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Fiction Review: It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

Fiction Review: It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

Michele Campbell’s debut novel haphazardly follows three college roommates, Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny, who couldn’t be more different. Kate is a destructive siren, beautiful but dangerous. Aubrey wants more than anything to fit in at their elite school, the polar opposite of the lowly life she is used to. Jenny is an overachiever, a go-getter, willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead, even if her actions interfere with the two girls she calls best friends.

Amidst their tumultuous freshman year, spineless Aubrey can’t help but fall under the Kate’s dangerous spell. Together they become lost in drugs, alcohol, and the opposite sex. Jenny, ever the brooding mother hen, loves to save the day. They become known as the triple set on campus and swear to always take care of one another.

Even after advice from concerned friends that the trio is an unhealthy match, the girls continue to downward spiral into oblivion at the cost of someone’s life.

20 years later all three girls are married with lives of their own, but they still can’t resist the urge to meddle in one another’s business. As a consequence, one of these women is left standing at the edge of the bridge, and someone is urging her to jump. How did it come to this?

BOOK REVIEW

Much like the characters within, this book began with promise but spiraled downwards into oblivion. My review rating quickly fell from to 4 stars, to 3 stars, to 2. I question what point Campbell was trying to make and can only assume she was attempting to build off other successful series which have centered around the darker side of female relationships, such as Big Little Lies. Campbell’s It’s Always the Husband fails to meet the mark. It takes more than the question of “whodunit” to make a successful suspense novel. Instead of questioning who did it, I was left asking, ” Why should I care?”

To add insult to injury, the first and second half of the book could have been different works of fiction. The actions of these three women towards the end of the novel are entirely out of character and do not tie in with the rest of the story line.

Usually one can discuss a favorite character, but in It’s Always the Husband I had none. This is perhaps the book’s most disappointing flaw. Much can be forgiven for the sake of well-written characters. Instead, I found I had no one to root for. This lack of interest in any one character made me careless as to the result of any of their lives, and therefore uninterested in the novel’s conclusion.

Some may argue that because all the characters are depicted as contemptible, I shouldn’t worry about having a favorite. To this I would strongly disagree. Even in a story where all the characters are horrible, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn or You by Carolyn Kepnes for example, there should still be one character I love to hate. Otherwise, what is the point?

What would I change?

If I could change this book I would strip away the third person viewpoint and ask that Campbell chose one character through which to tell the story, which had potential in the first half of the book. I would also suggest that she consider a more efficient writing style and focus on what is crucial to the story line as she does not have the levity to overwrite well.

Would you recommend this and to whom?

I am disappointed to find that this clever title and attractive cover art are wasted on the contents. I would recommend this book only to those who enjoy plowing through a book that is sure to disappoint. I’m guessing that’s not you.

I have noticed that this book is very well promoted. Well-known review platforms and popular authors alike have been quoted with rave messages for this title. To this book’s PR company, I say well done. But I would encourage you to think twice about the often-disappointing hype surround a newly released novel.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

It’s Always the Husband is a disappointing attempt at a suspense novel which fails to grasp the dangerous entanglements in the darker side of female friendships. Beware the hype on this well-promoted novel and skip to the next book on your TBR stack instead.

READING TIME: 4 Days
LENGTH: 336 Pages
VERDICT: SKIP IT
St Martin’s Press, May 16, 2017

I hope you’ve enjoyed this fiction review of Michele Campbell’s It’s Always the Husband. Keep scrolling for a pro/con list and rating breakdown. 

Fiction Review: It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell - Three college roommates, Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny, who couldn't be more different.
3.3
Out of 10

Good Things

  • Potential in the first half of the book

Bad Things

  • Inconsistent characters
  • Weak plotline

The Breakdown


Characters
3
Plot
3
Writing Style
4



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