10 May 2013

Book Review: The Foster Husband by Pippa Wright

"Kate left her seaside home town of Lyme Regis for the bright lights of London when she was eighteen, and never looked back. She had it all: the glamorous career, the lovely house, the gorgeous husband. But now she’s back: unemployed, separated, and holed up in her dead granny’s bungalow. Worse still, she’s forced to share the bungalow with Ben, the clueless and domestically challenged fiancĂ© of her bossy sister Prue. Ben is a man in need of simple instruction. And Kate is a woman in need of a project. So she decides to secretly train Ben, her foster husband, as a selfless pre-wedding gift to her sister. But Kate may still have a few lessons of her own to learn…"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Foster Husband as a paperback or an eBook now.

I've read both of Pippa Wright's previous novels, and they have been funny, laugh-out-loud books that have been a pleasure to read. However, when I read the synopsis for The Foster Husband , I thought it sounded like it was going to be a bit more of a serious read, and I was right. I actually enjoyed reading something more serious in nature from Wright, and it shows that she certainly has more strings to her bow than just excellent comedy writing. I also have to comment on how gorgeous the book cover is - I love the colours and think it's a really striking cover look, a big well done to the designers from me, it's a gorgeous cover.

Kate was happy to leave her childhood hometown of Lyme Regis when she was a young girl, but now an adult with her own independent life, she suddenly finds herself back home, and trying to live outside of everyone else's whispers and gossip about her private life, and why she's returned home. She also finds herself with a new flatmate in the form of her sister Prue's fiancé Ben, who is pretty clueless about living with someone and general life etiquette! Kate decides it's time to sharpen Ben up, to train him to be the perfect husband for her sister... and all without him knowing it. But is Kate doing this to be distracted from the disaster that is her own love life? Also, what's the secret she's run away to Lyme Regis with - something that threatens Kate's future happiness for the rest of her life....

I have to say something because I feel it's really important about the book. While it's called The Foster Husband and the synopsis makes out that this is the main story within the book, I would have to disagree and say that the foster husband part of it with Ben is a mere subplot, only really begins when you're about halfway into the book and doesn't actually seem all that important once you reach the end of the book. In fact, I'm a bit puzzled as to why it's pushed so heavily in both the title and the blurb, but there you are. Maybe its a title that will draw readers in but it is perhaps a tad misleading, which were my thoughts once I had finished it and thought about it. That being said, I have to confess that I did really enjoy the book, and the way it was written. The book jumps about in time, from the present day with Kate in Lyme Regis, and then to her past, in her old glamorous job, meeting her husband to the eventual collapse of her marriage which then brings us back to the present day. This allows Wright to slowly and carefully construct Kate's past, and it's fun reading how things happen for her with Matthew, her eventual husband, and I enjoyed the pacing of these parts a lot.

I  really enjoyed reading about Kate, she was quite a puzzling character and she keeps things to herself, including what has happened in her marriage to make her flee back home and to a past she would rather forget. You know that things have happened in her past as well, when she was younger that affects her because of how she is with people, but again Wright holds these things back from us and we're left guessing  I really enjoyed this aspect of the book because I enjoyed trying to figure out Kate and what had happened, and I have to say I didn't guess the eventual outcome, and I thought it was brilliantly written and handled by Wright, and the way she allowed the characters to deal with it, and it all comes in a very emotionally raw scene with Kate.

Kate was very much a loner in the book, and the only other characters we meet in the book are her husband Matthew, in the flashbacks mainly, her sister Prue, her parents and childhood friend Eddy. While the book is sparse on main and supporting characters, it doesn't seem to matter because all I cared about was Kate and her story, and finding out exactly what had happened to make her how she was. Wright handles her characters really well, and I found her writing really brought me into the book, describing emotions, places and actions so clearly that you can really visualize things as they happen in the book. I thought the portrayals of all of Kate's relationships in the book were excellent, and certainly a highlight of the book for me. In fact, the whole story was a joy to read, and while I thought the foster husband plot was a good sub-plot and allowed for a bit of humour and a break from the other emotional parts, discovering what had happened with Kate was far more interesting and drew me right in, not wanting to stop reading until the end. Wright handles a more serious and emotional story with ease, and it was an excellent read that I will highly recommend.

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