Aside from being a Sunday Times top ten bestseller The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent has also been picked as a Richard and Judy Book Club Autumn Pick. So let’s give a little bit of well-deserved bookworm love to both Kent and the book.
About the author
Christobel Kent was born in London in 1962 and now lives in Cambridge with her husband and four children; in between she lived in Florence. She worked in publishing for several years, most recently as Publicity Director at Andre Deutsch. Her debut novel A Party in San Niccolo, was published in 2003.
About the book
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?
It is certainly planned out meticulously. Right to the very end, I certainly cannot fault Kent for that, and aside from a few blips it is a good read. Saying that, the beginning is a wee bit confusing and the random mention of the secret society was superfluous.
Fran lives a seemingly happy rural life with her two children and her somewhat distant husband. Everything appears to be perfectly normal until one evening she awakes to find her husband dead. The police find some bizarre inconsistencies in her statement, which places her firmly on their radar.
Kent has managed to weave quite a few hot topics in here, in particular one that has been in the media for the last few years. Without giving away part of the plot, all I will say is that the police and other investigative services charged with solving crime and protecting the public, often overstep the boundaries of what is deemed necessary. Leaving innocent victims and unknown emotional casualties in their wake.
Another element of the story is the blatant misogyny, sexism and sexual harassment in the police force. Regardless of whether it happens to fellow police officers or to suspects and/or victims. Ali is the Family Liaison Officer and finds herself harassed, insulted and black-balled by the men she works with. It isn’t anything personal, because they do it to every skirt on the force. If you say anything you find yourself marked as an informant, and if you keep quiet the abuse gets worse.
This misogyny is also in play in the investigation into Nathan’s death. It’s as if the police refuse to see any other person as a suspect other than Fran. Left with no other option she decides she wants to know the whole truth. No matter how dirty or terrifying.
It is a slow-burner with quite a few twists and turns, and Kent manages to keep it interesting until the end.
You can win a signed copy of The Loving Husband by retweeting this tweet or commenting below. The winner will be contacted after the 8th of December. Good Luck!