Wednesday 8 February 2023

How To Keep A Husband For 10 Days by Jessica Hatch

 

I was provided with a review copy of this book via NetGalley. 
How To Keep A Husband For 10 Days releases February 8th! 
(In other words it is available now.)



Pretending to be married to the man you were married to… How hard can it be?!

When Lina’s oldest friends unexpectedly announce they’re coming to stay, she has to think fast. No one knows she and her husband Brown are breaking up, and so she persuades him to act as if they aren’t… After all, how hard can it be to pretend to be married for ten days?

Turns out, a lot harder than she thought. On day one, she strikes so many couple poses that she throws her back out. On day two, she gets muscle spasms from smiling too hard at her husband’s jokes. On day three, she almost has a heart attack when she puts her hand far too high up his thigh at the dinner table. And on day four, when she accidentally grazes Brown’s lips when aiming for his cheek, she almost passes out in the middle of the restaurant.

By day five, Lina is starting to realise there’s a thin line between love and hate. And while she can try to fool her friends, she can’t fool her heart. Was she too hasty calling time on her marriage? Is this more than make believe? And does she even have enough time to find out if Brown feels the same?


I picked up this book because I liked the premise and the publisher billed it as an "absolutely hilarious and totally addictive romcom perfect for fans of Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis, Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners, and Emily Henry."
I love Ali Hazelwood and everyone raves about Christina Lauren and Emily Henry so I thought, cool!

Needless to say, the book did not live up to expectations in any way shape or form.

First of all, it wasn't funny! Second of all, romance was thin on the ground. Call me picky but both are key ingredients of a romcom. If I personally had to characterise this book, I'd class it as women's fiction - and you know what? Women's fiction is fine! I enjoy women's fiction! But don't hand me women's fiction when I'm expecting a romcom. That's a massive no-no.

However, the miscategorisation/misselling of the book was not my biggest problem.

My main issue with the book was Lina whose pov the story is told from.
The woman was a neurotic nightmare!
She's a lawyer - a divorce lawyer - yet she is incapable of speaking to her husband about the niggles that are upsetting her and which gradually build into an intolerable situation - in her head. Rather than act like a rational human being and speak to her husband she issues him divorce papers and changes the locks. The fuck? Less than a week from separation to filing for divorce. 
And to make it worse? As the book unfolds you find out that the husband - Brown - doesn't even know what the break-up was over! He assumed it was over whether or not to have a baby!!! 

Seriously... Lina needs more therapy than she is already getting in this book. Brown... Is a bloody sweetheart whose only crime was being oblivious to his wife counting the days that the bed went unmade or other such minor offences! If she'd spoken to him about all her niggles it was obvious he would have broken himself to fix them and make her happy.
The woman brought on absolutely everything herself and therefore I found myself completely unsympathetic towards her and actively disliked her more than once.

Another issue the book had was that the sub-plot of saving their old apartment building (owned by a close friend) overrode the saving the marriage plot. Saving the building may as well have been the focus of the story!

The writer's style is quite... I dunno. Unengaging? There is no charm, wit or warmth in the writing. It's beige. Basic. And there is a complete overuse of the word "musk" when describing people's smell. 

Final gripe - the cover doesn't match the characters! It's an illustrated cover - so you think they could have at least got the physical basics correct - but no. We have a redhead (when Lina is a brunette) and a brunette dude (when Brown is a curly-haired blonde). Granted this annoyance doesn't reflect on the story but it was the cherry on top of a craptastic cake, for me.

Okay... I'm conscious that this review has been a negative rant so I want to finish with some positive points.
I appreciated the realistic depiction of a long-term relationship. It doesn't matter how much two people love each other things will - at least on occasion - drive you crazy and test you. Relationships are not always effortless, they require work, and the author hit the nail on the head of what happens when you fail to appreciate things from each other's pov and actively communicate. 
The author's depiction of friendships and how they change and evolve over time was also well done.
Finally, I appreciated that although things worked out for Lina and Brown there was no perfect fix and they had to work for it, and I was happily surprised with the outcome of the "save the building" campaign as it was also realistic.

All in all... I think this is likely my first and final Jessica Hatch book. 




 
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6 comments

  1. Humor is subjective, but this sounds unfunny. Sorry it was such a disappointment. And, you haven't read CLo yet? Their books are good (for real)

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  2. I've noticed a lot of women's fiction are being marketed as romcoms lately. I like both, but I like to know what i'm getting into!

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  3. Sorry to hear you didn't like this one more.

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  4. Yikes. A rom-com that isn't funny and doesn't have a solid romance? No thank you. I feel like publishers are slapping the rom-com label on everything and doing so many books a disservice.

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  5. I believe in love in a week, but not to divorce in a week. Ugh. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  6. I am SO tired of the romcom bait and switch. One snarky line and a romantic entanglement does not a romcom make.

    Be honest and find the right readers for your book! It will be more successful that way.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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