I should start a new section called “unputdownables.” The Lost Husband would definitely fit into that category. Most importantly, though, I think I have found a new author whose books I want to read.
The last time I finished a book in two days was The Bette Davis Club, an unmitigated disaster, in my opinion. The Lost Husband was also quick reading, but for different reasons. No talking down to the reader, no ridiculous, selfish characters (OK, one selfish character, but she has to be selfish to assist the story.) Just an entertaining plot peppered with unpredictability that makes the reader want to return again and again.
Libby has been a young widow for three years. Two of those years have been spent living with her mother, who takes more passive-aggressive pleasure in criticizing Libby and running off to pedicure appointments than supporting her and allowing her to mourn. Libby’s two children, Abby and Theodore (Tank,) are resilient as most children are, but still fragile. Unfortunately, Libby has no other options.
Then one day, out of the blue, Libby receives a letter from Aunt Jean. She’s offering Libby room and board on her goat farm in exchange for help running the place. “Crazy Aunt Jean,” Libby’s mother’s sister of whom she has only vague memories. Most of what Libby knows about Aunt Jean comes from her mother’s venomous opinions with a hearty side dish of hatred. These sisters are the epitome of oil and water. Still…anything is better than living with her narcissistic mother, Libby decides, and one day later she’s off to a goat farm in Atwater, Texas.
The rest of the story centers around Libby’s new life in these unforeseen circumstances, the people she meets (there are some terrific supporting characters in Aunt Jean, O’Connor, and Sunshine,) and the healing process Libby is finally allowed to explore. Everyone has some secret or past challenge they are trying to overcome, allowing for extra character dimension and some interesting subplots, and no one is who they seem when Libby initially meets them. The story is told in first person, so we see everything through Libby’s eyes and feel it all through her emotions, which are relatable and authentic.
The book walks the line of “froth,” but I didn’t care. I enjoyed every minute with it and look forward to reading more from Katherine Center. Not every book has to be earth-shattering and life-changing. Some can just be good old-fashioned escapism. You’ll find that in The Lost Husband. Delightful from start to finish.
8/1/18 Here’s a fun tidbit: last night I was poking around on Goodreads and came across a Q&A section on the author’s page. I wrote that I was impressed with her comment to an aspiring writer, and quickly received 2 responses. It’s always a treat when authors interact with readers.: