Goodreads Synopsis: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 just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilai - or each other- but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband's devastating secret.
First of all, I would like to commend Cecilia for having had to wait a whole day before reading the letter from her husband. If it were me, I would have opened the envelope right there and then.
I found this book completely realistic; the characters and the situation they're all in. I could actually imagine it happening in real life. Although, there are a few characters that I thought the book could do without, like Trudy (the principal) or Marla (Rachel's best friend). There were already a variety of characters in the book, I found myself making a diagram while I was reading. We could also have gone without Tess' whole story (just my opinion).
At the middle of the book, we find out what the husband's secret is and it's implications in all their lives. Cecilia, like any wife or mother, can think only of her family and is conflicted whether to tell the truth or to keep the secret to herself. Until things get a little shaken up by a tragic "accident" that would force her to confess her husband's crime to Rachel who is firm on what she knows is the truth.
We can also see Cecilia struggle on doing the right thing, but right for who? For her family? For the truth? We also later find out that John-Paul's mother might have an idea of her son's crime after commenting that she had the same rosary as the one found in Janie's dead body. We can see the depths of how much a mother (well, maybe just some mothers) is willing to protect her child even if it meant trading your righteousness and faith.
And by the way, how mediocre are the detectives in the 80's? How does a seventeen-year old boy get away with murder without even trying to?
What can you say or do to make up for a horrible incident? The words "I'm sorry" felt like an insult. You said "I'm sorry" when you bumped against someone's supermarket trolley. There needed to be bigger words.
Although, I have no idea how Rachel felt after she found out that she didn't need to be sorry after all. Was this accident equal to Janie's life? Have they squared even? It does not seem to sum up, but they are both feeling guilty of the crimes they've secretly committed.
I felt most sorry for Connor. First of all, his first ever girlfriend gets murdered. Then, Rachel suspects that he is the one who murdered Janie. Lastly, the love of his life (the-one-that-got-away) comes back and they have a rebound relationship with no expectations. I think that he is the unlikely victim here; not Janie, Rachel, Cecilia, Polly or Tess.
I have mentally categorized this book with What Happens Next and Thirteen Reasons Why, and a little less dark than Gone Girl.