Center focuses on loss, grief, and rebuilding one’s life in The Lost Husband after Libby’s husband dies in a car accident. I had a very polarized reaction to this book, and I mean polarized within myself. I both loved it and hated it, and here’s why.
The Lost Husband and The Heroine
Libby is our heroine in The Lost Husband, and I want to start this by saying I’m not a mother to human children.
Libby’s character annoyed the crap out of me. She is constantly worried something is going to happen to her kids. While I understand she just faced the death of her husband, and her daughter, Abby, was in the car at the time of the accident as well, but I still found it annoying. It was almost as if her worrying was a caricature of herself.
Libby is also confronted by snobbish women from her past life in a scene at a farmer’s market, and she hides in the bathroom. It was a prime opportunity for her to tell those women off, and when she doesn’t, it’s like she let me down. Maybe I’ve just read too many “novels with a strong female character.”
The Hero and The Sidekicks
This is where it got really strange for me. Our hero is referred to by his last name, O’Connor, and is accompanied by goat-farm owner, Jean. Libby is Jean’s niece, and when Libby is faced with rebuilding her life, Jean writes her a letter to come live on and work the goat farm.
I don’t do spoilers, so bear with me. There is a conspiracy between Jean and her boyfriend, Russ, to get O’Connor and Libby together. This all comes together at the end of the book, and it’s rushed, leaving me to feel it was very contrived. I didn’t need that part. The romance could have just happened naturally, and I would have been like okay, cool.
There’s also a backstory to Libby and Jean that lacked punch. While I enjoyed the set up, it left me feeling like a deflated balloon when it was revealed. There was no dramatics. There was no big emotional pull. Compared to Center’s other books is was just okay.
The Part That Grabbed Me By The Throat
I have already started re-reading this book, and here’s why. The way Center grapples with the idea of grief and starting over hit me right in the solar plexus. I’m not going to say what it is because I want you to read this book. It took the idea of losing someone and turned it right upside down. The very last sentence of this book will play over and over again in my mind on repeat for eternity.
The reason this spoke to me is my life is riddled with loss at a very young age. This book HAUNTS me now with the idea that I’ve been wrong about loss this whole time. It leaves me to wonder how I can change my own perspective. I love when a book does that!
If you’ve faced any kind of loss in your life, I highly recommend you read this book.
The Lost Husband Will Always Be a Recommended Read
I will always recommend this women’s fiction book to someone asking me for their next favorite read. As I’ve always said, books are subjective. This book is the very epitome of that. I don’t know how someone else might respond to this story of love and loss, and I want to know! Center is a brilliant, talented writer for crafting a book of such nuance and ever-changing nature. She had me arguing with myself over this book, and while parts of it annoyed the crap out of me, it left me rethinking the entire universe.
Go read this book.