The Official Book Blurb
She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life.
After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start. Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died.
Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.
But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie. And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.
Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?
Her Husband’s Lover is a twisted and occasionally dark tale of family disharmony, a domestic noir as it were. It is partly the story of a very troubled and complicated love triangle of sorts, and partly a dissection of the resultant mess when the affair is brought to a very difficult and deadly end. It is a textured and layered novel which drew me in and kept me hooked, partly because of the strength of the characters that Julia Crouch had drawn and partly because I just wanted to know what the truth actually was.
This was a difficult book for me to judge initially because you are faced with not one but two unreliable narrators. At least this is how it seems. The two narrative voices used throughout are those of Louisa and Sophie and both have their reasons for being deemed unreliable. Louisa, or Lou as she comes to be known, is suffering a slight memory loss after the accident, and avoiding talking to anyone about what happened or about her children, making relying solely on her point of view almost impossible. But then Sophie has an ulterior motive, and the first time we are introduced to her character she is essentially threatening Lou’s life. Indeed throughout she is portrayed as a spoilt, ex-addict and former model who had imposed herself upon Lou and Sam’s marriage.
Nothing in this book is as it seems. Both women prove themselves untrustworthy for very different reasons at very different times and I found myself switching back and forth between who I believed in, who I trusted, and what my understanding was of what was happening. One of these women is unhinged, the other underhand. Both are guilty in their own way for what comes to pass and I can’t help thinking that if someone had bothered with the simple matter of taking legal advice, the whole thing could have been different. But then the book would have been shorter and a lot less interesting too, so you can’t have everything.
The action flows back and forth between past and present, detailing the months after Lou and Sam’s marriage, through the birth of their children, the symptoms of Lou’s post natal depression, to Sam’s affair and right up to the present day where we see Lou trying to reclaim her life and Sophie trying to reclaim her rights to Sam’s money. Because Sophie has an ace up her sleeve, one which should guarantee her the rights to a percentage of Sam’s estate.
Where I struggled a little was in believing that the very erratic behaviour of one of the two women was never questioned. Certainly there were few people around who knew either of them well, but surely someone would have noticed that something wasn’t right and that there was almost a bi-polar switch in character at times. And it was almost too easy for Sophie to get information on Lou. Yes, I would say that she was clearly nobody’s fool, but for a woman with no money and no contacts, everything just seemed to fall into place almost too easily for her.
This was only a minor niggle, and it is just my opinion. If you can suspend disbelief and perhaps a little resultant frustration, then this shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of the book. The writing is very strong, the characters built of layer upon layer of complexity. The pacing in the book is just right and it did pull me along with the story at a pretty strong gallop. There wasn’t a time I felt I wanted to walk away from the story, and the way in which the truth of the story is drip fed in worked perfectly keeping me guessing right up to the end. The image the reader is given of Sam and Lou’s marriage is one of abuse and manipulation but just where the truth lies is not entirely clear, at least not until the twisted oh so cleverly constructed ending.
I really enjoyed this book, but I didn’t quite love it. I’m not sure why. It is a very good premise and very skilfully told. I thought, on reading the blurb, that perhaps the story was going to be a little less twisty – something a bit more Fatal Attraction-esque. Perhaps it was because I was expecting some of it – I saw some of the tells early on and although there was enough of the misdirection to keep me guessing, I wasn’t entirely surprised by what came to pass. That said, there were still one or two elements that I hadn’t suspected, that threw me and had me applauding the author for the way in which she was able to hide the truth. And then the ending. Yep. A real sting in the tail. Had me nodding in respect because I never would have seen that coming. It was delightfully dark, the detachment of the perpetrator written brilliantly. A clear sociopath if ever there was one. And yes, the book did manage to leave me with a certain amount of satisfaction, knowing that ultimately true justice was likely to be served.
For that reason I gave the book a twisted and unexpected 4 stars.
My thanks to NetGalley and publishers Headline for the ARC of Her Husband’s Lover. the book is available to purchase from the following links: