The Secret to a Good Book is in the Title: 6 Titular Teases

The release of Australian author Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret (Putnam) got us thinking: What’s so thrilling about a dark, delectable, juicy secret? Moriarty’s interest in the psychology of secrets is actually what inspired the idea behind her newest novel. Citing neuroscientist David Eagleman, Moriarty noted that secrets create a “neural conflict”; the brain is torn between wanting to do the right thing and needing to spill the beans to ease the mental and emotional burden. Read on for a look at The Husband’s Secret and five other surreptiously delicious mysteries — as teased on the front covers of the books.

Secrets, Secrets Are... Actually Tons of Fun

The release of Australian author Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret (Putnam) got us thinking: What’s so thrilling about a dark, delectable, juicy secret? Moriarty’s interest in the psychology of secrets is actually what inspired the idea behind her newest novel. Citing neuroscientist David Eagleman, Moriarty noted that secrets create a “neural conflict”; the brain is torn between wanting to do the right thing and needing to spill the beans to ease the mental and emotional burden. Read on for a look at The Husband’s Secret and five other surreptiously delicious mysteries — as teased on the front covers of the books.

'The Husband's Secret' by Liane Moriarty

Cecilia Fitzpatrick is a successful Tupperware saleswoman and a blissful mother of three perfect daughters. Tess O’Leary is attempting to piece her life back together after her husband reveals that he is in love with her cousin/best friend. Rachel Crowley, still reeling from the murder of her teenage daughter 28 years earlier, now has to contend with her son’s announcement that he, his wife, and Rachel’s only grandson are relocating across the world, to New York. And when Cecilia stumbles upon a letter from her husband to be opened “only in the event of [his] death,” the lives of these three women come together in an shocking, unexpected way. The result is a twisted, suspenseful tale of deceit, heartbreak, and the always painful question: “what if?”

What’s the secret?: The revelation of the titular secret drives the plot of the entire novel, so there’s no way we're spoiling the revelation contained in John-Paul Fitzpatrick’s letter. But rest assured, you’ll be hooked well before the secret is revealed — more than 150 pages in — and well afterwards.

'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt

Richard Papen, narrator of the novel and new student at a small, elite liberal arts college in Vermont, manages to become part of an insular group of classics students who have rallied around the eccentric teachings of their erudite professor. But when the group conducts a Bacchae-inspired Dionysian rite, something (unsurprisingly) goes awry, and each young man is forced to grapple with the aftershocks of this event for the remainder of their lives.

What’s the secret?: Technically, the big secret — the murder of Edmund "Bunny" Corcoran — is spilled at the outset of the novel. But it’s the evolution of the events that led to that murder that drive the mystery of the story. The Secret History is not a whodunit, but a whydunit.

'The Secret' by Rhonda Byrne

Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling advice book is based on the 2006 film of the same name. Espousing the power of positive thinking, The Secret insists that the universe is governed by a “law of attraction,” and that everything you want is within your reach. After being featured on Oprah for two weeks, it lasted 146 weeks on the New York Times’ bestseller list. And with a tantalizing title like The Secret — not to mention the book’s ego-stroking message — who’s surprised?

What’s the secret?: The secret is that there is no secret. The secret to a fulfilling life can actually be found inside of you. Surprise! The title toes the line of irony and dips into smugness: One of life’s greatest mysteries is really no mystery at all!

'The Secret Life of Bees' by Sue Monk Kidd

During the height of the civil rights era, 14-year-old Lily Owens, escapes from her abusive father with her stand-in mother, Rosaleen, after the latter insults three of the the town's most vicious racists. Haunted by the hazy memory of the day her mother was killed, Lily heads to a place from her mother’s past, and she and Rosaleen encounter three unconventional, fascinating black beekeeping sisters.

What’s the secret?: The metaphor of the title connects the frenzy of life inside of a beehive to the similarly intricate thoughts and feelings inside of a human heart. The “secret” life of bees also mirrors the secret life Lily is living, among a spiritual sisterhood, complete with the Virgin Mary (or “Black Madonna”) as the symbolic queen bee.

'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' by Lisa See

We often say that someone is our “kindred sister,” but the term was actually used much more literally in 19th century China. Such is the backdrop of Lisa See’s intimate Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which chronicles the relationship between the protagonist, Lily, and Snow Flower, her kindred sister — or “laotong.” As children, the two reflect on the pain of foot-binding; as young women, on the fear that underlies arranged marriages; and later, on the trials and triumphs of motherhood.

What’s the secret?: To preserve the sanctity of the laotong bond, a pair of laotong often created a unique language — called “nu shu” — that only the women of China could understand. Snow Flower first introduces herself to Lily by sending her a silk fan on which she composes a poem in nu shu.

'Secret Daughter' by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

The birth of daughters is frowned upon in Kavita’s remote Indian village, and the only way for Kavita to save her newborn’s daughter’s life is to send her away. The girl, Asha, is adopted by a California couple blessed with everything but the ability to conceive a child of their own. Gowda’s heartfelt novel weaves together the lives of Asha’s birth parents and her adopted parents, as Asha herself attempts to piece together the details of her past.

What’s the secret?: For Kavita, the secret is her birth-daughter’s existence; for Asha, the secret is the identities of her birth-parents.