Sunday Book Club: The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent

I had this book for a while now but the last couple of weeks have been rather hectic. Honestly, I think we should always make time for some reading, no matter how busy we are, but “busy” is just such an easy word to use to explain away all our inadequacies or inability to obtain certain goals, or just not to spend some time or effort to do something.

I love reading but sometimes it’s hard to get a quiet moment to sit down and just focus on the book; my mind has been everywhere the past few weeks because of a school deadline, with housework piling up on the side. I quite like air travel for this reason – nobody is really talking and you can’t really do anything else (unless you have a screaming child on board).

Anyway, today’s book review is on The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent. I’ve never heard of the author, nor saw any recommendation on the book; there was a “buy-two-get-one-at-half-price” deal and I already had one book that I really wanted, so I randomly took this because everything else in the really small bookstore at the train station looked boring.

**This part of the review consist of Spoilers

Fran Hill and her husband Nathan Hall moved with their two young children from London to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere for a fresh start – a place where Fran knew nothing about and where there were absolutely nothing, far away from Fran’s friends and family, but it was where Nathan grew up in and he persuaded her that it was exactly what they needed. However, one night Fran wakes up to find Nathan gone – dead in a ditch.

The police comes investigating and as more questions are asked, it becomes clearer that there are a lot of secrets in their relationship. Fran seems to be hiding a lot from the police as well, which makes her a prime suspect given the inconsistencies of her statements and the forensic facts. Just in case you are not annoyed by the book enough at this point, the policemen appears to be a couple of dickheads as well.

It appears that her husband is not who Fran thought he was. He used to be known as Alan back in the days, but now he calls himself Nathan. He was supposed to be a builder but he rarely turns up at the office space that he rented. He claimed to spend evenings at a local bar but noone has seen him there before. He smokes but Fran has never seen him do it. He hangs out at gay bars and never have sex with Fran anymore.

As it turns out, Nathan is working as an undercover for the police and their relationship was all part of his cover. He faked it to get more information on Nick Jason, who is Fran’s ex-boyfriend. Nick runs bars but peddles drugs on the side and the police have been trying to catch him for years. Somehow Nathan managed to charm Fran into marrying him despite the fact that he never loved her. Oh, and to drive home the fact that he’s not a good person, his will states that everything will go to his son but nothing for Fran and the daughter.

Her neighbour Karen tries to help out in this tough period but it turns out that she is the sister of the girl who died in the Black Barn, a place where Nathan used to hang out with a bunch of other guys when they were younger – mainly Robert Webster and Martin Beston – and a place rumoured to be where bad things happen. In the end, it turns out that Robert killed Nathan and after he did, he went into their house and raped Fran without Fran realising that it’s not Nathan that she was having sex with.

Final Thoughts

First of all, I really hate the writing style. The narrative switches between the past and present, but in a very broken and jarring way; there was very little continuity in the way that it’s written and I feel very frustrated whenever it switches. I’ve read a lot of books that uses this style of writing, but there is usually some continuity or linkage – there isn’t any here. The author likes to switch between time period at a ‘cliff hanger’ moment; I said ‘cliff hanger’ because it wasn’t really that exciting and the way it switches actually kills my interest.

The plot was extremely convoluted, ridiculous and in a very annoying and not mysterious way. I even find the way that the characters are named to be rather annoying. Who names their female character Fran? Or Nick Jason? Or Karen Johns? Every step of the way, I thought the plot was getting more and more ridiculous. Come on, how could you not know that you’re having sex with some random dude unless you’re heavily intoxicated or drugged? Fran also appears to be ridiculously stupid and never asks any questions.

The conversations between the characters are extremely hard to read because they sound either impossible or as if two hysterical retards are talking to each other. Every character is not like-able, seem to be awful people, and have an IQ of below 100. I can’t really say that the pace is slow – the writing style is too broken for me to have a sense of the pace.

This is one of the worst books I’ve read in a long time; it’s so bad that I left my copy behind on the plane. I highly recommend everyone to avoid this ridiculous book.

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