As I'm sure you know, I'm a huge fan of audiobooks -- you might even call me an addict. They get me through sleepless nights, enliven boring car journeys, and sometimes entertain me while I'm cooking the lunch. A few years ago I took out a subscription to Audible, which should be enough to feed my addiction, but I'm happy to say that I now get offered credits for forthcoming releases. The Loving Husband was one such -- I'd never heard of Christobel Kent, though I now know she has published one other psychological thriller, The Crooked House, and a series of crime novels set in Italy.
Well, it's always good to discover a new author, and I was completely sucked in to The Loving Husband. As the title suggests, this is a domestic thriller, and raises the perennial, potentially disturbing, question of how well we really know the people we share our lives with.
Set in that part of England known as the Fens, a flat, waterlogged agricultural area, the novel centres on Fran Hall, a young married woman with a five year old daughter and a small baby. With her husband Nathan, she has moved from London where she had an enjoyable job and a group of friends, to a large, somewhat dilapidated and decidedly gloomy farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. As the novel begins, Fran is woken in the night by the crying of her baby, and finds Nathan is gone. Desperately worried, she goes out into the dark countryside and discovers her husband's body in a nearby field. Who on earth would want to kill the seemingly mild and blameless Nathan?
Of course as the days go by, Fran comes to realise that the man she has shared her life with has a secret life of which she knew nothing. Indeed, all her certainties start to crumble away and she becomes increasingly desperate. And what's worse is that the police -- a very unpleasant bunch on the whole -- clearly suspect her of Nathan's murder. And, in fact, we can see why they might -- Fran has been keeping some secrets of her own.
This is a real page-turner, or whatever the audio equivalent of that might be. I enjoyed every minute, and have already bought Christobel Kent's earlier novel on Kindle. Highly recommended.