Release date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Little Brown
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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.
Every spring/summer there is a small group of authors that release new books that I buy solely based on their name on the cover alone. I don’t care what the blurb says or what the cover looks like, I just know I’ll be reading it and I’ll most likely love it and find myself recommending it as a must read. Think Elin Hilderbrand, Kristy Woodson Harvey and Emily Giffin. This may be my first Jamie Brenner read, but if her previous and future books are as fantastically well written and engaging as The Husband Hour was, (and I’ve heard they are!) then she’ll most certainly be on my little list.
While this book is truly Lauren’s story and I had the strongest connection with her it’s also a story about the other women in her immediate family, her mom Beth and her sister Stephanie and I love nothing more than a story about a family of strong women with complex lives. Lauren is a twenty nine year old widow, just typing that out makes me sad, and five years after Rory’s death she’s still grieving, hard. Brenner’s portrayal of a woman dealing with the aftermath of losing her spouse was incredibly moving and woefully raw. She made me feel all of the feelings and I was so rooting for just a little slice of happiness in Lauren’s life. The documentary about Rory’s life forces her to examine their marriage with a sharp lens and face some hard truths and there were some surprising revelations that I was totally not expecting but appreciated all the same.
Besides the emotional component this also explored some important issues that impact military personnel and their families. I don’t want to say too much, but Brenner examined these issues in a way that educated me and made me really think on a deeper level. This one has it all, highly recommended by me and I have a feeling it’ll be on several summer reading lists in the months to come.
The Husband Hour in three words: Moving, Insightful and Heartfelt.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.