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My Husband the Stranger Another audio read where I have to say I do usually become uite distracted Although I do love to listen when I am on my work commute This was a little bit sinister a little twisty A slow burn but nothing overly exciting Molly and Alex are madly in love but Alex's twin seems to hover around whether in physical proximity or not Alex suffers a brain injury after an accident and we see the tragic difference of the before and after This difference is uite severe and Molly is a saint in her loving care She is working very hard to pay the bills and care for her husband which is increasingly difficult her boss is terribly uncaring and her husband eually difficult and just so different difficult and aggressive Very well written Molly's support network were a loving bunch and her determination to do the right thing made for sensitive and empathetic writing My first experience of this author I will read her again if the occasion arises Book reviews and at wwwsnazzybookscom Well I sped through this book with many tears My Husband The Stranger is a contemporary novel that isn't a romance as such it isn't a completely feel good read but it also has elements of happiness and positivism too It's a mixture of many emotions and feelings and I really enjoyed itThe writing is great with the author managing to completely suck me in The novel is set in two main time periods one in the present day told from Rebecca's point of view and detailing life after Alex's accident which has left him literally a changed man and one told from Alex's point of view chronicling the time leading up to the accident Both are eually interesting to read about and are great at giving the reader a bit of insight into what both Molly and Alex's lives were like before the accident as well as after itAlex himself was a tricky character sometimes I hated him for how he treats Molly but then I had to remember that he'd suffered horrendous injuries and just wasn't the same man Molly fell in love with through no fault of his own Molly was really likeable and not too perfect she was great to read about I really felt for her as she tried to deal with everything and remain loyal and loving to her husbandI can't even imagine how I'd deal with the same situation it doesn't bear thinking about But that's exactly what this novel makes you do think about it About their situation their life their friends and family their failed hopes and dreams and how you'd feel in this situation Would I be as patient and amazing as Molly was despite having her moments of frustration or anger which when reading My Husband the Stranger you can forgive her for That's what made me sad at times during this book; I was left feeling moved and generally rather impressedThe story doesn't move at a mile a minute sometimes there isn't that much that seems to be happening but if feels like it reflects their actual lives and it's full of Molly's anguish and hopes Some parts were uite hard to read and one part which I can't say without spoiling the story to do with Alex's brother felt a little unbelievable but I felt really satisfied at the end that I'd read an entertaining and interesting novelI also really enjoyed This Secret We're Keeping read my review here and would definitely recommend that book as well as My Husband The Stranger both very different but great readsMany thanks to Penguin and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review My Husband the Stranger written by Rebecca Done is an emotional and at times a heartbreaking read Although not my normal genre this family drama encased in a love story grips you from the first page and doesn't let go There is a twist to the tale at the end but don't be fooled into thinking this is a psychological thriller as it isn't It's a slow burning love story that is hit by tragedy and how the affected characters deal with the sudden changesI'm not sure I'd have had the patience Molly showed and I truly admired her dedication to looking after her husband even when times got so bad Told through Alex's past and Molly's present day voices I very much enjoyed hearing their true emotions and I particularly liked hearing Alex's story from before the accidentI imagine the basis to this novel could easily read as someone's real life story and sadly probably does considering the many brain and memory conditions diagnosed today The author has covered the subject delicately and with genuine empathyAlthough uite slow I enjoyed reading this over a lazy weekend and it fit the bill perfectly Gentle uncomplicated and very realistic this may not be to everyone's liking especially if they are expecting a thriller but it's a solid enough read that readers of women's fiction should enjoyWith thanks to Rachel Hall for my copy of the book35 stars rounded up to 4 Not an easy read nor an upbeat read This one wrung out the emotions It's a novel that tackles the complexities of loving a totally changed person after a brain injury something that can impact moods behaviour personality and patienceAlex and Molly start off being that couple you want to be part of Disaster strikes and their lives are changed forever when Alex suffers an acuired brain injury in an awful moment Imagine the man you loved is locked up inside and everything he does and says is different to before Like you got a new husbandAlex's twin brother Graeme stays as close as possible to Molly and Alex his offers of help received with mixed feelings The clever plot takes us across two timelines the days leading up to the accident and now The author starts to weave in some uestions and before long you know everything may not be as it seemsMolly's emotional journey is uite heart breaking and powerful It's not easy for her now She cares for Alex like a carer his needs never far from her mind but what about her?Once the twists and turns start to rear their head the book engaged me much It's a bit of a slow burner this one I wasn't bored but do with some twists had popped up a bit earlier The characters are complex and you will form your own feelings toward them uickly Be prepared for some surprises as you readI found this an enjoyable read It's got depth and an interesting plot line that explores human relationships 4 stars from me for this I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley All review opinions are entirely my own and totally unbiased I enjoyed Done's first book This Secret We're Keeping about a forbidden love affair between a schoolgirl and her maths teacher this one explores the emotional aftermath of an accident that leaves husband Alex brain damaged and a stranger to his young wife Molly The story is told in a fragmented narrative Molly today Alex in the past an increasingly clichéd structure in contemporary fiction but does give us insight into the strong relationship they had before this devastating accident which seems to have deeply affected Alex's sense of identityDone writes emotional chemistry very well and picks intriguing subjects putting her protagonists into difficult situations treating them with empathy and a level of thoughtfulness However both books have a slightly melodramatic tendency here there's a touch too much going on in the background view spoiler an alcoholic father a dead mother destructive sibling rivalry hide spoiler After several years together Molly’s husband Alex has a terrible fall resulting in severe brain injury that leaves him psychologically changed from the man she married effectively a “stranger” The book contrasts their life beforehand with the daily struggle to maintain their relationship after Alex’s injuryI felt the author couldn’t uite make up her mind whether the novel was intended to be an insightful account of the impact of serious brain injury on a relationship an “against the odds” romance or a psychological thriller In the end for me it didn’t really satisfy completely in any of these respects The strongest element was definitely the description of the day to day toll on a relationship of caring for a partner who has been changed physically and psychologically by brain injury The author did a good job of conveying Molly’s conflicted feelings – sympathy and love for her husband but also rage regret and frustration at the position she finds herself in – and the mental and physical burden of caring for a person with limited hope of full recovery There are some touching moments that seem grounded in the reality of living with someone whose symptoms can change from day to day hour to hour “Just when I think I have totally lost him for a few precious moments I always find him again” I found the sections detailing Alex and Molly’s relationship before his accident a little cheesy; everything was a bit too perfect – Alex himself their wedding their life together before his accident However I appreciate the author was probably trying to build up a picture of what Molly has lost to explain why she wants to stick with Alex and hold on to the hope of an eventual recovery I found the mystery introduced towards the end of the book rather underwhelming and the reveal a little predictable To my mind the author came perilously close to “good twinevil twin” cliché in the characterisation of Alex and his brother GraemeThis was an enjoyable read with an interesting premise but I didn’t find it completely successfulI received an advance review copy courtesy of NetGalley and publishers Penguin in return for an honest review A tragic accident A terrible injury And in a moment the man you fell in love with is transformed into a total stranger How would you cope What would you do Would you be strong enough to stay But what if you found out that it wasn't an accident at all 35 StarsIt was the fascinating concept that drew me to My Husband the Stranger and it was due to my interest in the idea of the book that kept me reading to the end However having finished the book I just can't help but feeling flat I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from the story but I feel as though it could have been There were certain storyline elements that I could see coming a mile off and although I was interested in the story and it definitely was written in an engaging way and I enjoyed the writing style there was just something missing for me Graeme saw Molly first Later that same evening Alex his twin brother leaves the bar with Molly and its the start of their relationship Fastforward to now and three years after a dreadful accident Molly is still hoping that Alex will turn back into the man she fell in love with For three years ago there was a dreadful accident that caused Alex brain damage and it has drastically changed his personality He is now like a child in an adults body with some of a childish mindset but at other times incredibly angry and other times can just about show the old Alex is still deep inside him And it is for that reason that Molly is determined to stand by her man no matter what cost to herself and her own dreams potentially We get the story from two different perspective Molly in the hear and now stuck in a job she hates caring for her husband and trying to make the best of the situation and then we have chapters from Alex's point of view which are the memories of how he and Molly got together and key moments in their relationship history The story at all times kept me wondering what would happen next and ultimately what Molly would decide Graeme wants to offer them as much support as he can and it must be so weird for Molly to spend time with the twins when one of them has changed to dramatically My Husband the Stranger certainly makes you think how would you cope in Molly's situation I'm not sure I'd be compassionate enough to my non existent husband to cope with a major change in personality although I'd like to think that love would overpower everything Thought provoking and throws up intriguing uestions in a book that I enjoyed readingThank you to Netgalley and Michael Joseph for this copy of the book which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly This is not about the recovery from or acute aftermath of a brain injury so much as it is about the new normal how to live the rest of your life with a man whose improvement from now on will be marginal His cognitive abilities are less damaged than scrambled but his compassion and empathy are shot through replaced by a short temper and condescension his ability to hold a job limited by his inability to sustain focus and professional conduct Flashback chapters are told from Alex's point of view and tell the story of their relationship to contrast the before and after; the present day is told from Molly's at her wit's end from being the sole breadwinner as well as primary caregiver still desperately clinging on for those rare fleeting moments she sees a glimpse of the devoted man she married The present day is stronger because who cares about a couple who meet in a bar and move in together after 3 months especially if the guy backpedals on moving back to his hometown near his dad because his new girlfriend loves living in the city The flashbacks also set up the conflict between Alex and his identical twin brother Graeme and their loser dad who irrationally blames Graeme for the loss of the boys' mother just because the SEVEN YEAR OLD decided to be naughty and run awayhide and Mom got hit by a car when she went out to look for him I just didn't feel like I needed that much backstory on the dysfunctional familyBut I did like Graeme in the present day despite him being a boring cliche of a womanizer drifter because he is a really supportive brother brother in law view spoilerand I did not hate it when she almost kissed him because identical and comforting even though by that point I had already figured out this was gonna be a whiny 'I saw her fiiiiirst she would have loved meeeeeee' cliche which is even intolerable than playboys who are like 'but this One Special Woman would change my ways' Also I did not get what the big deal was about Graeme sleeping with Nicola but then I never do understand the whole 'exes are off limits' concept I'm just glad he isn't totally obliterated by story's end hide spoiler This book is a leaf out of the life of Alex and his wife Molly and how their life is altered for good after an accident The book swings between the past and the present and throws light on how Alex is and how he used to be Molly is stuck in a job she hates as the bills pile up and her husband isn't capable of holding down a job Alex's twin brother Graeme is the bad boy amongst the two and is the last person Alex spends his time with before the accident He steps in to help Molly periodically as her husband no longer is the man she was in love with When he starts flirting with his ex she is torn between staying and leaving The book touches upon the agony of how their life changes and how one's choice impacts their lives The book is also laced with very predictable secrets and it tries very hard to garner your sympathy but it is so very ordinary in it's approach that I felt bored to death by it's almost sobbish approach Have you ever met someone who is going through some bad stuff but they go on about it so much you excuse yourself at a sight if them ? this book gives you those vibes and the end let's just not go there For it's as ordinary as they comeOverall yet another unimpressive book that I wouldn't really recommend

  • Paperback
  • 400 pages
  • My Husband the Stranger
  • Rebecca Done
  • 15 June 2014
  • 9781405923965

About the Author: Rebecca Done

Rebecca Done lives in Norwich After studying Creative Writing at the Norwich School of Art & Design she worked for several years as a magazine editor Currently a copywriter Rebecca is also a keen runner fair weather surfer and one time marathon canoeist This Secret We're Keeping is her first novel