Struck with a little of the 'can't afford books at the moment' blues I've been haunting the library, hoping some of the new books I'm after come up on the shelves (and, in fact, our local library has a buyer who's pretty good at hitting many of those new romance/ish releases).
While browsing, a title caught my eye, My Husband's Sweethearts.
Now, I'm usually about about the historicals or action type romances, and while I might pick up a women's lit now and then I usually end up putting it down. And I did exactly that with this book... then for some reason picked it back up and shoved it in my book bag anyway.
I'm glad I did.
My Husband's Sweethearts, Bridget Asher.
- SBN-13: 9780385341899
- ISBN-10: 038534189X
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Date: August 2008
- Page Count: 271
When the books opens our leading lady, Lucy, is being forced out of the safe cocoon of limbo she'd made for herself after having confronted her husband, Artie, six months earlier about his infidelities. In the face of Artie's imminent death, Lucy has to confront everything she has been hiding from; torn between the love he'd shown her, the love she still feels for him, the hate she feels at his deceit and a certain amount of self loathing.
Still bitter, not sure what she wants nor what Artie expects, and determined not to suffer alone Lucy drunkenly calls some of the numbers in her husband's little black book. What comes after is surprising, shocking and strangely cathartic for all of the women in Artie's life - Artie's Sweethearts - and indeed, even for the reader. (Especially if you have lived your own version of the story, as I have).
Ms. Asher tells us a story of a woman who comes to learn that even in deceit there can be love, and that one man, no matter how much he is a cheating bastard, had in fact found something meaningful in all these women to love. Something precious that would at his deathbed bring them all together in animosity and love and bind into the family he'd been searching for all his life.
The book is a roller coaster ride of emotions, of trying to find that balance when you hold so much love, yet so much hate towards another. Of dealing with the fact the person you'd planned your life around has lied to you, and is going on to commit the most heinous crime of all - to leave you behind in death.
Lucy and her mother; the women, Eleanor and Elspa; and John ( I'll leave you hanging on just who he is), drew me in. They weren't horrendously overdrawn, nor were they pathetic specimens. They were all, Lucy included, everyday average people with all their foibles, bad habits, lies and love to give. In other words they were our lovers, our families, our friends and enemies, and as they ran the gamut of disbelief to final acceptance I as the reader ran along for the tumultuous ride.
One of the cover quotes says the story is tender and eccentric, another declares the book wry and beguiling and I don't think I can describe it any better than that. It's tenderly wry and eccentrically beguiling, and I am very glad I did pick it back up off the shelf.
*Click the cover for a B*A*M buy link