In it, a wife unwittingly discovers her husband’s lifelong secret, up to this point, carefully hidden away for no one else to know. The tag line says it all: The trouble with the truth is that it can change everything.
Not to give too much away, it’s a big secret, one that changes the way his wife looks at him. He’s no longer an M&M that fell on the kitchen floor. Now he’s the piece of fish that dropped on the dirty, dusty tile. She looks at him and his molecules have changed. What she believed about him has been undermined by what she knows now.
The book details the events of the secret, its discovery, and the thoughts of the wife.
Think about it for a minute. What if your husband told you a very big, very illegal secret? What would you do? How would you react? And could you carry it?
Carry it… That’s an odd thought for a secret, but that’s what you do when someone shares a confidence with you. You carry it. Like a prize or a burden.
It’s a prize when it’s a good secret. “Don’t tell anyone. We’re not sharing this news yet, but I had to tell you because you’re my best friend. We’re having a baby!” You, as the secret holder, are bursting at the seams with happiness for your friend and her mate, anticipating the joyous event of a new life! It’s an honor and a show of your special bond with your gal pal.
But the bad secrets…. They are the burdens. Especially the ones that are stumbled across, not shared willingly, pulled from the shadows like deep-rooted weeds. “You found me out. I committed a big sin. Now you know who I am inside and I’m not the good person you thought I was.”
Again, not to give away the plot, but The Husband’s Secret is a big one. The type of secret that can only be told to a spouse, to tell anyone else would risk the probability of them having to testify against the doer in a court of law.
If it ever came out in the light of day.
The wife hears her husband’s words and immediately becomes an accomplice. She cannot tell another person without her whole world crashing down. The only one she can safely talk to is the husband, the one who committed the crime.
He feels relief. After decades of carrying his darkness, he’s now able to share it with another person. It lightens his emotional load. And passes the burden off to his wife.
What does she do with that new responsibility? Who does she share with when she needs to lighten her part of the burden? She can only turn to her husband (the only one who wouldn’t be forced to testify against her).
And what if he pushes her off? What if she tries to speak with him, rally some sort of emotional support for her new burden, only to hear him say, “It’s not your problem? It has nothing to do with you.” Who does she turn to when she needs to deal with her side, her life’s impact, or work through her thoughts? She can’t count on him because he’s brushed her feelings away, like fallen leaves that really don’t matter.
Now she too carries the fear of being found out and having her life dismantled piece by piece. She has as much to lose as he does. While his wound is scabbed over, hers is fresh and bleeding…
I recommend the book. It’s a good summer read and deals with several women’s lives: one with the secret, one whose marriage and long-time friendship are falling apart over an affair, and one woman who stopped living long before the book’s first page. It’s the kind of book where the climax is easy to figure out but sparks heavy conversations.
Book club worthy.