I can’t believe June is already half-way through, and we have another book under our belts. This month Between the Lines read The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I actually really like this book, and the mystery behind trying to figure out who murdered Janie.
1. When Cecilia finds the letter addressed to her from her husband, “To be opened only in the event of my death,” she is tormented by the ethics of opening it. Do you agree with her ultimate decision? What would you have done?
I do agree with Cecilia’s ultimate decision. I would be very curious about the letter, as I’m the type of person who hates secrets and surprises. I definitely would ask about the letter, but also would respect my husband’s word when he said it was nothing. His reaction to the inquiry about the letter would have made me very suspicious, especially when he told her it was nothing and then searched the attic. Just like Cecilia, I definitely would have to open the letter at that time!
2. Tess has suffered her whole life from crippling social anxiety. How has this made everyday situations a challenge for her? Why has she never confronted her problem? Why doesn’t she tell anyone about it?
I would not define Tess’ social anxiety as crippling because it did not prevent her from functioning. She excelled in work that required a lot of social interaction without breaking down. That’s just my opinion based on the scenarios we witnessed. She does have some level of social anxiety, and it causes difficulty in interacting with other individuals or picking up on social cues. I think she never confronted her disorder because she used her family as a buffer from the outside world. She didn’t really have to deal with any situation alone. Any type of disorder, social anxiety being one, is a very private matter, and it’s not easy to share something you have been hiding for years even to those who love you.
3. Grief is a major theme in the novel, and many of the characters have suffered as a result of their losses. How do each of the characters cope with their grief? In what ways have their lives have been irrevocably altered as a result of their grieving?
Grief is a very personal process, and everyone deals with it differently and at different times. Rachel mourns continuously for her daughter, and it eventually consumed every aspect of her life. I think part of the reason for this is she never received closure to her daughter’s death. She forgot about her son, she closed herself off from the world, except for her best friend, and she became obsessed with finding justice for Janie’s murder. She begins to change and “reemerge” with the presence of her grandson.
We see Rob, Rachel’s son, still grieves for his sister but it’s more private. We don’t get to see much of his grief except towards the end, and we realize that he has moved on with his life but still remembers his sister and shares stories with his son and wife.
Tess is grieving over her marriage and friendship with her friend/cousin. She is struggling with the a deep feeling of betrayal. Her method of grief was to do the extreme and have an affair.
4. Consider the notion of betrayal in this book. Which characters have betrayed someone they love? Are their acts of betrayal premeditated, or are they unplanned decisions that become regrettable actions?
Betrayal has several definitions, and I think in one way or another each was exhibited. John-Paul betrayed is wife by deceiving her. Once the VERY large secret is revealed she is not sure who her husband really is. John-Paul also betrayed Janie’s trust in strangling her and then not revealing the truth. Cecilia betrayed John-Paul by revealing his secret to Rachel. Felicity betrayed Tess by trying to steal Tess’ husband. Tess betrayed Will by having an affair with Connor, and then by not revealing her betrayal. I think betrayal is a conscious decision but sometimes can occur off-the-cuff like with Cecilia’s betrayal of John-Paul to Rachel.
Join Anne, Kristyn and the rest of us next month with Orphan Train!