Friday 29 April 2016

Reviewed: My Husband's Wives by Faith Hogan

TITLE: My Husband's Wives
AUTHOR: Faith Hogan


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Better to have loved and lost, than never loved.

Paul Starr, Irelands leading cardiologist dies in a car crash with a pregnant young women by his side.

United in their grief and the love of one man, four women are thrown together in an attempt to come to terms with life after Paul. They soon realise they never really knew him at all.

The love they shared for Paul in his life and which incensed a feeling of mistrust and dislike for each other, in his death turns into the very thing that bonds them and their children to each other forever.

As they begin to form unlikely friendships, Paul's death proves to be the catalyst that enables them to become the people they always wanted to be.

My Husband’s Wives tells a really compelling story of four women connected in the most difficult of circumstances. Intricately weaved together, the lives of Grace, Evie, Annalise and Kasia change forever when Paul Starr is killed in a car crash. Paul was once married to Evie, but then later married Grace who gave birth to his daughter, Delilah, but their relationship soured and he had two children with Annalise. As for Kasia, nobody knows quite what her ties with Paul involved but she has only the best words to say about him. In what starts as a complicated mass of lies, secrets and mistrust between the four women, unlikely friendships are soon formed in this emotional and moving novel and as we get to connect with each of them, grow to like and feel for them, My Husband’s Wives becomes quite the page-turner.

Faith Hogan has written a really touching story of grief and how it affects everyone differently. We see each woman attempt to come to terms with their loss in different ways whilst at the same time, they try to rebuild their own lives and look after themselves. It was both sad and heart-warming to see the influence Paul had had on each of them as we discover that now he’s no longer alive, they’re all a little bit lost and to some extents, living without a real purpose.

Kasia was my favourite of the four women. I found her to be a lovely, warm character who on surface always had good words to say about people but you could tell that deep-down she wasn’t naïve and she knew who was and was not to be trusted. She was sweet and protective of these other women from the start, despite never meeting them or knowing a lot about them, which in turn made them want to protect and look after her. I found it endearing how she really didn’t know her own strength and yet admired all these women without realising they all respected her for this courage she didn’t even know she possessed.

Annalise was the character I struggled with the most early on. I think she kept her emotions quite hidden and it was difficult to really understand her and relate to her, though that changed later on in the novel.

Grace and Evie were the most intricately linked as Evie was the woman Paul left for Grace and Grace had built up her own opinion on Evie throughout the years whilst feeling a little guilty at the deceit of being Paul’s ‘mistress’ when he was married to Evie. I found the development of both of these characters to be interesting and at times, surprising, especially with Evie who I wasn’t quite sure how to take at the beginning but really enjoyed getting to know as the book went on.

By the end of My Husband’s Wives, I had become fond of all the main characters. As the narrative switched to focus on each character, that insight into their lives and emotions was beautifully crafted and even when dipping in and out of this book, their voices remained and it was easy to tell which character we were back with.

My Husband’s Wives was a truly heartfelt novel, written in an engaging style with emotional twists and turns and drama throughout. It showed a realistic outlook on grief in its many forms without being a grim book – instead it was far more uplifting and motivating to see the growing friendship between Grace, Evie, Kasia and Annalise, and how the sadness of one person’s death could be the thing that actually spurred each woman on to a happier, more fulfilling future. One of the characters in the book summed it up best by saying the best part of Paul was what he left behind. I really enjoyed reading this book and loved getting to know all the people that formed the pieces of Paul’s life – completely invested in how things would work out for them all come the end. The ending itself was perfectly done, and I’m going to miss these characters now it’s over!

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