My Husband’s Wives,
by Faith Hogan
Publication: Aria; April 4, 2019
About the book:
Is it better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved?
Paul Starr, Ireland’s leading cardiologist, has died in a car crash with a pregnant young woman by his side. A woman who is not his wife.
Evie, Grace, and Annalise never thought they’d meet, but now they have to uncover the truth of their pasts. And suddenly they find themselves united by a man they never really knew at all.
As these women begin to form unlikely friendships they discover that Paul’s death could prove to be the catalyst they needed to become the people they always wanted to be…
It is with my pleasure that I get to share my review of Faith Hogan’s latest in paperback, My Husband’s Wives! This book is one part the worst nightmare and one part blessing – and I truly loved it. The main cast of characters is cardiologist Paul Starr, his first wife, Evie, his second wife, Grace, and his third wife, Annalise. However, when Paul is killed in a car crash, a fourth woman comes into the picture, the young and pregnant Kasia. Before you dismiss this as another book about a man cheating on the woman he supposedly “loves,” know that there is so much more to this novel than just Paul’s indiscretions, or I guess I should say, his inability to find long-term contentment with one woman.
I will admit that I struggled with this one initially as I attempted to decipher who was who and what each person’s true intentions were. As I stated previously, Evie was Paul’s first wife and they each claimed that it was love at first sight for each of them. Yet, years later Paul and Grace meet and fall in love and have a daughter. Years into their marriage, things take a sharp decline, leading up to Paul and Annalise falling in love, having children, and getting married. Annalise is Paul’s wife at the time of his death, although they are separated, then there’s the issue of the other woman in the vehicle with him, Kasia, and whether they were romantically involved.
However, one consistent theme became clear early on in the novel and continued to the end – Paul was an ass. I won’t get into all of the details of his parting ways with one wife and moving onto another, etc., but he refused to let anyone move on after him. Paul’s character was a textbook example of a narcissist man that needs love and attention from as many people as possible. Furthermore, he continued to be a constant presence in their lives in order to maintain the flow of ego-stroking needed in order to feel like a man. But, the clever one that he was, he masked this behavior by coming by the house to fix a sink, or take care of the lawn, visits with children, etc.
The one positive thing about Paul is that he brought Evie, Grace, Annalise, and Kasia together. Each of these women had experienced highs and lows throughout life both personally and professionally, but as they were forced together after Paul’s death and their relationships grew, so did each woman individually. And that is where the light bulbs begin to go off above each of their heads! After spending so much time loving and taking care of Paul, watching Paul move on with someone else, and then mourning Paul’s death, these women found that life went on without this man and that finally, they had the chance to truly look at themselves and the lives they wanted, separate from Paul and what each of them had been for him.
Maybe not to everyone, but to me and countless others that I know, a family does not have to be genetic relatives. We have the beauty of building our families in a way that represents what we want and need from others, as well as, what we want and are able to give. Granted, we may have family out there that we would prefer not to have, but the family that you spend time with, support, and love doesn’t have to be someone technically related to you. The beauty of this novel was not only the woman learning to become their own selves, but also learning that their unusual, blended family was the family that they never knew they wanted or needed.
My Husband’s Wives is certainly a character-driven novel but there is plenty of depth and structure to the plot to avoid making you feel overwhelmed with mundane details about everyone while reading. There were some surprises throughout the plot and certainly some twists and turns, but I would consider this more of a steady-paced novel than an edge-of-your-seat read.
My only real issue with the novel is the time frames. There were times I felt like Evie’s character was 80 years old and other times maybe in her 50’s. And I remained confused about Grace’s age and the length of time between when she met Paul and when the book ended. Towards the end of the novel, I’m thinking Grace is in her 60’s but then there was her crush Jake who was in his late 30’s. It was just a bit confusing to me.
Enough with my rambling! My Husband’s Wives is an engaging novel that evokes a variety of emotions while reading. I loved the themes and the characters, I just hope any younger woman out there reading this will find this one as an example of what not to do concerning men and relationships.
*Thanks to Aria and the author for providing this copy in exchange for my honest review!
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About the author
Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children, and two very fussy cats. She has an Hons Degree in English Literature and Psychology, has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.