What you don’t know can’t hurt you…or can it?
I’ve heard both arguments. Never keep secrets from your spouse. On the other hand, some things are better left unsaid. But when it comes right down to it, which is it? The circumstances determine the answer to that question, on an individual basis.
In the case of Cecilia and her husband John-Paul, there is a monumental secret between them that has the capacity to change absolutely everything Cecilia believed to be true about their marriage and her husband. When she accidentally stumbles upon this secret, she doesn’t quite know what to do with it. John-Paul, while deeply ashamed, is also relieved that he no longer must bear the terrible weight of his secret alone. Still, whether Cecilia would have been better off not knowing is not quite clear. Had she known early in their relationship, they very well might never have married at all. She is up for a personal battle while she grapples with figuring out the right thing to do with her new knowledge.
While Cecilia faces her struggles, Tess is also nose to nose with her own husband’s secret. In her case, her husband decides that it’s best to be upfront and to tell her the hurtful truth. Her first reaction is to run away, heading straight into her past. Now that she knows what her husband has been hiding, Tess has to determine whether her marriage is over, or if it can be pieced back together again.
Rachel is not dealing with a husband’s secret, but with a broken heart, the result of a tragic incident that took place decades ago. She has gone through the motions of moving on, but inside she finds it difficult to find joy and purpose in her life. The anger and hurt continue to eat away at her, while her relationship with her family suffers. She uses her heartache as an excuse for many things in her life, including placing blame where it perhaps does not deserve to be placed.
These three women, Cecilia, Tess, and Rachel, don’t know it, but they are actually all involved, one way or another, in the same complicated secret. It will affect them each differently. Whether they are better or worse off for knowing the truth is a matter of debate. And, in the end, the truth is not a simple matter of black and white.
Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret is delightfully complex and emotional. The characters are richly developed. Within the first paragraph, I was reeled in and continuously engrossed until the very last page. The novel offers a great conundrum: are we better off knowing the truth in all matters, and furthermore, is there more than one shade of truth?
Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.