Monday, July 3, 2017

Review: It's Always the Husband

Summary: Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, despite being as different as three women can be. Kate was beautiful, wild, wealthy, and damaged. Aubrey, on financial aid, came from a broken home, and wanted more than anything to distance herself from her past. And Jenny was a striver—brilliant, ambitious, and determined to succeed. As an unlikely friendship formed, the three of them swore they would always be there for each other.

But twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge, and someone is urging her to jump.

How did it come to this?

Kate married the gorgeous party boy, Aubrey married up, and Jenny married the boy next door. But how can these three women love and hate each other? Can feelings this strong lead to murder? When one of them dies under mysterious circumstances, will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

A suspenseful, absorbing novel that examines the complexities of friendship, It’s Always the Husband will keep readers guessing right up to its shocking conclusion. -- St. Martin's Press

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having lunch with author B.A. Paris and a few fellow bloggers. It had the best time, and of course, when you put together a bunch of bloggers, they will inevitably talk about books they've read recently. One book that had a few of the bloggers raving was IT'S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND by Michele Campbell. I'm always on the lookout for books for Mystery Mondays, and I knew I had to get my hands on a copy.

IT'S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND tells the story of three women who meet in college and quickly become best friends. Kate, Aubrey and Jenny are completely different; however, when they are assigned as roommates at an Ivy League type school, they not only watch out for each other but become inseparable. Kate was the wealthy gorgeous risk-taker, while Jenny was the hometown girl who was driven to succeed; and Aubrey was the outsider from a troubled home life who came to the school on scholarship.

The novel actually begins twenty years after these girls met when one of the them is standing on a bridge being urged to jump from an unknown individual. IT'S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND delves into what happened during those college years (both the good and the bad!) to what is happening now between these three women... and why one of them is being urged to kill herself. All three women have moved on from their college years despite sharing a horrific and fatal secret, but there are many hard feelings generated along the way. When one of these women is found dead, are one of both of the other two women responsible or is it always the husband?

IT'S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND was a very fun read for me... and very quick too. I read it in a little over the day, and I found myself caught up in the lives of these three women. Interestingly enough, I didn't really like any of the main female characters in the novel (they were all so selfish!), so I wasn't sure I'd appreciate it. However, I ended up liking the twists and turns of the plot as well as the strange surprise at the end.

One thing that stood out to me about IT'S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND were the characters, and by that, I mean their actions. I felt as if the girls at beginning of the novel, when they were arriving at the university and getting to know each other, was a terrific portrayal of teen girls and the difficulties with becoming roommates and friends. However, as their friendship developed and their individual personalities (and selfishness) began to really stand out, I thought the author did a very good job in showing the complexities of friendship... especially between teen girls.

However, once a pretty significant event occurs in the novel (one that I can't share because it's a major spoiler), their true colors really began to shine. And as a result, their friendship took on an even more complicated dimension. Through the years, they remained friends, some times more than others, but their connection was never the same after this tragedy. As much as I was dismayed by their behavior, I did think the author nailed female friendships (albeit not in the most positive of ways.)

The end of the novel took a bit of a twist when one of these women ends up dead. It's not clear to the police whether it was a suicide or murder, but they knew something was suspicious. And guess what? It's always the husband in cases like this, right? Once again, I don't want to give away any major spoilers, but as a reader, I definitely went back and forth and back again on who was responsible for her death. I loved that I wasn't sure how this novel would end, and I can definitely say that I was surprised with the conclusion.

I've mentioned before that I didn't really like or relate to any of these women; and if I had one slight issue with this novel, it would be that I wanted a bit more when it came to character development. While I felt as if the friendship angle was explored well in this story, I do think these three women could have been a little more complex. And by that I mean, readers could have been given more insight into multiple aspects of their characters to make them more likable... and more real.

Having said that, IT'S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND was a very entertaining read that also delved into some complex issues like friendship and marriage. I highly recommend it to fans of women's fiction and mysteries.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I remember everyone talking about that book and, from your review, I can see why! It sounds terrific!

Stacie said...

This one is coming up soon in my list. Sounds like I better block off the day to read it all at once!

Mystica said...

This sounds very intriguing.