I got introduced to Liane Moriarty when one of her books was nominated for the Best Fiction Goodreads Choice award recently. Then I saw that most of her other books were also nominated for the said award, apart from the fact that they were bestsellers. Yet, I was wary of trying it out, as my experience with bestseller Indian novels hadn’t been all that great—most of them turn out to be overrated and poorly-written. But, eventually, I decided to go for it, hoping that the international bestseller would be worth it.
To sat that it was worth it would be an understatement. The pace was a bit slow in the first few chapters as the characters were getting introduced and I was wondering why three seemingly disconnected lives were being narrated, whereas the secret concerned only Cecelia’s life. But later, from the point when the three stories got intermingled, this was unputdownable.
The story has been stitched with skillful precision, the lives of the three families coming together to form an incredible plot. As far as the secret is concerned, after a while, it was predictable. But the beauty of the plot lies in the reactions, the aftereffects of the revelations on the people connected to the disastrous happening in the past. The characterization is exceptional—slow and subtle revelations of traits at regular intervals, adding layers to deepen the character. One feels for all the characters, despite them having their own set of flaws. The emotions are also well portrayed. I ended up breaking down at several places, especially towards the end of the book.
The language is lucid, yet interspersed with frequent doses of poetic prose. It aids the flow of the narration and never falters. The only thing I felt was that the repeated usage of brackets and exclamation marks could have been avoided. Sometimes, they, along with some monologues about women bitching, etc. made me feel as if I were reading a cheesy chick-lit. But of course, it is far from it. It is a complex, emotional, and a beautifully woven family story about emotions, betrayal, love, patience, regret etc.. It was a great learning experience for me—as a writer, on how to build complex plots with good characterization—along with the excellent entertainment that the book certainly did offer.
I would love to read more from the author. 4.7 stars to this wonderful read.