It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

It's Always the Husband

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump. How did things come to this?As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you...

Title:It's Always the Husband
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1250081807
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:320 pages

It's Always the Husband Reviews

  • Linda

    That bridge. That night.

    Bridges tend to be mighty steel fortresses spanning over raging waters. A connection, with planned intention, between one side and the other. But it wasn't just the waters spewing rage.....

    Twenty-two years earlier: Jenny, Kate, and Aubrey bring more than just their boxes and suitcases to their shared dorm room at Carlisle College in Belle River, New Hampshire. These three young women couldn't be more different in their backgrounds, social standings, and perspectives. And

    That bridge. That night.

    Bridges tend to be mighty steel fortresses spanning over raging waters. A connection, with planned intention, between one side and the other. But it wasn't just the waters spewing rage.....

    Twenty-two years earlier: Jenny, Kate, and Aubrey bring more than just their boxes and suitcases to their shared dorm room at Carlisle College in Belle River, New Hampshire. These three young women couldn't be more different in their backgrounds, social standings, and perspectives. And yet, they form a tightly twisted friendship that would see them through the years.

    That same friendship will be tested when one of their friends, Lucas, meets his death upon that ill-fated bridge. The girls stood on and near the bridge that night and each came away with a different glimpse of what actually took place. But all three came away with the solid bond of secrecy. Secrets buried far below within the jagged rocks.

    Fast-forward to the present and we have all three women returning to Belle River once again. Aubrey owns property and a successful yoga business. She's married to a handsome doctor. Jenny is also married and now the mayor of Belle River. Kate is married to one of Carlisle's athletes and has gone through her father's money like cold margaritas on a steaming hot summer day.

    But their paths continue to crisscross through the fields of love/hate. Survival and self-interests cause them to make choices and act on questionable circumstances. "One for all and all for one" just ain't cuttin' it these days. It would seem like those we think we know the best will be bested by the best.

    Michele Campbell presents a storyline with a lot of twists and turns. These characters do not leave you with a basket of warm fuzzies. I actually preferred the second half of the book to the first. Greed, powermongering, and relentless behavior have a front row seat here. I'm curious to think of what Campbell has in mind for her next spinout on human nature. Mmmmm......

    I received a copy of It's Always the Husband through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to Michele Campbell for the oportunity.

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    This was a read that requires a difficult review. I'm torn down the middle as the first half and the second half seemed like completely different books. While scoping out reviews via Goodreads, I have found what seems to be a central thought regarding this story; the book appears to be marketed to the wrong crowd. If I hadn't been made aware that my expectations were leading me in a false direction, I probably would have been sorely disappointed in this book as well. This isn't a criticism towar

    This was a read that requires a difficult review. I'm torn down the middle as the first half and the second half seemed like completely different books. While scoping out reviews via Goodreads, I have found what seems to be a central thought regarding this story; the book appears to be marketed to the wrong crowd. If I hadn't been made aware that my expectations were leading me in a false direction, I probably would have been sorely disappointed in this book as well. This isn't a criticism toward the author; she has no say in how the publishers and PR decide to project her work. I'm hoping by addressing an uncomfortable subject that this will lead the right readers to pick up this book and enjoy the story as is.

    Right off the bat I could tell that Campbell has experience in the Ivy League circuit; her knowledge is abundantly evident in her writing and she crafted three of the most privileged characters I have experienced in years. I was completely sold on the credibility of this story; my only issue with the first half was that the pacing is a bit slow. The characterization is heavy here, and I appreciate that, but the lack of plot development almost made me put it down. However, right at about that 50% mark we start taking off and things get rolling! I was completely sucked in for the final half; the ending was not predictable but I had to sleep on it and wrestle it a bit before I really took to it. Once I sat on it, I appreciated how the author weaved together the ending and could see evidence of such from the beginning. This was a fantastic example of how unlikeable characters pitted against each other can really ramp up your pulse and keep you from turning out the light due to needing to read "just one more chapter".

    As I mentioned above, I think readers who are expecting breathtaking suspense and high paced action will be disappointed; this is not the book for you. Those who enjoy heavy characterization with lighter suspense and a dramatic ending will thoroughly enjoy this; I'd go as far as classifying this more as domestic fiction with a side of suspense. Hopefully this clears the air for some future readers and draws the right person to devour this deliciously deceitful book. As it's a quick read, I can see

    being a solid choice to bring on your summer vacation.

  • Meredith

    Aubrey, Kate, and Jenny meet at prestigious Carlisle College in New Hampshire. Aubrey is a poor scholarship kid who is desperate for approval. Jenny is a self-righteous overachiever who is always cleaning up everyone’s messes. Kate is a charismatic New Yorker who draws Aubrey and Jenny into her web. The three become “BFF,” but they are more like frenemies than true friends. The trio takes part in a scandalous event their freshmen year that binds them together for life. Fast-forward 20 years late

    Aubrey, Kate, and Jenny meet at prestigious Carlisle College in New Hampshire. Aubrey is a poor scholarship kid who is desperate for approval. Jenny is a self-righteous overachiever who is always cleaning up everyone’s messes. Kate is a charismatic New Yorker who draws Aubrey and Jenny into her web. The three become “BFF,” but they are more like frenemies than true friends. The trio takes part in a scandalous event their freshmen year that binds them together for life. Fast-forward 20 years later, and their secret leads to murder.

    It’s Always the Husband just didn’t work for me. I feel like this book has potential—I like the premise, but something is lacking –I’m not sure if it is the unlikeable underdeveloped characters, the uneven plotting, or the slow pace, but I couldn’t embrace this book.

  • Melissa

    My feelings were at constant battle through this arduous undertaking. More than a few times, I had to ask myself, was I really enjoying this story, despite my lack of interest in

    of the characters? Was the convoluted storyline worth dealing with this callous cast of wannabe friends? I guess my answer has to be, yes. Despite my indifference,

    kept me turning the pages and that instinct to constantly monitor my remaining page-count didn’t kick in, immediately. So, for those reasons an

    My feelings were at constant battle through this arduous undertaking. More than a few times, I had to ask myself, was I really enjoying this story, despite my lack of interest in

    of the characters? Was the convoluted storyline worth dealing with this callous cast of wannabe friends? I guess my answer has to be, yes. Despite my indifference,

    kept me turning the pages and that instinct to constantly monitor my remaining page-count didn’t kick in, immediately. So, for those reasons and for the sake of my own sanity, I’m settling with a middle-of-the-road rating. A 3 star—I kept turning the pages, but I’m glad it’s over—rating.

    At the heart of this story is three

    different women. Women that claim to have been friends for over 20 years, since establishing a connection at the elite Carlisle College their freshman year, when they were dubbed the Whipple Triplets. Kate, Jenny and Aubrey, pledge loyalty and promise to never hurt one another, but it doesn't take long to see,

    . It’s pretty obvious from the start, or at least it was to me, they were frenemies, at best: jealous-ass snobs, sad followers, liars and weak women willing to do anything, for the right price, at their worst.

    Usually there’s something intriguing about a cast of unlikeables or unreliable narrators, but not so much this time. I can honestly say, I despised every single one of these women and the men that found themselves wrapped up in this mess. There were no redeeming qualities for me to cling on to or anything even interesting enough to garner attention. At very top of that list was Kate.

    I spent the majority of the story scratching my head at the very fact that people worshipped Kate. Bowed down to her. Followed the leader with no hesitation.

    What was I missing? I failed to see what anyone saw in her. Was it simply because she was pretty? Or could it be her family’s money and privilege, the drugs she always had access to, her slutty behavior or maybe it was her blasé attitude? It couldn’t be because she was nice or ever did anything noteworthy for anyone else. Oh wait, she did pick Jenny and Aubrey up from the airport once—

    Whatever it was, the author failed to sell me on Kate and that’s the major source of my discontent, considering the crux of the story surrounds her. Kate didn’t care about

    and in my eyes, didn’t deserve the loyalty she so blindly received, so how was I supposed to care what happened to her? After everything, let’s be honest, she kind of had it coming. What goes around, comes around, right? Is an eye for an eye

    harsh? Or what about the old adage, karma's a bitch?

    The second half of the story is stronger, more interesting, the pace certainly picks up. And that ending, what can I say—pretty unexpected—or wait, was it though?

  • James

    3 out of 5 stars to

    , a new thriller and suspense novel set to release to the public on May 16, 2017, by

    . It's a quick-read with a few slow spot, but keeps you guessing all throughout the chapters, almost playing a bit of Russian Roulette with who's behind the whole plot.

    I saw it pop up on a few Goodreads reviews. I looked on NetGalley and thought it sounded like a strong psychological thriller. I was awarded the book in lieu of a fair and

    3 out of 5 stars to

    , a new thriller and suspense novel set to release to the public on May 16, 2017, by

    . It's a quick-read with a few slow spot, but keeps you guessing all throughout the chapters, almost playing a bit of Russian Roulette with who's behind the whole plot.

    I saw it pop up on a few Goodreads reviews. I looked on NetGalley and thought it sounded like a strong psychological thriller. I was awarded the book in lieu of a fair and honest review, which is always the case with me. And who wouldn't be curious about a book with this title?

    Kate, Jenny and Aubrey were roommates their freshmen year in a New England college. Each girl came from a different background: Kate was a rich NY trust fund girl. Jenny was a townie who wanted to get out badly. Aubrey came from Vegas with little support from her family. Somehow, they form a bond and remain friends over the course of 22 years. The book alternates between when they were 18 and when they turned 40, covering different boys they date, men they marry and the secrets they keep from each other. During that freshmen year, something awful happened, which sent Kate running out of the country. But when they all re-connect years later, the details of the night begin to unravel, especially when someone else ends up dead. This is the story of friendship and enemies, love and hate, secrets and revenge.

    The book is told in third-person limited omniscient, carefully navigating from character to character, telling the events as they were unfolding or did so in the past. It covers two distinct time periods: when they were 18 and freshmen and when they're about to turn 40. It's always clear which time period you're in, but not in an overt way.

    The book starts off with someone taking a walk on a bridge. You soon learn this person is being forced off the bridge. And then something happens, but your not sure what it is. Then the real story begins, describing how the girls meet and the subsequent events that occur throughout their lives. You never re-visit that scene in the present time, rather re-live in through each character who was involved via memories and dialogue, explaining what they thought happened.

    But in the end, you will clearly piece it all back together -- you know who was behind the entire situation. Cleverly told in small pieces, you learn just enough to keep your mind guessing... and when you tie in the title, you'll keep asking yourself which husband killed someone, but you're not entirely sure as there are many of them it could have been.

    1. Each of the 3 girls are very clear and distinct. You can picture them, you understand their motivation and you know what is likely going to be their downfall.

    2. The men are less important, mostly as catalysts to help propel the relationship growing between the women. But as background characters, they all have a certain appeal, be it positive or negative. You get a sense of real people with real problems in most cases.

    3. The suspense and timing is strong. The bounce back between periods keeps your mind guessing, even up until the very end when you have 3 pages left and are still waiting to figure out exactly what happened that final night for the victim.

    1. These girls did not like each other and I don't buy their friendship. For one thing, Kate was an uptight trust fund baby who tried to play it off like she wasn't. But she was. There is no way Jenny would be friends with her. Jenny even sparred with her the first few scenes and chapters, to the point where you question why they stayed together as roommates and then as friends. I struggled to believe they would help each other. Aubrey was definitely the glue, and given where she came from, she needed both of them to help propel her life forward. But I really think they would have had other people in their lives to prevent the disaster of their relationship as a triad.

    2. The story with the new cop seemed to come from nowhere and go nowhere. He wasn't very likable. He had no connections except to Kate, which was very unclear. Felt like extra fluff, just to cause readers to not guess the actual mystery.

    3. Something is just missing from this story. It's got lots of good parts. Some of it felt a little disconnected. And I was waiting for a bigger surprise payoff. I was surprised with the final overall explanation. I guessed part of it about 50% thru the book. But it felt like so much time was spent throwing readers off from guessing the details, when a little more should have been spent tying things together a little more closely with some additional emotions, connections and struggles.

    It's in the vain of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. It's a bit more about the friendships between the 3 girls rather than a focus entirely on problems between a husband and wife; although, that does play a significant role given the number of affairs happening over the course of the 22 year period.

    As for thrillers and suspense, it certainly has some. The biggest issue was that the 3 girls weren't all that likable... too much dependency on drugs and alcohol which made me really question why I cared who died and who was the killer. I'm all for drugs and alcohol in books, to match the realities of life, and to help propel the plot... but it felt like 80% of the characters relied on it to move the day forward rather than a background to the emotional and mental drama brewing within the extended group of friends. And that's how I felt about the book. Too much extraneous and not enough focus on the missing years. So much could have happened and caused the tensions when they turned 40, but little of it was ever front and center.

    That said, it's a quick read... 4 hours, and has some great character development and intrigue as far as which person died, who is hiding what and how will this all end. You only know parts of the final death scene in the beginning and that's what keeps you holding on throughout the rest of the book.

    For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at

    , where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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  • Arah-Lynda

    Three young women with very diverse backgrounds and personalities find themselves thrust together as college roommates and form a small, exclusive clique.  This is the story of those college years and how that experience and the events that transpired there, have coloured the rest of their lives.

    Sound familiar?

    Actually that was one of the things I liked about this book cause remembering the whole

    experience put a big smile on my face.

    Trust me it faded quickly.  And it’s not t

    Three young women with very diverse backgrounds and personalities find themselves thrust together as college roommates and form a small, exclusive clique.  This is the story of those college years and how that experience and the events that transpired there, have coloured the rest of their lives.

    Sound familiar?

    Actually that was one of the things I liked about this book cause remembering the whole

    experience put a big smile on my face.

    Trust me it faded quickly.  And it’s not that the characters were unlikeable or that I could not relate.  No, I am happy, as a reader,  to embrace truly despicable characters.  But you gotta pull me in, give me something, convince me they are real.  Give them depth, invest my interest somewhere, with someone or something.  Wrong or right make me care about what happens.

    Sadly that did not happen here.  I read the story and was like meh, what’s next?  

    I gotta say I also found the book blurb and it’s tie in to the title way too tricksy, cutesy.  :)

    Perhaps if I had not already read

    , I would not be as critical, but I cannot help but think…………... If you are going to take on a contemporary masterpiece then you had better, bloody well bring it!

    My thanks to St Martin’s Press, NetGalley and Michele Campbell for the opportunity to read this advance copy.  Publication date May 16, 2017.

  • Susanne Strong

    3.25 Stars* (rounded down)

    I'm not sure these ladies are the kinds of friends most people would like to have around: Two faced and fake. "It's Always the Husband" is the story of three women who were College Freshman Roomies and are so-called "Best Friends": Kate, Jenny and Aubrey. Their friendship is a hollow one. They don't actually like each other, yet if you asked them they would exclaim that they loved each other desperately and were the best of friends. In truth, their friendship is based o

    3.25 Stars* (rounded down)

    I'm not sure these ladies are the kinds of friends most people would like to have around: Two faced and fake. "It's Always the Husband" is the story of three women who were College Freshman Roomies and are so-called "Best Friends": Kate, Jenny and Aubrey. Their friendship is a hollow one. They don't actually like each other, yet if you asked them they would exclaim that they loved each other desperately and were the best of friends. In truth, their friendship is based on an obsession over one of the three women: Kate. She is wild and crazy. Drug and alcohol fueled and completely self absorbed. She doesn't care about anyone but herself. And that makes her elusive. And loved. Everyone loves Kate, yet they hate her all at the same time. It's a dichotomy wrapped in an enigma.

    Jenny is one of Kate's best friends. Nowadays, Jenny is the mayor of the town they all went to College in. Jenny has always been the problem solver. The one to make everything better. She is always in control and has power over a lot of people. And she loves it. And when she loses her grasp? Well, it's not good.

    In College, Aubrey was a mess. Tattered & flighty, relying on everyone else to take care of her. She idolized Kate. She wanted to be her. And was jealous of her boyfriend Griff. And for the most part, Kate didn't mind. Now, Aubrey has her life together. She is a Yoga Instructor and is calm, cool and collected - until Kate returns to town, that is.

    As for Kate, she was never happy with anything she had - even though she had everything. She has always been sexy and beautiful and has had friends and all the drugs, alcohol and money she could want. And men? They chased after her. Nothing has ever made her happy, until she met Lucas and then she became obsessed with him. And then everything fell apart. Years later, Kate and her husband return to their old College town. Then things go awry. She leaves destruction in her wake. Her life and the lives of everyone around her, will never be the same.

    "It's Always The Husband" is an entertaining story by Michelle Campbell. It held my interest but it couldn't make up for one major problem: none of the characters were even remotely likeable. Kate had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. How anyone could be obsessed with her was completely beyond me. Further, Jenny was pretty heartless and Aubrey was vapid and wishy-washy. My inability to like or connect with the characters made it impossible for me to really like the story. Though the ending contained a few twists and turns, it wasn't enough.

    Published on Goodreads and Amazon on 6.18.17.

  • Daniel Balici

    by Michele Campbell is a 2017 St. Martin's Press publication. The interesting choice of title and the gorgeous cover aroused my interest in this novel. In my opinion, the storyline idea, albeit decent and promising, is not uncommon when it comes to the mystery fiction. The surprising aspect of this book given the genre it belongs to is the sophisticated and elaborate writing style. When I read

    , for example, I was bitterly disap

    by Michele Campbell is a 2017 St. Martin's Press publication. The interesting choice of title and the gorgeous cover aroused my interest in this novel. In my opinion, the storyline idea, albeit decent and promising, is not uncommon when it comes to the mystery fiction. The surprising aspect of this book given the genre it belongs to is the sophisticated and elaborate writing style. When I read

    , for example, I was bitterly disappointed with the immature writing, whereas Michele Campbell's mystery left me with the impression that it was a little overwritten. Initially I must admit I was caught up in the heavy characterization and the in-depth analysis of the protagonists' mentalities. However, as the story progressed, I started to slighly lose my concentration on what was going on in the book due to the fact that I felt exhausted by the vast amount of detailed information and the rather difficult vocabulary used by the author. Regarding the suspense, it built gradually and culminated in an anticipated revelation, taking into consideration the title. I believe that neither the suspense nor the mystery played a key role in this book. To be honest,

    was all about the female characters and the dynamics of the apparent friendship between the three.

    The novel comprises two parts which differ considerably one from another. Aside from the minor change of pace, in the first half of the book we are provided with everything we need to know about the setting, the characters' personality traits, their backgrounds, the beginnings of their friendship and the events that have caused conflicts between them, whereas the second half partly resembles a police procedural. The story is told entirely in third-person and moves between past - when Kate, Aubrey and Jenny were freshman students at Carlisle College - and present - when the three women are in their 40s and all of them married.

    Michele Campbell did a great job of creating a cast of unlikeable and obnoxious characters. Even though the female protagonists are strongly individualized throughout the entire story, they appeared a little stereotypical to me, especially in the first few chapters. Kate is a New Yorker coming from a very wealthy family. She lost her ill mother at an early stage in life and has always had a difficult relationship with her father who has disapproved of her chaotic lifestyle. Kate is beautiful, mean, materialistic, indifferent, manipulative, complicated and somehow everyone gravitates towards her. I think that her destiny perfectly illustrates the saying

    . Jenny is the intelligent, conscientious, calculated, opportunist, controlling type of woman. She has a competitive mindset and is capable of lying and betrayal in order to attain her objectives. Given all these traits, it is not surprising that she became the mayor of Belle River. As a freshman student, Aubrey was poor, naive and easily influenced by others. She idolized Kate and behaved similarly to her. While reading the first part of the book, I found Aubrey very antipathetic and foolish. Subsequently, she slightly grew on me because she was the only one between the three female characters who underwent a visible development. She has learnt that her so-called friends are untrustworthy and in reality they have never truly cared about her and regarded her as a person inferior to them.

    In conclusion,

    is a challenging read that requires patience and full attention. I enjoyed the manner in which this slow-paced mystery was written and the fact that it managed to maintain my interest despite of the lack of action. If you like a book in the mystery genre that centers predominantly around the characters and the toxic relationships established between them and less around the crimes, Michele Campbell's debut might prove an excellent choice.

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