This is one of those times when I find myself swimming upstream. Upon finishing The Husband’s Secret, I browsed through the Amazon reviews to see where mine would fall in line with others. Not. Even. Close.
First, I found the book to be extremely hard to get into. Each of the first few chapters was from a new and different person’s POV. Had it been one or two people introduced in each of the first three chapters, it wouldn’t have been so much to sort and keep straight, but there were multiple characters in each and the switches were abrupt. A chapter heading such as ‘Rachel’ or ‘Tess’ would have indicated that the author had moved on to another setting since the changes came before the reader had a chance to know any of the characters.
Next, the beginning of the book was slow to start. Even when I hit a tension-filled scene between Tess, her husband, and her cousin, the author broke the flow of conflict with unnecessary narrative about the color of eyes. In the scene, she learned that her husband and cousin are ‘in love’. It should have been a tension-charged scene and not a time to consider eye-color. But, most of the first third of the book seemed to jump around from topic to topic. I wasn’t fond of the narrative sections and tended to skim read.
I realize that the author is Australian and certain words we use in the US are different elsewhere, such as lawyer, barrister, solicitor, depending where you are. But I found things that I don’t believe are different in Australia. Some can read over them and not seem to notice, but for me, they stick out and interrupt the flow. I have to re-read to make sure I read it right.
Page 47 – “When do you leave?” Rachel SAID to… (Should be asked, as in a question. There were several of these tag mistakes)
Page 52 – “It got me to thinking about my dad and the things he didn’t get to say after he died.” (It reads as if his father hoped to speak AFTER he died, or did the author mean that the person speaking got to thinking… AFTER their father died? Unclear writing, which again made me re-read for comprehension)
There were a number of other attributes that kept me from loving this book. I didn’t hate the story, the last third was a bit better, but its slow start, mediocre characters, and predictability made it very easy to put down. The blurb on the back of the book was intriguing, but it took too long to get into the premise of the book. Love or hate? Right down the middle at 2.5-stars.
Kathy Reinhart is the award-winning author of Lily White Lies among other titles. Learn more about her and her work below.