The Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner – 368 pages
ARC courtesy of Little, Brown and Company
Lauren Adelman and her high school sweetheart, Rory Kincaid, are a golden couple. They marry just out of college as Rory, a star hockey player, earns a spot in the NHL. Their future could not look brighter when Rory shocks everyone-Lauren most of all-by enlisting in the U.S. Army. When Rory dies in combat, Lauren is left devastated, alone, and under unbearable public scrutiny. Seeking peace and solitude, Lauren retreats to her family’s old beach house on the Jersey Shore. But this summer she’s forced to share the house with her overbearing mother and competitive sister. Worse, a stranger making a documentary about Rory tracks her down and persuades her to give him just an hour of her time. One hour with filmmaker Matt Brio turns into a summer of revelations, surprises, and upheaval. As the days grow shorter and her grief changes shape, Lauren begins to understand the past and to welcome the future.
My Review: 4 stars
The Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner was the perfect vacation read. A plot that captured my attention, likable characters and important topics were brought to light. I read an ARC version of this book courtesy of Little, Brown and Company, as it is not scheduled to release until May of 2018. The cover is so attractive that other readers at the pool asked about the book. Based on my commentary, they are all anxious to purchase this prize upon release!
The story about Lauren Adelman is deeper and richer than it appears in the book blurb. Lauren, trying to isolate herself from the pain of losing her husband, also has unresolved issues with her sister, her parents, the strangers who want her story and the ghost of her ex husband. All of these sub-plots make up the story with good pacing and fine storytelling.
Besides the subplots with the people in Lauren’s life, the author brings in two topics that are so important and not usually dealt with in women’s fiction. The first is PTSD and depression that deployed service men and women often have upon returning home. The second is about the latent medical issues that come out after repeated concussions. Medical information and studies were mentioned in a suitable way for the layperson. This is an increasingly hot topic in school systems throughout the U.S. right now. I know personally when my son got a bad concussion in a lacrosse game, he was dizzy and couldn’t have bright lights on for about two weeks. I can’t imagine how people feel after being concussed numerous times. The Husband Hour enlightens the reader on both of these sensitive topics and offers an excellent twist as well. Book clubs will gobble this one up.
Quotes I liked:
It’s amazing how easy it is to be happy when you’re a kid.”
– “Beth was overwhelmed with one of the worst fears a mother could experience in the face of her child’s pain: powerlessness.”