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Posts Tagged ‘The Husband’s Secret’

This week I finished two rather different books…

Book 17 – King Solomon’s Mines, by H Rider Haggard.  I’ve had this book on my shelf for years but am 99% sure I never read it; I have read She two or three times instead!  This book is full of adventure, riches, violence, and is a ‘rollicking good yarn’ or some such!

It follows the trek of a group of men into an unexplored area of Africa in search of a missing man – and fabled diamond mines.  Along the way there is elephant hunting, freezing mountains, near-starvation, death, revolution and entombment. There are also some funny moments and some odd notions!

As a product of its time it is far from PC; however there are heroes in the story who are black, white, male and female, which was a more modern approach than I’d expected from a writer of that era.  There are some very pertinent comments on the actions of humans along the way, with no race, or gender, being seen as wholly good or bad: there is a balance that must have reflected Haggard’s own perceptions following his experiences in Africa.

I enjoyed this, for what it is: a Victorian era book, when hunting elephants was a career choice and there was much of the world that was unseen and unknown.  Africa is portrayed as an exotic realm, full of danger, mystery and lost history – and you can see why it would have seemed so to the audience of the time.

Although there were flashes of religion in the characters there was more discussion of their arsenals than their God, and after Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Little Women I appreciated that :-).  It’s a book I could easily read again, because it is in effect a Victorian Indiana Jones affair – completely escapist.  Plus it did have that sense that the good triumphed over evil, even though the cost was vast.

Book 18 – The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty  This was a set book for reading group and is not my usual style; I will try not to use spoilers because this book is still in the paperback chart in the UK!

The book is contemporary, and is about how life can change when a secret is revealed.  Actually, more than one husband has a secret and for each one revealed, another one bursts into life.

It was hard to keep track of some of the characters’ relationships at the start but as the story unfolded it all became clearer.  I enjoyed the unreliability of some viewpoint characters – this trait meant we grew to appreciate some secondary characters as the story progressed.  One family in particular, once we saw their reality, seemed very sympathetic to me.

The big reveal was signposted from early on – I was hoping it was a twist –  and the subsequent event related to it was also signposted before it happened.  The interesting thing both times was the reactions of the different people involved, especially with the second related event.

There are some flashbacks which I personally don’t think added anything to the story, and an epilogue which did clarify one point but again didn’t really add anything to the story itself in my opinion.  However they did show another way that secrets – known and unknown – can impact on the way people’s lives unfold.

Overall it was easy to read and quite engaging but I wish there had been a little more mystery surrounding the secret itself.

Until next time, happy reading!

EJ

🙂

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