Not a Review: THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty

TheHusbandsSecretAudioI don’t normally read two of any author’s book’s in quick succession but my book club is going to discuss this one and BIG LITTLE LIES tomorrow. I wonder if my fellow club members will be as hard pressed as I am to tell the difference between the two.

I’m quite serious. Both books have three main female characters. These women are all basically middle class, middle-aged, east-coast Australian women whose sense of self comes largely from their role in their respective families (their jobs if they have them are background features of their lives). I am already struggling to separate any of them as distinct memories in my mind and I was mixing up their names long before I finished the second book. The stories are both very (very) long, predictable tales of what can happen when people keep secrets. There are glimpses of the author’s excellent observational skills in both books (here she could easily have been writing about the community surround the Catholic primary school I attended) but ultimately they present a pretty shallow view of humanity, sometimes squirm-inducingly so. They also spell out every element of the morality tales they contain so the reader doesn’t have to think. At all. Aside from the actual plot details I can’t think of any significant way THE HUSBAND’S SECRET differs from BIG LITTLE LIES.

I know of course that many authors write to a formula, including some of my favourites, so I can’t really criticise Moriarty for making use of one. Especially one that is obviously so popular. However, having tried it twice now I’m pretty certain hers is not a formula that works for me. I was happy enough to listen to Caroline Lee’s excellent narration as I did a long stint of driving today but I’ve already decided to give away unread the third Moriarty novel I own.

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aww2017-badgeThis is the 8th book I’ve read for the 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge (but it’s stretching the point to call this a review). For more information about the challenge check out my challenge progresssign up yourself or browse the Challenge’s database of reviews.

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Narrator Caroline Lee
Publisher Bolinda Audio, 2013
Length 13 hours 48 minutes
Format audio (mp3)
Book Series standalone
Source of review copy I bought it

This entry was posted in Liane Moriarty (Aus), mini review. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Not a Review: THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Sounds as if there really wasn’t anything there, Bernadette, to really hold your attention or get you interested in the characters. Shame, too, because, as you say, Moriarty has very good observational skills. But if you can’t even really tell the characters apart, that says something about the depth of the story and of the characters, of course. Hmmm….Perhaps I’ll wait on that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. realthog says:

    I grinned to read this. I bought The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies at the same time and read one of them fairly soon thereafter. Yesterday, reading your review of Big Little Lies, I was screwing my eyes up with the effort to remember if that was the one I’d read. In the end I had to go and check and, in fact, it was The Husband’s Secret I’d read. So you’re clearly spot on about the similarities!

    And spot on with the rest too. The writing goes down real easy so the pages keep turning, to the extent that I’m sure I’ll read Big Little Lies in due course, but there’s the irking feeling that Moriarty has better books inside her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was trying to work out why this experience has annoyed me more than other formulaic writing and I think that’s it…Moriarty seems to have the potential to do more than this


  3. tracybham says:

    I am not interested in Big Little Lies, but I thought I might like The Husband’s Secret. I like the premise. So if I do ever decide to try it, I won’t move on to other books of hers. She wrote another one called Three Wishes about three “beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets”. Maybe I am too far from that age to be interested.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. FictionFan says:

    I really enjoyed Big Little Lies, but then read Truly, Madly, Guilty and was seriously underwhelmed. Amd now you mention it, that’s about three women, their relationship status, and secrets too. I have The Husband’s Secret on my Kindle but have no enthusiasm to get to it any time soon…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kathy d. says:

    I read Truly, Madly, Guilty at a time when I needed a relaxing book where I didn’t have to think. This did it. But it could have been 150 pages shorter. The characters were a bit different, but nothing shook me up in the book, not even the pages where “the incident” that changes everyone’s lives was written about.
    I decided that if I want a book-vacation and nothing to think about, I’ll read another one of her books. They are about Australian suburban women and their families so their lives are pretty good except for one awful occurrence. But there’s not much there there.

    Liked by 1 person

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