My Darling Husband
Jade Lasky knows she’s in danger. She has seen the guy with the scarred face and man bun far too often for it to be a coincidence. But when she calls her husband Cam to report her concerns, he is dismissive. Atlanta might not be a small town but Jade is a stay-at-home mom who follows the same routine every school day. It is likely that this man is on a similar schedule and that is why she bumps into him so often.
Cam doesn’t mean to be dismissive of Jade but he has his own set of (seemingly) much bigger problems. A popular celebrity chef, he’s opened a series of restaurants that had him dubbed Atlanta’s Steak King, but he’s drowning in debt and now the only one of his eateries that is an actual money maker – the crown jewel of his collection – has been destroyed in a terrible fire. Cam hasn’t told Jade just how deep in trouble he is and his only hope is if the insurance company comes through quickly with a check (Clearly he’s never had an insurance claim before).
When Jade pulls into the garage at home with the Bees (the cute nickname she and Cam have given their children Baxter (six) and Beatrix (nine)), she is already stressed about the evening. She’s worried she’s being stalked. Beatrix, a violin virtuoso who’s been taking expensive private lessons, wants to switch instruments. Baxter’s a tad crabby. It looks like it’s going to be a rough night.
She’s right because waiting for Jade in the shadows beside her usual parking spot is a masked man with a gun and a very specific plan. Jade, the intruder and the kids are going to wait for Cam to bring home $734,296.00. Cam has only hours to do this – or things will go very, very badly for the frightened mom and her two little kids.
My Darling Husband has numerous strong points. One is the pacing. The author moves her plot along briskly and rather than a monotonous but terrifying scenario of the four people in the house watching a clock tick down, we get non-stop action as Jade and her daughter Beatrix work on outwitting the home invader and Cam races around town trying to get the cash.
Cam and Jade are amazingly sympathetic. I expected superficial rich celebrities or the usual (for the current market) villainous victims, but that is not the case here. We meet two people who have worked incredibly hard for what they have and are surprisingly ordinary in how they conduct their lives. Jade might have a fancier house than most people but she does a lot of the cooking and cleaning herself and is a practical, down to earth, hands-on mom. She is terrified for her kids and immerses herself in creating a best-case scenario out of the nightmare she finds herself in.
Cam may have made a lot (and I mean a LOT) of poor business decisions but he is a loving husband and father who is willing to put everything on the line to save his family. He’s a bit brash, not what anyone would call a long-term thinker and he can be cold and callous when it comes to how he conducts commerce, but he always takes his wife’s calls, he looks after his mom and is kind to her even when he is stressed, and he makes time to talk to his kids even on his worst days. He’s a flawed but likable human being.
I would say this book is a lot like Cam – enjoyable but with some imperfections that keep it from being great. Fortunately, most of those faults don’t show up till near the end of the novel and they are almost entirely about believability issues. Cam, a businessman, is apparently clueless about how insurance works; in fact, all of the characters behave in a manner that shows they have no inkling of how insurance payouts are actually handled. I’m far from being an expert, but even I understand that some of what these folks believe borders on the ridiculous. There also seemed to be a basic misunderstanding about what being an accomplice to a crime would mean and no acknowledgement made of the fact that in Georgia, home invasions are treated as a federal offense. The aftermath of the event certainly doesn’t account for those factors. Beatrix is presented from the start as an extraordinary child, bright and capable beyond her years but since we spend only a few short hours with her, her exceptonalism seems mythical rather than authentic. As she becomes a more pivotal character in the story, I found myself believing less and less about it.
I think I was meant to find the home invader sympathetic due to what had inspired him to act – but I did not. He absolves himself of the truly foolish choices he has made, concocts a ridiculous scheme to solve the consequences of those actions, and terriorizes a woman and two young children to see that unlikely- to- work scheme come to fruition. In real life, his plan would have been more likely to backfire than succeed and only the magic of fiction gives his scheme any credence.
While I can’t go into details, I do agree with the author’s overriding point that in a just society, the villain’s problem wouldn’t have existed.
My Darling Husband is an adrenaltin rush of a book, a summer action blockbuster style novel – entertaining while it lasts, but not something that stands up to deep scrutiny. You are so engaged throughout though, that the flaws don’t really detract from the tale till you set it down. I would recommend it to fans looking for thrills (action) over chills (mystery).
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I've been an avid reader since 2nd grade and discovered romance when my cousin lent me Lord of La Pampa by Kay Thorpe in 7th grade. I currently read approximately 150 books a year, comprised of a mix of Young Adult, romance, mystery, women's fiction, and science fiction/fantasy.