Publisher: Penguin (14 Mar 2013)
Jane Green’s The Accidental Husband is a powerful story about two women connected by an earth-shattering secret.
Maggie and Sylvie are perfect strangers: two very different women, living very different lives on opposite coasts. But they share more in common than they could ever imagine.
Both women have beautiful children on the verge of flying the nest, the home they worked hard to build and always longed for, and a handsome and devoted husband they can’t believe belongs to them. Both women think their lives are seamlessly secure, but they couldn’t be more wrong . . .
For each is about to discover a secret that will shake their world to the very core, throwing into doubt everything they ever thought they knew, and bringing Maggie and Sylvie together in the most unexpected way.
I think it’s obvious from the blurb the plot of this story. However, even though it’s obvious, what I wasn’t prepared for was the powerful emotions that are evoked by identifying strongly with both Sylvie and Maggie and their families.
We begin in April 2008 with Sylvie which is narrated in the third person. We learn about her background and that daughter Eve is off to college soon. This causes Sylvie to question who she is having always identified with being a mother – and with husband Mark away a lot, she can’t define herself as a wife. Her mother is demanding on her time and we learn about Sylvie’s childhood. I really enjoyed Sylvie’s friendship with best friend Angie. This is a strong and true bond.
Eve is terrified of the imminent changes so she chooses another thing in her life that she can control. This is poignant and heartbreaking. She doesn’t feel as if she belongs with her friendship group anymore, feeling on the outside looking in. Green pitches this at just the right level.
Mark is mistrustful of everyone and their group of friends have been specifically picked by him. He won’t let Eve use Facebook for personal things and makes up a story as to why he isn’t a fan of social media. Something awful happens to someone in their friendship group with Twitter as a vehicle and so Mark appears to be justified.
The link that brings the deception out into the open is brilliant and leads smoothly into Maggie’s life.
Maggie’s part in the story is narrated in the first person while Sylvie’s is still third. I enjoyed these different narratives which gives the reader different perceptions and weaves the story together.
Maggie is the trophy wife. Designer labels, charity committees, cocktail parties and false friends. At first she is totally adrift having felt she was never good enough and her self-worth boosted by beauty products and the designer clothes. I didn’t like her when we were first introduced to her but … once she starts on a path of healing, I enjoyed being on the part of her journey where she builds belief in herself. Yes, this is my character who grows into her own 🙂
The Accidental Husband is all about relationships; husband/wife, mother/daughter/son, friendship circles and communities. There are poignant scenes that will bring tears to your eye but also scenes that will give you that feel-good factor. I loved the way the story comes together for the finale.
The Accidental Husband was almost a four-fairy read. If it wasn’t for the fact that for me, the first part felt very slow, it would have been! If you want to feel strong emotions through your reading material, this is definitely a story for you.
I would like to thank the publishers for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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