What’s it all about?:
A RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK AND SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
‘Wow. This one will keep your bedside light on until the small hours – it’s unputdownable.’
Richard & Judy
For fans of Apple Tree Yard and The Silent Wife, The Loving Husband draws readers into a marriage where nothing is as it seems…
Fran Hall and her husband Nathan have moved with their two children to a farmhouse on the edge of the Fens – a chance to get away from London and have a fresh start.
But when Fran wakes one night to find Nathan gone, she makes a devastating discovery. As questions about her husband and her relationships start to mount, Fran’s life begins to spiral out of control.
What is she hiding from the police about her marriage, and does she really know the man she shared her bed with?
What did I think?:
The Loving Husband is Richard and Judy’s penultimate book on their Winter Book Club this year and I’m normally a big fan of their choices so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this psychological thriller that promised oodles of mystery and tension. Unfortunately, I was slightly disappointed by what I ended up getting. This isn’t a bad story, or bad writing by any stretch of the imagination but something about it just didn’t sit right with me. Perhaps it was the characters, perhaps I found the narrative a bit hard to believe at times – I’m not sure.
Our main character is Fran, married to Nathan with two children and recently moved from the bright lights of London into the remote countryside. She was a high flying career women with close friends in London, here in the country she appears to have turned into a stay at home mother with not many prospects for the future and few people she can turn to for support. From the very beginning, the reader suspects that the reasons behind Fran’s change in character and situation lies with her husband. I was certainly instantly unsure of him and intrigued to know exactly what was going on. Many things were very “cloak and dagger,” and it seemed like he was hiding a big secret from both his wife and the reader.
Shockingly, one day Nathan disappears in strange circumstances and Fran makes the horrifying discovery of his body in a ditch. When the police arrive to investigate however, certain things about Fran’s story do not add up and she is instantly placed under suspicion of his murder. We as the reader are pretty sure that she had no hand in the matter but it turns out that she too is keeping secrets from the authorities and may be in quite a dangerous situation herself if she continues to keep quiet.
There were a lot of positive things about this story as I’m thinking over it. The author definitely sparked my interest and curiosity as to what exactly was going on with Nathan and a few things certainly did surprise me. However, a few things I did guess, which was a shame as I love that “final reveal moment” when you’ve had no clue as to what is happening! I think my main problem with the story is that I didn’t really feel much for the characters either way, love or hate. Fran was a bit too timid for my liking (perhaps I’m being harsh but I sometimes wanted her to be so much stronger!) Nathan was too vague and didn’t feel fleshed out enough as a character and the investigating police officer was just horrible. I just couldn’t understand his motives as a character at all, I’m afraid. I must re-iterate though that the author did keep me reading and I was keen to get to the grand finale….it just wasn’t as grand as I hoped it would be. This is just my opinion though, I’m sure a lot of people are going to love it. I’d be interested to know what you think!
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):