Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Natalie and Carl are newlyweds, but the honeymoon period is over already.
Carl has just announced he has bought their first home at auction without telling Natalie where it is, never mind showing her a picture of it.
Natalie is horrified to discover that the dream home is in Little Wyford, mere minutes away from Carl’s ex-wife Antonia. And to make matters worse, Antonia’s palatial country mansion has a fully-functioning roof (and a heated swimming pool!), unlike the ramshackle cottage Carl has bought for them…
Antonia is Little Wyford’s Queen Bee, mistress of the book club, organiser of the Christmas Fair and leader of the ladies-who-lunch. No matter how hard she tries, Natalie just doesn’t fit in, and when Antonia insists on referring to Carl as ‘Our Husband’, Natalie’s dreams of happily-ever-after take another nose dive.
Second-hand furniture has much to recommend it, especially when doing up a country cottage, second-hand clothes can be ever-so chic, but second-hand husbands are proving to be a very bad idea indeed… Can Natalie ever escape the label of Wife Number Two or is she destined to share her husband forever?
Hilariously funny, wickedly witty, but with a heart of gold and a warmth and wisdom that are all its own, A Second-Hand Husband is Claire Calman’s tour de force.
After a somewhat whirlwind courtship, Natalie and Carl have married and are looking for a new home in the countryside and nearer to where his ex-wife and two children live. What Natalie hadn’t anticipated was a phone call from Carl informing her that he’s found what they can make into the ideal home and he’s in an auction bidding for it….. She’s never seen it, doesn’t know where it is and the only positive is that it has a duck pond.
This kind of sets the tone for much of the story. Carl is inconsiderate, makes decisions without discussing the options and, to top it all, has bought that home in the same village where his ex-wife and children actually live. Initially I had to wonder just how he’d managed to get anyone to marry him! Needless to say, this is a story packed with family drama and plenty of laugh out loud moments. Many of the characters are initially decidedly not likeable and you have lots of examples of just why this romance is unlikely to stand the test of time unless Carl becomes less egocentric and Natalie starts to stand up for herself! As for his ex-wife and offspring . . . . together with the village where everyone knows all your business . . . . You’ll have to read it for yourself to discover just what happens and if love really can help them find a way together!
Thank you to Boldwood Books and NetGalley for my copy of this book which I have voluntarily read and honestly reviewed.
Claire Calman is a writer and broadcaster known for her novels that combine wit and pathos, including the bestseller Love is a Four-Letter Word. She has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Loose Ends. Her first book for Boldwood was published in June 2020.
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