Her Silent Husband,
by Sam Vickery
Publication: Bookouture (November 15, 2021)
I stared at the cordless phone, my hand shaking, my pulse echoing in my ears. I walked slowly to the kitchen counter, staring out the window as Ceci swung back and forth on the swing. For the first time in as long as I could remember, I had no idea what to do next.
It was so chaotic that afternoon I barely heard the phone ring. With four children to organise, things were always busy, but I enjoyed the sound of our family rushing around our beautiful townhouse. From the moment I met my husband Drew he’d ensured that we had the best of everything, that our children would never lose out like I did when I was growing up…
But when I answer the phone, my world comes crashing down. The woman on the other end tells me that Drew is in a coma. He should have been making his way home, but instead I’m shocked when I find out that he tried to end his own life.
I know I have to keep things together and hold on to the idea that this is all one big mistake. I remind myself of how his face would light up whenever he read to our children cuddled up on the sofa. I reason that he would never do such a terrible thing.
But as my family rallies around to help, it becomes clear that Drew’s sister Gemma knows a shocking secret that my devoted husband has been keeping from me. If he wakes up, can he still be the man I love? Or will his secret tear our family apart?
*Trigger warnings: attempted suicide, addiction.
Welcome to my review of the latest by Sam Vickery, Her Silent Husband. This was my first time reading this author and my first impression was that I enjoyed her writing style with the perfect balance of narrative and dialog. Beth is a very busy mother of four extremely concerned with keeping up with The Joneses and making sure that her children have near-perfect lives. They are wealthy, live in a home in Notting Hill, and have what appears to be an envious family life. But then she gets the call that her husband Drew is in the hospital. Frustrating to me, she seemed very inconvenienced about having to go to the hospital when his secretary simply tells her he has had an accident. But upon arrival, she learns that Drew tied a rope around his neck and stepped off of his desk in an attempt to end his life. Now she is left with four children (one special needs), a house to run, and no earthly clue how to access any money or pay any bills.
Let me begin by saying that although I completely sympathized with Beth’s predicament, I was very quickly annoyed by how helpless she was. In this day and age, I feel that a woman should know how to access accounts and pay bills. Yes, she was primarily in charge of taking care of their four children and running them from this practice to the next for music, swimming, etc., but she literally had no clue how to pay an electricity bill.
But even more frustrating was that she did not know her husband in the least, and knew very little about her children. Yes, she was accustomed to Ceci’s outbursts and habits because of her having Down’s Syndrome and needing that extra bit of attention, but otherwise, she was oblivious to the wants and needs of everyone living under her roof. She won me over in the end and made my heart happy, but she was a challenge to like for most of the novel.
Then there was Gemma, Drew’s sister. I’m sorry but she was just too much for me. An addict stuck with the haunts of her past, Gemma coasted from one minimum wage job to the next, entertaining various addictions to various substances, all the while acting like the same six-year-old girl who went through a horrible six months with her brother. I am not belittling childhood trauma or the power of addiction, but she truly had no redeeming qualities. I feel that her character completely overplayed the “pitiful baby sister” role and honestly needed to grow up and pull her head out of her ass. Her brother obviously was struggling with enough of his own demons that he shouldn’t have still been her emotional crutch all of those years later.
Now that I have expressed a small fraction of my issues with the main characters, let me tell you what I loved about this! First is the theme stressing the importance of teamwork in marriage and parenting. Regardless of career choices, it took two to get married and no one has any babies alone, so both parties need to chip in. Secondly, kids need to be allowed to be kids with unstructured time and just spontaneous family outings or games. Not everything has to be a sport or class that results in a participation ribbon. And finally, the importance of true communication. Maybe he wasn’t assertive enough, but Drew did attempt to talk to Beth before his suicide attempt. If you are sitting down with your spouse and they are upset and looking at you with pleading eyes – for God’s sake listen to what they need to say!
Sam Vickery has shone a light on so many common hiccups in the family dynamic throughout this novel from losing jobs, special needs children, bills to pay, and co-dependent siblings. Was this novel frustrating as hell? Yes! However, it was very honest and raw, illustrating the true feelings of each character regardless of how uncomfortable it was. This is not an uplifting novel by any means, except for the last few chapters that made my heart sing, but I think it’s an important novel in that there are numerous people out there right now that need to read this.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
*Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!
1 thought on “Book Review: Her Silent Husband, by Sam Vickery”
I get the sense this review has covered this novel quite well. I definitely understand how one can read a frustrating story while still being compelled to finish it.
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