Personally, I feel that this year has been a great year for the thriller genre and I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a number of great releases. So, after hearing many positive comments about Christobel Kent’s latest release, The Loving Husband, I was eager to see if it was as good as the positive hype surrounding it. I wasn’t disappointed! Sometimes, I feel as though it is better to approach an author blindly, that is without prior knowledge of their writing technique, for that way you never expect anything more than a well written book and great story line, and as I have never read any of Kent’s other books I feel I was less distracted by her narrative. I say this because, at times, The Loving Husband becomes a bit complex in terms of its structure and its ability to jump back and forth with its time frames. As a result, I did find myself having to go back over a couple of the chapters just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Now, whether this is simply Kent’s unique writing style, I don’t know, but that was my only slight personal criticism. That doesn’t however overshadow the fact that this is a good meaty story with a twist that catches you out right at the end, and I still rated it five stars.
The book jumps straight into the action when in the early hours of the morning, hearing a noise, Fran bravely wonders outside into the darkness to search for her husband Nathan, who is not beside her in bed as she previously thought. Fran and Nathan have moved to a farm in the middle of nowhere, and are quite isolated, so instantly you know something sinister is afoot. Fran is eventually greeted with the grisly sight of her husband flat down in the mud and dead. As expected, when the police become involved as a murder case begins, the premise seems simple; the wife is the only suspect. However, Fran is convinced that someone else was there on the farm at the time, but the police do not appear to be looking for anyone else and she is left to try and convince them of her innocence before it’s too late.
It doesn’t help that Fran is quite a complex character, very brusque with all of those around her, and there is a niggling doubt as to why she doesn’t display an ounce of emotion over Nathan’s tragic demise, especially considering her version of a happily married young couple who moved to the countryside to give their young family a better lifestyle. However, as Fran struggles to comprehend the circumstances surrounding Nathan’s death and the enormity of the situation she finds herself left with, it soon becomes clear that her marriage to Nathan was not what she believed it to be and with each revelation we are made to realise that he was in fact anything but the perfect husband. But with no evidence to suggest foul play, it seems there could only be one prime suspect. Yet, is that suspect capable of killing a man in cold blood?
The story raises some uncomfortable questions, the main being how can a person live with someone day in and day out and yet have no idea of who they really are, but the more Fran uncovers, the more you realise that unfortunately this kind of situation is scarily possible in real life…
The book jumps from past to present in every other chapter and at times it can be quite a challenge to keep up with its fast pace, but the story line is so enticing and edgy that you are hooked and need to find out what comes next. Fran is actually very well written because there were times when I wanted to shake her, tell her to pull herself together and wake up and smell the coffee, but then there were times when I genuinely felt for her and her predicament. I did not however predict the ending at all, and it was well worth working through the sometimes challenging chapters just to find out what really happened to Nathan.
Fast paced and edgy, The Loving Husband is a brilliantly mastered domestic thriller which leaves you wanting more at every chapter. And that is the unique part of this book; Kent builds each and every chapter so intently that just when you think she is about to reveal at least a snippet, she stops the chapter dead and begins afresh with the next one. I have to admit that this did make me shake my kindle at various points in frustration, but it was a good frustration!
The Loving Husband is a film in the making and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had no idea where Kent was taking me and I had no inkling of the reveal. This was a pleasure to review.
I received this book for review through the wonderful people at Netgalley.