Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Husband Material by Emily Belden
Publication Date: December 30th, 2019
Publisher: Graydon House
Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.
Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.
But soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.
This book was more like a 280 page advertisement for every major brand out there right now. Unfortunately this book fell into the ‘what I don’t like’ column in terms of contemporary reads. It is too anchored to the time. I don’t need to hear about Zac Efron or Apple devices or The Bachelor or Jason Bateman or Tinder or Bumble or Fifty Shade of Grey… and all of this (and more) is referenced in the first chapter alone. I know that people argue that these not so subtle nods to pop culture helps to root them into the story but it does the exact opposite for me.
I was interested in the premise of this book after reading the synopsis but the actual execution of the story was unsatisfying. I felt like I was promised one thing and then given another. I hardly felt anything for the characters and I really did not see the appeal of Charlotte and Brian as a potential couple. And honestly, after what we learn Brian did, I wrote him off completely.
This entire book is full of strained characters where one or two make it seem like they have depth but they are all sadly one-note. I know that Belden interviewed a series of real people who have dealt with the loss of their significant others and children to have true-to-life examples to draw from and I commend her for that. Some moments managed to bring those feeling forward but the majority was lost amongst everything else.
I wish that I had enjoyed this book because it had potential but I just couldn’t. In all honesty it would have been a DNF if it hadn’t been a buddy read.