Every Liane Moriarty novel, ranked by its secrets

A few years back, we published a beginner’s guide to Liane Moriarty’s work from one of our booksellers. Since then, Moriarty has grown into a household name with the release of an award-winning television adaptation of one of her novels, and she’s released two more books – including the just-arrived, hot-off-the-press Nine Perfect Strangers. With this in mind, we felt it was time to revisit her oeuvre.

Moriarty’s novels are smart, addictive page-turners that bristle with humour, intrigue and plenty of heart. She plays with the mystery structure in creating her narratives, tucking lots of twists and surprises to uncover along the way. Here online bookseller Bronte Coates ranks all eight of Moriarty’s novels by how exciting and satisfying these secret reveals are.


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8. The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

As a professional hypnotherapist, Ellen O'Farrell is fascinated by what makes people tick. So when she falls in love with Patrick, the fact that he has a stalker doesn’t faze her in the slightest. If anything, it intrigues her, and in fact, the more she hears about Saskia, the more she wants to meet this woman. Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has…

Secret rating: In many ways, this novel is the least mystery-orientated of Moriarty’s works; rather, the tension comes from the fact that the reader is the only one who’s getting the full picture. An immersive tale about complicated relationships, Moriarty takes a compassionate look at people behaving badly, never excusing their actions but allowing for understanding and empathy.


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7. The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

Ever since Sophie Honeywell turned down Thomas Gordon’s marriage proposal, she’s wondered if she made a mistake. But she’s as shocked as anyone when his Aunt Connie dies and leaves Sophie her beautiful house on Scribbly Gum Island – home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery. Sophie’s arrival disrupts the balance of Thomas’s unconventional family, knocking loose long-hidden secrets.

Secret rating: This is undeniably Moriarty’s quirkiest novel and a very fun read – you’ll wish that you could visit Scribbly Gum Island in real life! While there’s a famed mystery at the story’s centre, Moriarty is far more interested in unpacking the emotional turmoil of the family involved, than with unravelling said mystery.


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6. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Alice Love is 29, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine her surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she learns that: 1. she’s getting divorced; 2. she has three kids; and 3. she’s actually 39 years old. Forced to reconstruct the events of a lost decade, Alice also has to learn how to reconstruct her life at the same time.

Secret rating: Here is another novel with more heart than intrigue. What Alice Forgot may be light on suspense but it packs some big emotional punches and I’d count it among Moriarty’s most moving works.


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5. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

Lyn has organised her life into one big checklist, Cat has just learned a startling secret about her marriage, and Gemma, who bolts every time a relationship hits the six-month mark, holds out hope for lasting love. This novel follows these three sisters through their tumultuous thirty-third year, culminating in a raucous, champagne-soaked birthday dinner and emergency rush to the hospital..

Secret rating: All three sisters have secrets in this warm, funny family drama, all of them dished out slowly and satisfyingly. Three Wishes is Moriarty’s first novel, and you can see her laying the groundwork for a structure she would continue to play with with her coming books.


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4. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

It was supposed to be an ordinary Sunday afternoon barbeque. Revolving around an unexpected incident at a friendly neighbourhood barbeque, this novel moves back and forth in time, and across the alternating perspectives of three couples, examining how their lives have been altered by what occurred.

Secret rating: The incident that propels this novel is purposefully obscured for the reader as Moriarty circles this event, moving across multiple perspectives and through time. It’s a tantalising way to enjoy a book and ultimately, Truly Madly Guilty is a deeply affecting read.


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3. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine strangers are about to arrive at health and wellness resort Tranquillum House, a place that promises total transformation. They’re keen to absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages, but they haven’t counted on the resort’s director – a woman on a mission. They truly have no idea what is about to hit them.

Secret rating: You’re probably already wondering what exactly is going on at this so-called retreat? And when the answer is revealed, it won’t disappoint. There is a deliciously sinister edge to the humour in Moriarty’s most recent novel, while the more exaggerated elements of the plot are grounded by the emotional depth she instils in her characters.


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2. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Pirriwee Public is a beautiful little beachside primary school where children are taught that ‘sharing is caring’. So how has the annual school Trivia Night ended in full-blown riot? Sirens are wailing. People are screaming. The principal is mortified. Oh, and one parent is dead. Was it a murder, a tragic accident or something else entirely?

Secret rating: Thanks to the TV adaptation, Big Little Lies is Moriarty’s most famous novel and it’s definitely among her best. The set-up is pure genius and Moriarty’s darkly comic approach to school politics is immensely enjoyable. Her remarkable talent for dialogue and characterisation both really shine in this story.


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1. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Cecilia Fitzpatrick, devoted mother, successful Tupperware business owner and efficient P&C President, has found a letter from her husband: ‘For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, to be opened only in the event of my death.’ But Cecilia’s husband isn’t dead, he’s on a business trip, and when she questions him about the letter over the phone, she realises he is lying to her. What happens next will upend her formerly perfect suburban existence.

Secret rating: Arguably Moriarty’s break-out novel, The Husband’s Secret remains her juiciest to this day. She gets the balance between thrilling suspense and emotional weight just right with this one. After all, what would you do if you were Cecilia?

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Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers

Liane Moriarty

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