‘The Loving Husband’ is a psychological thriller which will make you question how well you know the ones you love and spend the most time with.
It tells the story of Fran Hall, a mother of two who is married to the mysterious Nathan. As the novel unfolds we learn that Nathan was not the man Fran thought she had married. He is a far more complex character than one would imagine when the tale begins.
When Nathan’s body is found in a ditch at the beginning of the novel we enter onto a rollercoaster ride full of twists and turns. Each time you think you might have worked out who the murderer is and what their motive was, the story diverts from that course and you are left once again guessing.
You cannot help but feel sorry for Fran Hall. Not only is she confronted with the loss of her husband, who has been brutally murdered, but she becomes the main focus of the police investigation. It is definitely a case of guilty until proven innocent. Although the pity for Fran endures throughout the novel, the question of whether she is in fact guilty cannot help but be at the forefront of your mind. There is certainly reason to believe that she is capable of committing the crime, and she does have a motive. However, so do a number of the other characters. Throughout it all Fran does her best to parent her two children and make a home for them in the dank farmhouse in the Fens that Nathan moved them to. Having lost her career, her best friend, and now her husband, it is hard to imagine the resolve needed by Fran to continue on her difficult path.
While I enjoyed reading ‘The Loving Husband’, I cannot be too rapturous in my praise of the novel. I nearly gave up reading it after the first chapter because I didn’t think I would be able to get on with the staccato writing style Christobel Kent uses. However, I pushed myself to continue because there was something about the character of Fran Hall that drew me in. There was always enough intrigue to keep me hooked but I would not describe this as a novel that I couldn’t put down. I went days between putting it down and picking it up again and didn’t really wonder during that time about the novel and what its conclusion would be. At no time reading this novel did I feel the chill one would expect, and almost crave, when reading a thriller. Although elements of the plot were shocking and unpleasant, I felt as though the author could have gone further. It didn’t get inside my head in the way that, in my opinion, a psychological thriller should.
However, there was a decent plot which kept me interested. I found the characters intriguing and wanted to know more about them as the novel progressed towards its conclusion. Once I was immersed in the main body of the story, the thought of giving up did not cross my mind again. So, while I wouldn’t rush out to buy another Christobel Kent novel, I know that ‘The Loving Husband’ would appeal to many other readers. As with all novels, films and pieces of music, appreciation of them is completely subjective and unique to each individual. So if you are reading this post and wondering whether ‘The Loving Husband’ is worth a punt, I would say why not?!
Onto my next book now…