Monday, August 7, 2017

It's Always the Husband ~ Michelle Campbell (earc) review [@StMartinsPres]

It's Always the Husband
St Martin's Press
May 16, 2017
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

I no doubt deserved my enemies but I don't believe I deserved my friends. -Walt Whitman --epigraph to It's Always the Husband.

I don't know if I actually liked anyone in It's Always the Husband. Some of these characters were frustrating, irritating and, really, pretty bad people. So, maybe they all deserved each other?

The first half (well, 48-49% according to the ebook) took me forever to read.  I had trouble understanding why Kate, Aubrey and Jenny were friends as college roommates but even more so as adults. They reminded me a lot of the girls in Lauren Saft's Those Girls except that they were older (first by just a year or two, then by decades). When a character's almost forty and calling her supposed friends of twenty years, "these losers" (pg 97) it not only feels weird that they still voluntarily spend time together, but also juvenile.

As much as we can see how screwed up the girls are, as they start at Carlisle College, it's also hard to understand why they accept what they do, are grateful for some of the things they are or treat themselves and each other how they do. (Especially when it come to Jenny, with Kate and Aubrey it can be disconcerting but easier to understand.)

That said, the second half of the book, Part Two, is where they mystery really comes in and where the story really got compelling and much easier to read and be pulled into. I can also, objectively, see that all of Part One, all that we saw of the girls and their relationships, was crucial to Part Two.

You had to have seen all of the love, all of the hate and to understand why these people all seemed to be part of each other's lives - whether or not they wanted to be or liked it. I still didn't like the characters but they mystery was great. Thanks to the earlier part of the book, you knew all of the different possible suspects and all of their possible motives. Even as things come together we discovered eve more of just why these characters were so, so bad for each other.

The characters and some of their relationships weren't for me but I can't deny how well it all played into making a great mystery. I look forward to what this author publishes next.









review copy received, via NetGalley, from publisher

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