My Favorite Novels By Liane Moriarty – Author Spotlight

Liane Moriarty Author Spotlight On Novels And Nonfiction

I actually hadn’t heard about Liane Moriarty‘s novels until I started blogging last summer, but once I started to follow book blogs and keep up with popular titles, I started to hear her name everywhere. Her novels typically follow the same formula, with one major secret or twist at the heart of the novel’s plot, a cast of colorful characters whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways, and a pace which takes the reader from one small revelation to the next, until you get to the big reveal that brings all the previous smaller pieces of evidence together. Despite this formulaic basis, I’ve found the novels to be actually pretty different from each other thanks to the wide range of characters and central plot themes.

I’ve read 5 out of the 7 novels Moriarty has published to date, so I thought it was time to share my reviews of them with you. The novels are listed in order of preference. My definite favorite is Big Little Lies, and I’m really excited for the premiere of the series version starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon in February on HBO. I put The Husband’s Secret last, which may surprise some people, as it’s definitely received many a rave review. I really didn’t like it however, I think also not helped by the very whiny sounding audiobook narrator that was picked for the novel.

The two novels of Moriarty’s that are not listed – What Alice Forgot and The Hypnotist’s Love Story – are definitely on my short-term TBR list. I actually have What Alice Forgot in paperback, but I just wasn’t able to get to in time for this post. I’ll be publishing individual reviews of them and linking back to this Author Spotlight so that eventually I’ll have reviewed Moriarty’s entire opus to date.

Big Little Lies Book Review On Novels And Nonfiction

Big Little Lies

Published: July 29th 2014


I had a hard time picking between Big Little Lies and Three Wishes as my favorite Moriarty novel, which is interesting because each one has 3 female protagonists who are very similar but also very different from each other. In Big Little Lies, outspoken Madeline and naturally gorgeous Celeste are joined in their friend circle by new mom Jane when their children all start attending the same kindergarten. As the women grow closer, the secrets that two of them are hiding are slowly revealed and the tangles that connect their lives come to light.

I loved the structure of the novel, which starts with the revelation that there has been a murder during a school fundraiser which actually occurs at the end of the novel’s plot. The chapters in the novel provide flashbacks to the events that led up to this murder interspersed with police interrogations of the various parents who were in attendance. The reader is left guessing until the very end who both the murderer and the victim are. Though I guessed one of the major twists in the novel ahead of time, I was still surprised by the ending. I’m really excited that this is being turned into a series because it’s deliciously salacious and scandalous, while also dealing with serious topics like domestic abuse and date rape.

5 Rabbits Rating On Novels And Nonfiction

Three Wishes Book Review On Novels And NonfictionThree Wishes

Published: May 24th 2005


Three Wishes was a close second favorite to Big Little Lies. It’s actually Moriarty’s first completed novel, but it feels just as complex and fully formed as her later works. It’s the story of three women in their thirties who are triplets and have very different personality. Lyn is happily married, hype-organized and runs her own business, but may be wound a bit too tight for her own good. Cat is struggling with changes in her love life that are bringing into question whether she’ll be able to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother. Gemma is so free-spirited she’s unable to hold down a long-term relationship, but she may have met someone to be with for the long haul.

I loved how different each sister was from the others not only in her personality but also in her life story. I related to each of the three due to different aspects of their lives, from Lyn’s Type A personality to Cat’s desire to have a family, and even Gemma’s fear of commitment. The plot of the novel had an unexpected twist at every corner, and I felt the writing really made the characters and their emotions realistic. The ending is a feel good one for each of the sisters, which is nice after some of the drama they go through. I listened to Three Wishes on audiobook and it had the same narrator as The Last Anniversary (Heather Wilds), which I liked much better than the new narrator they picked for The Husband’s Secret (Caroline Lee), so if you read the latter I suggest you do so in print format.

5 Rabbits Rating On Novels And Nonfiction

The Last Anniversary Book Review On Novels And Nonfiction

The Last Anniversary

Published: June 24th 2014


The Last Anniversary revolves around a family that lives on an island off the coast of Sydney called Scribbly Gum Island. This island was the site of the mysterious disappearance many years before of Alice and Jack Munro, a married couple who left their infant daughter Enigma (known as the Munro baby) behind. Enigma was then adopted by sisters Connie and Rose, who are now elderly and making a good living by giving tourists tours of Alice and Jack’s house, left untouched since their disappearance.

When Connie passes, it turns out she’s decided to leave her house on Scribbly Gum Island to Sophie Honeywell, her nephew Thomas Gordon’s former girlfriend. Though Thomas has now remarried, his aunt Connie never forgot Sophie and decided that she was the perfect person to take her place on the island. The Munro baby mystery is at the heart of the novel, but so are different love triangles that form between family members and outsiders. It’s definitely a quieter novel with a less explosive ending than some of Moriarty’s others, but I really appreciated that it included an older cast of characters, including several ‘little old ladies’ and a middle-aged housewife who is in the process of regaining her figure through Weight Watchers. Despite the esoteric mystery at the center of the novel, its cast felt supremely relatable, and the beautiful natural setting of the island added a picturesque element to the writing.

4 Rabbits Rating On Novels And Nonfiction

Truly Madly Guilty Book Review On Novels And Nonfiction

Truly Madly Guilty

Published: July 26th 2016


In Truly Madly Guilty, happy couple and parents of two Clementine and Sam join their longtime friends Erika and Oliver at a barbecue at their neighbors’ Tiffany and Vid’s house. Something happens at this barbecue that has significant repercussions in the lives of all three couples, and that will only be revealed at the end of the novel.

In the same way as in Big Little Lies, the reader finds out at the beginning of the novel at an incident has occurred at the barbecue, but the novel itself covers the weeks that led up to the barbecue, building suspense as you get closer to the actual moment of the mysterious incident. I think I didn’t like Truly Madly Guilty as much as Big Little Lies, despite their similar structure, because the characters just didn’t feel as vibrant or interesting. The plot twists were also not as plentiful, and there was something not very likable about the primary character, Clementine. All of Moriarty’s characters are flawed, but I think I respond better to the ones that are less whiny about their shortcomings than others. If you’re looking to read your first Moriarty book I’d skip this one and leave it for later.

3 Rabbits Rating On Novels And Nonfiction

The Husband's Secret Book Review On Novels And Nonfiction

The Husband’s Secret

Published: July 30th 3013


The premise of The Husband’s Secret has all the makings of a captivating Moriarty book. Middle-aged mother of three Cecilia finds a letter written by her husband that is labeled as to be opened only in the case of his death. He’s away on a business trip, and when she calls to ask him about the letter, he tells her it’s no big deal but please to not open it. Of course, this answer significantly piques her interest. The mystery that is central to the novel revolves around this letter, and also involves other characters in the novel, who, in true Moriarty style, seem initially not connected to Cecilia and her family.

I think one of the things that ruined this novel for me was the narrator (Caroline Lee), which, as I’ve mentioned above, was a different one than the one chosen for Three Wishes and The Last Anniversary. She really over-exaggerated the narration and sounded very whiny, especially when delivering Cecilia’s inner dialogue. It didn’t help that Cecilia’s character was supremely whiny already in essence. Cecilia asks herself question after unanswerable question in internal monologue after internal monologue about what she should do with regards to the mysterious letter. She is also extremely critical of herself and others inside her own mind. No one is immune from self-critical thoughts or even being over-judgmental of others in the safety of our own heads, but the extent to which Cecilia’s character ruminated over her and other’s failings didn’t seem believable. Also, it was just supremely annoying to listen to. The mystery and plot twists were nearly surprising enough to make up for it.

2 Rabbits Rating On Novels And Nonfiction

Liane Moriarty Author Picture On Novels And NonfictionAbout The Author (see her website)

Liane Moriarty is an Australian author who has sold more than six million copies of her novels worldwide. She has written seven novels including Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty. She was the first Australian author to have a novel debut at #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list with Big Little Lies. The novel is also being turned into a TV series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley, and set to premiere on HBO on February 19th, 2017.

Other Books By Liane Moriarty

The Hypnotist's Love Story Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionThe Hypnotist’s Love Story


Plot Teaser (from Goodreads)

Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk. Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her. Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has.

What Alice Forgot Book Cover On Novels And Nonfiction

What Alice Forgot


Plot Teaser (from Goodreads)

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

Have you read any of Liane Moriarty’s novels? What did you think and do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments.

You can also check out my previous posts Author Spotlights for Eowyn Ivey, Terry Pratchett, Jane Austen and Henry James.

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  22 comments for “My Favorite Novels By Liane Moriarty – Author Spotlight

  1. January 12, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Ah this was such a delight to read. It’s making me want to go back and re-read at least one of them! I’ve read all of them now and I’m just waiting for her to release something new. Big Little Lies is definitely my favourite – was the first I read so it will always stand out. I agree with you about The Husband’s Secret but we’re definitely in the minority. I also loved Three Wishes! Between the last two you have to read, I think I preferred What Alice Forgot.
    Can’t wait to see what they’ve done with the story for HBO!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 12, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks! Well that seals it then, I’ll read What Alice Forgot first before The Hypnotist’s Love Story (which anyways is still on hold at the library 🙂 lol).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Annie
    January 12, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Big Little Lies is one of my favorite books ever, it was amazing. I read Truly madly guilty and I liked it quite a lot, but I agree that Husband’s secret is the weakest. However, I enjoyed What Alice Forgot very much, it was more chicklit I guess, but I liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. January 12, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    I hate to say it, but I haven’t read any of them yet. I finally got my hands on one a couple of months ago at a thrift shop, but now I can’t remember which one it was. Unfortunately I think it’s The Husband’s Secret. Oh well, I’m sure they must have a couple of them at the library. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 12, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      Plenty of people loved The Husband’s Secret Naomi so if it’s that one hopefully you will too! Reading it may also be a different experience to listening to it, due to the heavy inner monologue.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. January 15, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I also discovered Moriarty after I started blogging and I particularly love Big, Little Lies. So far, I’ve read that one, plus The Husband’s Secret and Truly, Madly, Guilty. I actually really enjoyed The Husband’s Secret, but I found Truly, Madly, Guilty a bit of a let down after Big Little Lies! I’d also like to get to more of her backlist and based on your review, I think Three Wishes is probably the one I should pick up next 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 17, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      It’s so weird how some people love The Husband’s Secret and others hate it, but I’m glad you liked it! 🙂 I wholeheartedly recommend Three Wishes!


  5. January 17, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I haven’t read any of Moriarty’s works yet. I’ve seen her books around, but the reviews have never really intrigued me, That said, I think I’m evolving in my literary interests. I am definitely intrigued by Big Little Lies after reading your impressions. Perhaps I’ll start there?

    Do you plan on modifying this post as you review the next two books? If so, can you link back to this post in your reviews? I’m interested to see how your rankings change over time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 17, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      I think I’ll do individual review posts for the other two books of hers, and link back to the Author Spotlight with the other reviews (maybe I’ll update the Author Spotlight as well, but I’ll definitely review the books individually so the new reviews will pop up for everyone). I would 100% recommend Big Little Lies, and Three Wishes too in fact.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 17, 2017 at 9:18 pm

        After checking out the library holds list, it looks like Three Wishes is more easily accessible. That new TV show is making Big Little Lies fly off the shelves!


      • January 17, 2017 at 10:28 pm

        Yes, Big Little Lies is definitely majorly in demand. I’d request both but start with Three Wishes, and you’ll get access to Big Little Lies eventually 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • January 20, 2017 at 12:22 am

        I’m number 99 on Three Wishes and number 257 on Big Little Lies. Oy. It might be a few weeks.


  6. January 20, 2017 at 4:54 am

    I didn’t love The Husband’s Secret either. What Alice Forgot is one of my all-time favorite novels (and by far my favorite by Moriarty), so I’ll be interested to hear what you think!


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