I never read anything even remotely described as “romantic women’s fiction,” since “romantic” is too often code word for “gratuitously sexual,” and that’s just not my game when it comes to reading.
I also have been reading less and less adult fiction these days, as I’ve become overwhelmed with the general self-importance of the genre.
So I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to get when I read Katherine Center’s new novel, The Lost Husband. Lucky for me, it turned out to be a sweet, clean (call me a prude, but this is important to me!), satisfying way to spend a handful of hours.
Super quick synopsis: 30-something widow Libby and her two young kids leave Houston (and Libby’s extremely unpleasant mother) behind and head off to live with Libby’s Aunt Jean, whom she’s never really met, on a Texas farm she’s never even seen. Cue eccentric Aunt, hunky farm hand, a back story filled with secrets, Libby and kids struggling to adapt to their new life, some new down-home neighbors (there’s even a barn dance!), and you have The Lost Husband.
While the book explores themes of loss and change and acceptance, the overall tone is still light and it never tries too hard to teach A Lesson. There is a lot of heart, the characters are likable, and I think Center’s genius lies in getting right inside the head and heart of a mother. More than once, I found myself nodding my head emphatically at something Libby says or does and thinking to myself, “This is SO TRUE!” Kudos to Center for being able to translate the mess and beauty of motherhood so well.
Two minor hesitations that keep this at a 4-instead-of-5 star review: the secrets I mentioned were not the bombshells I was expecting, and they could have been revealed at a brisker pace. And the ending was a bit predictable, but having said that, it was also entirely satisfying.
I highly recommend The Lost Husband for a quick, feel-good read that you can pass on to friends and family knowing that you’re spreading around a little bright spot of happy.
*Disclosure: book provided for review via the Amazon Vine program. No compensation was received for this review.
*Amazon affiliate link included.