What would you do if you discovered your husband of many years had been keeping a secret? Not just a little secret but a life-altering, devastating secret that affected many people? That is exactly what happened when Cecelia Fitzpatrick found a letter addressed to her by her husband written some 12 years earlier with the instructions 'To Be Opened Only In The Event of My Death. With her husband on a business trip to the US and Cecelia at home with their three daughters in Australia, she promises him she won't open it. But when John-Paul cuts short his trip and returns home to Australia immediately after she told him that she found the letter, she is even more suspicious and worried about the contents.
Tess is a happily married mother of one who has a fulfilling job in the ad agency she started with her husband and cousin. She is happy in both her personal and professional life and lives each day with not too much worry of what lies ahead. That all changed in an instant and leaves Tess asking herself how she could've not seen it coming.
Rachel is an older woman who is still suffering the loss of her teenage daughter some twenty-eight years ago and has never really recovered. Janie was seventeen when she became missing and was found dead in a park hours later. Though Rachel had another child, a son, she was never able to get over Janie's death or to show Rob the love he needed.
These three women are connected in different ways and secrets play a big part in those connections. As the truths are revealed, new revelations are discovered that still have the power to change lives forever. Even the most innocent people are forever affected.
I couldn't have been more delighted with this book. It turned out to be much more than I was expecting and it had me riveted. The characters are terrific, even though I didn't really like one of them. OK, it's Rachel. I thought she was a hard woman who didn't think much of people. Granted, its understandable considering what she's gone through in her life, but she was a bit prickly. That being said, I also believe that is what made her such a great character. Cecelia was seemingly so perfect that you didn't want to like her but you couldn't help it. And Tess, well, I felt sorry for Tess - for awhile anyway.
Aside form the great characters, the story was written very well, laying the story out bit by bit. I also liked the way the author introduced the connections of the characters in a slow manner, allowing all of the history between them to be revealed and absorbed in a natural way. This made the story all the more realistic and natural. Deep inside this story is a mystery that is so powerful and life-changing. That's the part I wasn't expecting. It made this novel and stand-out for me. One of my favorite parts was actually the epilogue. It was very revealing and I enjoyed that very much. After reading it, I felt like I was the one who held the secrets. It was great!!
I realized I was really into this book when I found myself thinking of these women throughout my day when I wasn't reading. I'd be making the bed and Cecelia would pop into my mind and I'd start trying to put myself into their situations and wonder what I would do. In my opinion, when a book stays in your mind even after you've finished it, that's a good book!
If you are in a book club this would make a terrific selection. There is definitely a lot to discuss and questions to be asked. I have to thank my book club She Reads Book Club for choosing this thought-provoking book. I am looking forward to our discussion later in the month!
Just one last note: My friend Kathy and my Aunt Nancy, who both live in Ohio but do not know each other, saw on my Facebook page that I was reading this book and they told me they were both reading it at the same time I was! I never discussed this book with them and that is what made it so random! They both loved it, in fact, Kathy told me the epilogue was also one of her favorite parts and the book is one of her favorites of the year! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who just plain loves a great story!
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Published: July 30, 2013
Length: 416 pp