REVIEW: It's Always the Husband, Michele Campbell

Friday, 9 February 2018

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge... and someone else is urging her to jump. How did things come to this? As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

It’s Always the Husband tells the story of three very different girls brought together through the randomness of university dorm placements. They get wild, far more so than my own university friends and I ever did, and there’s a real sense of hedonism, excess and adventure to the scenes that take place when the girls are young adults that I really love. It almost brings the same vibe as popular series such as Gossip Girl; one of great wealth and teenage mistakes. If the story took place solely at university, maybe then it would have gotten a higher rating from me, but alas, this is a novel of two parts.
The characters as young adults feel far more fleshed-out and believable than their middle-aged counterparts and the whole plot becomes a small-town, run-of-the-mill mystery in the latter scenes. The pace slowed, the excitement dimmed and, despite the excesses of the scenes set in the past, it was only then that the tale became too far-fetched to be wholly believable. The murder investigation was conducted terribly, the town politics were ridiculous, and everyone’s motivations were contrived and bizarre.
I think the main issue are the characters. All of them (except probably Jenny) were horrendous people and most insisted on putting Kate on a pedestal that she couldn’t possibly ever live up to because, frankly, she was a humongous fuck-up. The idolisation of the girl and the legends that were spun around her became like something out of a bad movie, I mean, have you ever seen that happen in real-life to someone other than a celebrity? Because I sure haven’t. The two main culprits of this were Aubrey, who was so far up her arse that she could probably see out of her eyes, and the police chief, who really should be arrested for being a potential killer himself. Obsessed, much? When he came along I thought that we were finally getting a respite from the fucking awful cast of characters, but oh no.
Frankly, there is a BIG difference between having a book filled with characters that the readers love to hate, and having ones who are just downright abhorrent. It’s Always the Husband falls in the category of the latter. I couldn’t understand why Kate was so amazing, and so then I didn’t understand everyone’s insistence on fawning over her. To turn someone into something of a manic pixie dream girl, you first have to make them a dream girl. 
Which Kate wasn’t in the slightest.
For me, It’s Always the Husband, was a huge contradiction, I mean, after-all, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But if that’s the best you can say about it, that’s probably a sign it’s not a good book.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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