Edition: Paperback, 406 pages
Published by: Penguin Books, 29th August 2013
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Drama, Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 3 stars
Completed: 19th December 2015
My Darling Cecilia
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died . . .
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia – or each other – but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s devastating secret.
I was given The Husband’s Secret as a birthday gift from my two friends (thank you!) which gave me the opportunity to read it. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise.
This book is set in Australia and it centres on three main characters Cecilia, Rachel and Tessa. All three women don’t really know each other but they are all connected.
Cecilia is a successful businesswoman of Tupperware, loyal wife and devoted mother. She thinks she knows her husband inside and out, or does she? One day whilst in the attic, she finds a letter from her husband that could destroy their perfect life. Tessa is shocked to hear that she was betrayed by two people she loved the most and Rachel is still dealing with the death of her daughter many years ago.
“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It’s probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”
There isn’t much mystery in this book, as I would have expected. It is a bit disappointing because I love mystery but it was a good read nonetheless. The title is ironically more interesting and mysterious than the book itself. You discover what the mystery is within a few chapters because I just put two and two together and discovered John-Paul’s secret. There’s no guessing whodunit, and so it’s more to do with family drama. First of all when Cecilia finds John-Paul’s letter, which states only to be open in the event of his death (he’s very much alive), she spends time agonising whether to open it or not and when she finally reads the letter, she agonises on what to do with what she knows for the entire of the book.
The characters weren’t that likeable, I don’t think. They just seemed selfish somewhat, especially their decisions. Cecilia is a rambler; I noticed that within the first page. She’s the kind of person who can’t keep quiet, always talking and very chipper. I liked Tessa at the beginning because I did feel really bad for her and I enjoyed reading about her rekindled relationship with P.E. teacher Connor, as he was a decent character but I just didn’t agree with her decision at the end. Rachel is a very bitter and resentful character; she thinks she knows who did it and is determined to get her justice.
For the most part, the storyline drags on and I often wondered where it was heading. This sounds like I disliked the book – I didn’t, it was enjoyable. What made me keep reading was the writing style, as it is unputdownable and I really wanted to know what the outcome was, how is it going to end? I liked that the author included some chapters from Janie’s perspective before her death. I think the ending was really really tragic and I did not see that one coming – that was a plot twist.
Overall I give this 3 stars. This is by no means a bad book, I did enjoy the story but I think it lacked character development, but nonetheless it did feel like a realistic contemporary-mystery novel. I liked how the author carefully interweaved the connections between the characters together and made it work quite well. The characters were real, as they didn’t feel fake at all, especially the emotion that was combined into the story. I think the moral of the story was that the actions of the characters would have consequences, as a result of the ending.