What’s it all about?:
From the author of the critically acclaimed What Alice Forgot comes a breakout new novel about the secrets husbands and wives keep from each other.
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.
What did I think?:
I haven’t read any of the authors previous work, so I was unsure what to expect from this novel. My sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads got the book as an ARC, loved it and urged me to read it, and when it was chosen for part of the Richard and Judy Autumn Reads 2013 AND won the readers vote as the favourite book on the list I knew I could resist it no longer. There are a lot of different strands and characters involved in this story, but the main thread involves a woman called Cecilia, who seems to have it all – a brilliant career, revered by the local community and school which her children attend, and happy in her marriage to John-Paul. However, cracks begin to show when Cecilia happens upon a letter written by her husband to be opened only in the event of his death, containing a terrible and life-altering secret. We find out the secret fairly early on in the book but I won’t spoil things by revealing it. The rest of the novel focuses on how John-Paul’s secret affects his wife, family and others around them, mainly Rachel an elderly widow, and Tess who has recently separated from her husband but finds herself falling for an old flame.
I really loved how there were so many sides of this story with multiple characters to get to grip with. This may sound confusing but I think the author pulled it off beautifully, at no time did I feel overwhelmed with the amount of information or mixed up with the characters lives. For me, it felt an incredibly “real” read, and I think the main themes of love, death and marriage were dealt with authentically with a certain rawness of emotions that often accompanies these things. Although I may not have liked certain characters, they were all portrayed honestly and with that sense of mystery that kept me intrigued and kept me turning the pages. Actually, I must have finished this book in record time, I just couldn’t bear to put it down and needed to know how things were going to be resolved! This is a thrilling, captivating and immensely readable tale that I highly recommend. Now I’m dying to check out What Alice Forgot.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):