious to check out Moriarty’s other works – one of which sounds similar in set up with Big, Little Lies also following the stories of three women.