Finally today – I have a review for you on the blog tour of A Second-Hand Husband by Claire Calman, a brilliant, funny and enjoyable story of one woman’s battle to fit in…………
about a second hand husband
Natalie and Carl are newlyweds, but the honeymoon period is over already.
Carl has just announced he has bought their first home at auction without telling Natalie where it is, never mind showing her a picture of it.
Natalie is horrified to discover that the dream home is in Little Wyford, mere minutes away from Carl’s ex-wife Antonia. And to make matters worse, Antonia’s palatial country mansion has a fully-functioning roof (and a heated swimming pool!), unlike the ramshackle cottage Carl has bought for them…
Antonia is Little Wyford’s Queen Bee, mistress of the book club, organiser of the Christmas Fair and leader of the ladies-who-lunch. No matter how hard she tries, Natalie just doesn’t fit in, and when Antonia insists on referring to Carl as ‘Our Husband’, Natalie’s dreams of happily-ever-after take another nose dive.
Second-hand furniture has much to recommend it, especially when doing up a country cottage, second-hand clothes can be ever-so chic, but second-hand husbands are proving to be a very bad idea indeed… Can Natalie ever escape the label of Wife Number Two or is she destined to share her husband forever?
Hilariously funny, wickedly witty, but with a heart of gold and a warmth and wisdom that are all its own, A Second-Hand Husband is Claire Calman’s tour de force.
Natalie and Carl are still in their honeymoon period – literally. After a whirlwind romance they’re happy and looking for their dream home. But when Carl phones to tell Nat he’s found THE house and bought it at auction….then hangs up, Nat is beside herself. She has no idea where it is or what it looks like – and what about all the plans they had of finding it together?!
Little does she know that the house is literally down the road from Carl’s ex-wife Antonia, and his kids. She knows she’ll have to deal with it – living by the kids WAS her idea after all, but with Antonia being queen of the village, glamorous and adored by all, Nat wonders if she’ll ever fit in. And the more time she spends in the village and at their cottage, the more she doubts things…..but will her marriage to Carl survive? And will she ever find her place in the village?
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Nat is such a warm and wonderful character with a heart of gold but crippling self-consciousness. She doesn’t believe in herself at all and despite the fact that runs her own business and is successful, has a really low opinion of herself. And her Husband Carl really doesn’t help the situation! He, on the other hand, is not loving and warm and doesn’t really have a particular excuse for it. Despite the fact that Nat has been through some stuff when she was younger, she’s still truly lovely. All the way through I just wanted her to see how fantastic she really was, and it’s lovely to watch her grow. Carl…well I just wanted to give him a proper boot up the bum sometimes! And his ex-wife Antonia…..well she’s not particularly likeable to start with. I’m not sure I could put up with her, especially with the things she comes out with! However, we do get to learn a bit more about her later on, and I’ll let you make up your own minds on whether your feelings change!
I love the setting. The author does a brilliant job of bringing everything to life. The little ramshackle cottage and the refurbishments as they take place, the duck pond in the garden, Antonia’s amazingly wonderful and modern house, and the lovely little village. I also loved that it was set in Kent and was delighted to learn that the little village is loosely based upon a village 10 minutes up the road from my house!
I really enjoyed the storyline and can actually see something like this happening in real life (although I’d like to think any real life Nat would stamp the behaviour out before it got going!). Parts of this had me laughing, others I just felt for Nat so much, and then at other times I was fuming!
So if you’re looking for a brilliant, heart warming story that will get your emotions going, make you chuckle, give you a loveable protagonist and a gorgeous setting, then this is for you. Highly recommended by me. I’m looking forward to reading more from Claire in the future.
about the author
Claire Calman is a writer and broadcaster known for her novels that combine wit and pathos, including the bestseller Love is a Four-Letter Word. She has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Loose Ends. Her first book for Boldwood was published in June 2020.
follow the tour
Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour, and the author, publisher and Netgalley for a copy of the book. All views and opinions are my own.
Well that’s it for today lovelies but I’ll be back tomorrow!