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Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

  • reading group guide
Suburbia is a jungle, filled with lots of vicious creatures.
Take the Paradise Heights Women’s League board. Lyssa Harper should have warned golden-haired DILF du jour Harry Wilder what he was getting into when she invited him to meet the mommies who run their suburban, gated community. At least he brought cupcakes. Since meeting the former Master-of-the-Universe turned stay-at-home single dad, Lyssa has been his domestic Sherpa, teaching him the ins and outs of suburban life. She just didn’t realize her friends would show up at his house unannounced with casseroles, leopard-print bikini briefs, and plans to rearrange his kitchen cabinets.

The truth is, if Harry and his wife, the neighborhood’s "perfect couple," can call it quits, what does that mean for everyone else? Lyssa’s husband, Ted, is a great father, but he pays her Pilates-pumped momtourage more attention than he does his own wife. Her friends gossip about the neighbors while ignoring their own problems: infertility, infidelity, and eating disorders.

When Harry sets boundaries with his new fan club, he is exiled from the neighborhood’s in-clique. But Lyssa refuses to snub him. What she never expects is the explosive impact her ongoing friendship with Harry will have on her close-knit pals—and on her marriage.
Choose a format:
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439173176 | 
  • June 2010
List Price $26.50



Josie Brown talks about her new novel. Suburbia is a jungle, filled with lots of vicious creatures.

Read an Excerpt


“Getting divorced just because you don’t love a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do.”

—Zsa Zsa Gabor

Thursday, 7:32 p.m.

You know how I hate to gossip, but . . .”

That is how Brooke Bartholomew always begins before she launches into a piece of hearsay. She knows and I know (for that matter, everyone knows) that she is the most notorious gossipmonger in our gated community of Paradise Heights.

So, yes, this will be juicy.

“Don’t be such a tease,” I answer. “Just spill it.”
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Lyssa Harper has it all: a comfortable home in the exclusive neighborhood of Paradise Heights, a handsome and successful husband, and beautiful kids. But bubbling beneath the exterior of her enviable life, and the lives of her close friends, is a web of gossip, cheating, lies, and scandal. When the neighborhood’s most attractive power couple breaks up, Lyssa finds herself drawn to the newly single Harry Wilder. As the bond between Harry and Lyssa grows, rumors begin to spread, and the long repressed tensions in the quiet enclave of Paradise Heights boil to the surface. Friends become enemies, charity events and middle-school basketball games become battlefields, and the secret lives of husbands and wives are finally exposed.

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. The town of Paradise Heights is portrayed as an upscale enclave for mostly upper-income families. What did you think of the author’s portrayal of the people in this town? Do you admire or condemn them? Envy them for all o see more

About the Author

Josie Brown

Josie Brown

Josie Brown’s celebrity interviews and relationship articles have been featured in Redbook and Complete Woman magazines, as well as AOL, Yahoo,,, and She lives in Marin County, California with her husband and two children.


Author Revealed

Q. how did you come to write Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives?

A. I wanted to write a "fish out of water" book. One plot that struck my fancy was that of a Master of the Universe who decides to change direction and become a stay-at-home dad. For most overachievers, the usual reason for doing so is widowhood -- very dramatic! -- or, as of lately, a layoff at work . . . But I thought a more interesting catalyst could be spousal desertion. And certainly ego: Harry, the jilted husband is out to prove that a father can also be a great "mother" to his children. This was always planned to be a woman's story. In fact, it is told in first person, from the perspective of a neighbor, Lyssa, who is watching the implosion of this planned community's "perfect couple." To her dismay, their breakup is providing titillating fodder for her social set. Her goal is to make sure that this new stay-at-home dad doesn't get lost in the Siberbia. Through the process, Lyssa comes to realize that there are many parallels between her marriage and his.

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