The Husband Hour
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When a young widow's reclusive life in a charming beach town is interrupted by a surprise visitor, she is forced to reckon with dark secrets about her family, her late husband, and the past she tried to leave behind.
Lauren Adelman and her high school sweetheart, Rory Kincaid, are a golden couple. They marry just out of college as Rory, a star hockey player, earns a spot in the NHL. Their future could not look brighter when Rory shocks everyone-Lauren most of all-by enlisting in the U.S. Army. When Rory dies in combat, Lauren is left devastated, alone, and under unbearable public scrutiny.
Seeking peace and solitude, Lauren retreats to her family's old beach house on the Jersey Shore. But this summer she's forced to share the house with her overbearing mother and competitive sister. Worse, a stranger making a documentary about Rory tracks her down and persuades her to give him just an hour of her time.
One hour with filmmaker Matt Brio turns into a summer of revelations, surprises, and upheaval. As the days grow shorter and her grief changes shape, Lauren begins to understand the past-and to welcome the future.
Oh, The Husband Hour, how you have my heart. I was pulled into this from the very start. A grieving widow in hiding (for multiple years), Laura’s family comes to the Jersey shore bringing all their drama with them and disrupts her intentional hermitage. That alone is intriguing, but then a director wanting to do a documentary on Laura’s husband’s famous death tracks her down and you are instantly transported into Laura’s pain and the history of the family’s issues. All of this combined makes this novel downright powerful. Brenner tackles the fairly new, hot topic issue of brain trauma in athletes and handles it well. The last quarter of the book was especially gripping as all was revealed flawlessly. I may have sleep deprivation because I wanted- no, needed to- see how Brenner left things. I ended this book feeling satisfied, needing the shore, and craving some artisan donuts…
Jamie Brenner has done it again with this beautifully written story about dealing with the loss of a loved one, about family, forgiveness and trust. The characters felt real and believable and were very likable, even those with their many flaws. I love when books captivate me from the very beginning and The Husband Hour did just that. It is one that I couldn't put down. Very well done with quite a surprising twist. I highly recommend it.
I received an advance review copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Brenner writes another gem. While it might fit into the “beach” reading or “women’s lit” category - the characters, plot and family relationships are so well developed and thought provoking, it turns both genres on its head.
Brenner explores the relationships within a family with such care and nuance, I found I couldn’t put the book down. Her development of the locations were a character in and of itself.
If this is in your summer reading list, you won’t be disappointed. If it’s not, bump another book off and add this one!