The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - on and off 4 days
Pages - 416
Publisher - Sphere
Blurb from Goodreads
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?
We open with a relatively uncomfortable chapter, a sexual encounter in a bit of a haze and the reader is alerted immediately that something isn't right. Her husband is not in bed, Fran goes to find him and makes a horrifying discovery. The police start digging into Nathan and Fran's life and Fran soon discovers secrets and lies leading her to question what did she actually know about her life.
The story jumps around a fair bit, both in timeline and from character to character. The chapters are not signposted so it isn't until you are a few sentences down the page you know if it is Fran or the police, then a quarter in the chapters are headed with what day of the week it is. The wife, Fran, is a mousy type character and appears to be on edge all the time alluding to some kind of abuse or being in a horrible situation. The information is teased out, both about what has happened and Fran and Nathan's relationship in general. There is a lot of scandal, secrets, lies, infidelity, sex, murder and relationships to name just some of the themes covered in this story.
For me, if I remember correctly, it read a bit like Girl On The Train in that is jumps around so much. The character isn't so much the unreliable narrator, more the way the story is constructed and told. I think some people will love this because it keeps you guessing as to what has happened and what is coming. I personally don't like that as I had to try and keep track of what happened, what is going on, who is the chapter centered on at that moment. I think some readers will love this format and the building suspense however for me it just didn't work and frustrated more than intrigued me. This was my first time reading this author, I would read her work again I just personally don't like this type of format, sure others will love it, 2/5 for me this time.
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