I wasn’t sure what to expect with this novel. I really enjoyed Rebecca’s first novel This Secret We’re Keeping which focused on the story of an illicit love affair between student and teacher. I guess I was expecting more of the same.
My Husband the Stranger is a very different novel but still reflects Rebecca’s brilliantly engaging writing style. One of the new queens of contemporary fiction Rebecca makes what has the potential for being a mundane if distressing subject and makes it both fascinating and gripping.
My Husband the Stranger focuses on the characters of Molly and Alex. With love at first sight they have their whole future planned out; renovating Alex’s father’s old cottage in Norfolk and planning a family together. That is until one night Molly receives a hysterical phone call from Alex’s twin brother Graeme. Alex has had a terrible accident falling down the stairs and splitting open his head.
The novel explores the years after the accident as Molly struggles with the changes to Alex’s character as he becomes a stranger to her. Isolated in Norfolk she begins to rely more and more on Graeme for help as Alex’s ex girlfriend tries to muscle in. The novel looks at the after effects of Alex’s accident from the point of view of Molly while flicking to the past and exploring the beginning of their relationship from Alex’s point of view.
Things build to a crescendo and it’s hard to decide who’s side to be on but I like to think this had a happy ending for all involved despite the big reveal and the hard decisions made by all.
A exceptionally touching and empathy driven novel.