⇒ Blog Tour | “Sometimes life has other plans. Or, as I’ve come to witness, no real plans at all.” – Husband Material by Emily Belden ⇐
**Many thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin Books/Graydon House, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Author: Emily Belden
(3.46 stars – Goodreads rating)
Genre: Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Publication Date: December 30, 2019, by Graydon House / Harlequin
Pages: 304 (Kindle version)
#HusbandMaterial #EmilyBelden #GraydonHouse
Life is a little scary when you have to sit one-on-one with it for any length of time.
Being a gown-up kinda sux. There are all kinds of things to worry about and be responsible for: bills, your job, and <gasp> taxes! Who thought all this up anyway? We could all just be lounging around somewhere fanning with leaves by a waterfall without a care in the world past which berry to pop into our mouths next. Adulting, bah humbug!
And I’m sure Charlotte Rosen, Husband Material‘s main character, feels at least a little of that same sentiment when her deceased husband’s ashes become her responsibility… again. Let’s check out the blurb:
Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.
Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.
But soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.
I’m officially in my last good year of dating… and I’m determined not to wind up with my dog.
OK, so granted, adulting isn’t the most fun thing in the world, but most of us don’t have to deal with an urn that needs re-homing and an overbearing ex-mother-in-law hounding us. Phew! But being a fly-on-the-wall as Charlotte navigates this extreme bump in her road turns out to be quite the adventure.
There are several prevalent themes in Husband Material: getting over the ex, becoming a legit professional in a cut-throat industry, and navigating the tricky lanes of dating after a major relationship ends. While this book is whimsical and doesn’t present itself as a serious tome, it does make you consider some serious subjects before thrusting you back into the humor of it all.
He wouldn’t do something to hurt me. He would, however, choose to protect me at all costs. Are those the same things?
All-in-all, Belden’s book is about starting over; beginning again when things didn’t quite go the way you expected the first time. Charlotte, in her own quirky way, is a poster child for pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and marching on into a new normal. And that’s a theme that I can certainly get behind.
Little things annoyed me about this book, like Charlotte’s manic retreat into algorithms whenever the proverbial poop hit the fan, for instance. But that was more a personal irritation than a fault with the story. Husband Material is a quirky, quick read that tackles some real adult issues with humor and a whole lotta number-crunching!
Emily Belden is a journalist, social media marketer, and storyteller. She is the author of the novel Hot Mess and Eightysixed: A Memoir about Unforgettable Men, Mistakes, and Meals. She lives in Chicago. Visit her website at http://www.emilybelden.com or follow her on Twitter or Instagram @emilybelden.