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Three Wishes

A Novel

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
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A New York Times bestseller, Three Wishes is the funny, heartwarming and completely charming first novel from Liane Moriarty, also the author of #1 New York Times bestsellers The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies, and Truly Madly Guilty.

Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets, seem to attract attention everywhere they go. Together, laughter, drama, and mayhem seem to follow them. But apart, each is dealing with her own share of ups and downs. Lyn has organized 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. In this wise, witty, and hilarious novel, we follow the Kettle sisters through their tumultuous thirty-third year as they deal with sibling rivalry and secrets, revelations and relationships, unfaithful husbands and unthinkable decisions, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a trio.

HarperCollins; October 2009
384 pages; ISBN 9780061856914
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Title: Three Wishes
Author: Liane Moriarty

Chapter One

You could argue that it started thirty-four years ago when

twenty-year-old Frank Kettle, a tall, fair, hyperactive ex-altar boy,

fell madly in lust with Maxine Leonard, a long-legged languid redhead

just a few days short of her nineteenth birthday.

He was pumping with fresh testosterone. She knew better but

did it anyway. In the backseat of Frank's dad's Holden. Twice. The

first time involved a lot of head-bumping and grunting and

breathless shifts of position, while Johnny O'Keefe bellowed at

them from the car radio. The second time was slower and gentler

and rather nice. Elvis soothingly suggested they love him tender.

In each case, however, the terrible result was the same. One of

Frank's exuberant little sperm cells slammed head-on with one of

Maxine's rather less thrilled eggs, interrupting what should have

been an uneventful journey to nonexistence.

Over the following days, while Maxine was chastely dating

more suitable boys and Frank was pursuing a curvy brunette, two

freshly fertilized eggs were busily bumping their way along Maxine's

fallopian tubes toward the haven of her horrified young


At the exact moment Maxine allowed the very suitable Charlie

Edwards to hold back her long red hair while she puffed out her cheeks and blew out nineteen candles, one egg fizzed with so

much friction it split right in two. The other single egg burrowed

its way comfortably in between the two new identical eggs.

Guests at Maxine's birthday party thought they'd never seen

her look so beautiful -- slender, glowing, almost incandescent!

Who could have guessed she'd been impregnated with some

Catholic boy's triplets?

Frank and Maxine were married, of course. In their wedding

photos, they both have the blank-eyed, sedated look of recent

trauma victims.

Seven months later, their triplet daughters came kicking and

howling into the world. Maxine, who had never even held a baby

before, was presented with three; it was the most despair-filled

moment of her young life.

Well, that would be Gemma's preference for how it started.

Cat would argue that if she was going to begin with their conception,

then why not go back through their entire family tree? Why

not go back to the apes? Why not start with the Big Bang? I guess

I did really, Gemma would chortle, Mum and Dad's big bang. Oh

funn-y, Cat would say. Let's look at it logically, Lyn would interrupt.

Quite clearly, it started the night of the spaghetti.

And Lyn, quite naturally, would be right.

It was a Wednesday night six weeks before Christmas. A nothing

sort of night. An unassuming midweek night that should have

vanished from their memories by Friday. "What did we do

Wednesday?" "I don't know. Watch TV?"

That's what they were doing. They were eating spaghetti and

drinking red wine in front of the television. Cat was sitting crosslegged

on the floor, with her back up against the sofa, her plate

on her lap. Her husband, Dan, was sitting on the edge of the sofa,

hunched over his dinner on the coffee table. It was the way they

always ate dinner.

Dan had cooked the spaghetti, so it was hearty and bland. Cat was the more accomplished cook. Dan's approach to cooking was

somehow too functional. He stirred his ingredients like concrete

mix, one arm wrapped around the bowl, the other stirring the

gluggy mix so vigorously you could see his biceps working. "So

what? Gets the job done."

That Wednesday night Cat was feeling no specific emotion;

not especially happy, not especially sad. It was strange afterward,

remembering how she sat there, shoveling Dan's pasta into her

mouth, so foolishly trusting of her life. She wanted to yell back at

herself through time, Concentrate!

They were watching a show called Med School. It was a soap

about a group of very beautiful young medical students with

shiny white teeth and complex love lives. Each episode featured a

lot of blood and sex and anguish.

Cat and Dan shared a mild addiction to Med School. Whenever

the plot took a new twist, they responded with loud enthusiasm,

yelling at the television like children watching a pantomime:

"Bastard!" "Dump him!" "It's the wrong medication!"

This week Ellie (blond, cutesy, cropped T-shirt) was in a state.

She didn't know whether to tell her boyfriend, Pete (dark, brooding,

abnormal abs), about her drunken infidelity with a guest-starring


"Tell him, Ellie!" said Cat to the television. "Pete will forgive

you. He'll understand!"

The ad break came on, and a manic man in a yellow jacket

bounced around a department store pointing an incredulous finger

at the Christmas specials.

"I booked that health and beauty thing today," said Cat, using

Dan's knee as a lever to help her reach over him for the pepper.

"The woman had one of those gooey, spiritual voices. I felt like I

was getting a massage just making a booking."

For Christmas, she was giving her sisters (and herself) a weekend

away at a health retreat in the Blue Mountains. The three of

them would share an "exquisite experience" of "indulgent pampering." They would be wrapped in seaweed, dunked in mud, and

slathered in vitamin-enriched creams. It would be extremely


She was pleased with herself for thinking of it. "What a clever

idea!" everyone would say on Christmas Day. Lyn definitely needed

the stress relief. Gemma didn't need it but she'd be right into pretending

that she did. Cat herself wasn't especially stressed either,

but perhaps she was, because she wasn't pregnant and she'd been

off the Pill now for nearly a year. "Don't get stressed about it,"

everybody said wisely, as if they were the first to pass on that hot

little tip. Apparently, the moment your ovaries noticed you were

worried about becoming pregnant, they refused to cooperate. Oh

well, if you're going to get all huffy about it, we'll just close down ...

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