HUSBAND MATERIAL by Emily Belden

HUSBAND MATERIAL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A 20-something woman is keeping a big secret from her friends and co-workers: She’s a widow.

Charlotte Rosen thinks she’s moved on pretty well from her husband Decker’s death five years ago. She started a new job with a social media influencer firm, found a roommate who knows nothing about her past, and convinced her co-workers that she’s just another single young woman in LA. She’s even working on developing her own data-driven dating app that determines a couple’s compatibility based on their social media profiles. Charlotte calls herself a “Numbers Queen” and knows that even though life may have thrown her a curveball in the past, data will never let her down. But life, it turns out, still has plenty of surprises left for her. When Decker’s mausoleum burns down and his ashes show up on her doorstep, Charlotte begins to realize that she didn’t deal with her grief so much as she ran from it. Now, she needs help from the people she left in the past—including her status-obsessed ex–mother-in-law, who’s so controlling that she tries to sneak into Charlotte’s building to steal her son’s ashes back. Charlotte also reconnects with Decker’s best friend, Brian, who used to be a partying frat boy but is now a children’s doctor. Charlotte and Brian shared one impulsive kiss shortly after her husband’s death, and unfortunately, she discovers that her attraction to Brian hasn’t gone away—in fact, now that he’s grown up a little, it’s even stronger. But when Charlotte runs into a woman from Decker’s past, she’s forced to reckon with the fact that she might not have known him as well as she thought she did—and everyone else in her life might be full of surprises, too. Belden (Hot Mess, 2018, etc.) paints a realistic portrait of grief while still creating a story that is fast-paced and fun. The dialogue sparkles, especially when Charlotte is arguing with her snarky roommate, Casey. Plot twists near the end, though, strain credulity—Charlotte is quick to forgive some of the people in her life for major transgressions, and it seems like a more realistic reaction is ignored in favor of tying the ending up with a bow.

A quick, entertaining read about making sense of your past and making the most of your future.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-525-80598-1
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Graydon House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2019