Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty (2004)

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Last night I picked up Three Wishes, the debut novel by Australian author and queen of the juicy melodrama Liane Moriarty, and was instantly addicted. Now, since I have read all of her other novels I should have known better than to start one of her books at 9pm, but I could not help myself. Like in many of her novels, her book begins with the climatic ending (or almost-ending) and then works backward, in starts and fits using all three primary narrators interchangeably, to fill in the events leading up to the opening chapter. In a matter of a few pages, I was drawn into the deliciously scandalous story and could not stop until my husband finally begged me to turn out the lights at 1am. I woke up and immediately finished!

Three Wishes tells the story of the three Kettle triplets — Lyn, Cat, and Gemma — and is filled with all of the witty, sexy, naughty, and shocking plot twists that Moriarty is famous for and employs almost all of the themes that frequently appear in her novels, including adultery, infertility, divorce, domestic violence, familial tension, and — of course — desperately romantic love. Each sister takes us through her life, past and present, and gives us a glimpses at the messy, complicated moments that have filled the thirty-four years the sisters have been alive.

At the center of the story is the exploration of the tremendous, and at times terrifying, power that the people we love have over our lives. In an instant, one shocking revelation of a secret kept and the ground can shift beneath our feet. The lives we believe we have been living are stripped of meaning and the people around us can seem like strangers. Decades of events can, if not evaporate, but become instantly drained of happiness. Each sister must grapple with betrayals great and small and try to adjust to their “different realities.” With each secret reveled, they must reflect backward on the events they thought defined them, “What would happen to their stories now? Would it be like they never happened? Would they have to rewrite all of their histories?”

The very same people who have the power to disrupt our lives also have the power to restore us through love, compassion, and humor. While the story tells of a family tested by the traumatic events, it also tells of their amazing capacity to support, love and forgive one another as well. The result is a novel that is deliciously scandalous,  heartbreaking, funny, and deeply moving all at once.

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