This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting, and it was both good and bad. The first half of the book was less mystery and more college drama about three friends that were more frenemies. Each of the three girls came from different social classes and the lines are clear: the rich bad girl, the middle class good girl with big ambitions, and the poor imitator trying desperately to fit in. The three women stumble into a toxic friendship full of drug fueled parties, romantic betrayals, and severe mental instability. Each girl’s personality was multifaceted and pretty well fleshed out, their story was intoxicating and incredibly unhealthy.
I actually really enjoyed the first half of the book even though it was really a character driven drama. Where this book suffered was in the way that it tried to become a typical murder mystery and it was a shame. The first and the second halves of the book feel like completely different stories and it’s pretty disjointing. The story fast forwards the reader twenty years halfway through the book and the girl’s lives turn out exactly how I imagined they would, but… then what?
“Those were the glory days, though, right? We were so young, so impressionable. I feel like we just fell into each other’s arms, best friends at first sight. We didn’t stop to think that we might be bad for each other.”
Sure the betrayals never stop and the same characters fall back into each other, but I honestly wondered why. The friendship and awkward worship of a particular character made little to no sense, especially given the circumstances and the amount of time that passes. The book spends so much time building up the girl’s relationship but it was still surprisingly weak. The story becomes pretty tired and predictable when it tried to tie everything together in this great mystery that really was not all that much of a mystery. The perpetrators can be guessed pretty early on and fairly easily, none of it surprised me.
Lastly without going into too much for risk of spoilers, I hated the subplot with the cop and his creepy obsession over the victim. I get part of why it was important to complete the story, but I feel like it could have been accomplished with a regular cop investigating the case without the strange romantic interest. I feel like it was just too much and made everyone’s misguided infatuation with the victim borderline unbelievable.
I think this book definitely had a lot of potential though it’s obvious that it’s a debut novel. Campbell writes characters and relationships that are complicated and I wanted to read so much more about them. I wish more would have come of the early part of the story. Even with these issues I still found myself engrossed in the story, wanting to know how things would wrap up and stayed up all night to binge read the book. It’s not a bad book and was entertaining all the same and I would happily read more of the author’s work in the future.
Title: It’s Always the Husband
Author: Michele Campbell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, despite being as different as three women can be. Kate was beautiful, wild, wealthy, and damaged. Aubrey, on financial aid, came from a broken home, and wanted more than anything to distance herself from her past. And Jenny was a striver―brilliant, ambitious, and determined to succeed. As an unlikely friendship formed, the three of them swore they would always be there for each other.
But twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge, and someone is urging her to jump.
How did it come to this?
Kate married the gorgeous party boy, Aubrey married up, and Jenny married the boy next door. But how can these three women love and hate each other? Can feelings this strong lead to murder? When one of them dies under mysterious circumstances, will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?