The Testament of Harold's Wife

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley, Kensington Publishing, and Lynne Hugo for the opportunity to read this book - really enjoyed it and love that cover!

Louisa lives on a farm in Indiana with her chickens and cat to keep her company.  She's trying to figure out how to exist after the death of her beloved grandson, Cody, who was hit by a drunk driver, and her husband, Harold, after that.  Her son, Gary, has turned to Jesus as a way of trying to cope and his relationship with his mom is fragile.  Louisa resents having his cult religion pressed upon her; Gary is worried for her safety and afraid of losing her too.

Louisa finally decides to pick up Harold's cause - to get revenge on the man who killed Cody and basically got away with it, as well as the sheriff who didn't help.  So she hatches The Plan.  Of course, no plan goes off perfectly and this one is no different.

I loved listening to Louisa's story - it's written as though she is talking to you.  She's feisty, opinionated and loves her animals.
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Many authors would take a woman who had suffered deaths of her loved ones and make it into a sad, tragic tale.  Lynne Hugo took this character and gave us a wonderful survival story.  Not only does Louisa survive the deaths of her husband and grandson, she develops a plan to avenge her grandson's death at the hands of a drunk driver.  Lynne Hugo gave her characters life and convinced us to love them.  Her descriptions of Louisa's life, from feeding her chickens to plotting revenge, make us believe Louisa will succeed.  How she comes to closure will surprise you and leave you wanting more.
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Louisa decides to take her heartbreak and loss and take up a cause.  She is sassy, smart, outspoken and so fun to tag along with.  Such a fresh look at handling tough times.
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*I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for a review.*

Sweet, sad, hopeful and funny book about a woman seeking revenge after the death of her grandson and the resulting suicide of her husband. Two of the highlights are Louisa's chickens -- named after the March sisters in "Little Women" -- and Glitter Jesus.
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The character of Louisa grew on me page after page and when Lynne Hugo had me laughing a loud with her revelations about glitter Jesus, I knew I had found a new book to share.

In bits and pieces, Louisa tells the story of her husband Harold and his mission to make the man that had killed their grandson Cody pay for his lies.  The driver claimed and he never saw Cody when he swerved to avoid a deer that had bolted in front of his vehicle.  Harold could not live with this explanation and vowed to seek revenge.  As Harold begins his plotting, life took another turn and Harold kills himself instead.  Louisa, the good wife that she is, takes up the mantle and vows to finish what her husband started. 

With a revenge plot, you would not expect an author to throw in humor, but with an aging body, a son who has found God and started a church to deal with his own grief, and a bumbling sheriff out to woo Louisa, there is no end to what a woman has to go through to make a selfish man pay for destroying her life.   

My only problem with the book was the unrealistic ending.  Granted, many aspects of the book itself were unrealistic, but the ending was rushed and other than the great cosmic karma ending, it felt hurried and not complete.
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What a lovely, unique book! I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this one, but it really surprised me in a wonderful way and even though it examines the subject of grief, I found it rather fun at times. Recommended!
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I wasn't sure what to expect from Lynne Hugo's novel, but I'm glad I went into it with an open mind. In return, I was entertained, saddened, made to laugh and just appreciate second chances. What a fun read with all its twists and bends! We are introduced to Louisa, an aging woman coping with the loss of grandson and the suicide of a husband. She's left with a farm, a born-again son and chickens named after the characters in "Little Women."  The chickens and a house cat are her cocktail buddies! Louisa's plan for revenge against the man who killer her grandson in a traffic accident is priceless - remove what he treasures most, just like he did to her. In this case, it's the trophy deer he often kills out of season. Hugo's build-up of Louisa is honest, refreshing and just down-right fun. Let's hope we haven't heard the last from Louisa or this gifted storyteller.
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What a little treasure this book is: it will make you laugh, it will make you cry. And you will not regret spending time with The Testament of Harold's Wife by Lynne Hugo. Louisa is Harold's wife. She has lost her grandson Cody, who was killed by a drunken driver. Larry has been found not guilty of this crime because he claimed he swerved to avoid hitting a deer. Louisa has also lost her husband Harold. She spends most of her days with her cat and chickens which are named after the sisters in Little Women. She finds herself needing revenge for the loss of her grandson and husband. She meticulously plots how to get back at Larry, a plan which occupies her days and nights. You need to read the book to find out how all that planning and plotting works out. This novel brings out all kinds of emotions: anger, loss, sorrow, revenge, laughter and hope in the future, no matter what. A great read. Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I greatly enjoyed this bittersweet story. It took me a little while to get into because it can seem a bit mysterious and scattered in the beginning. But, as the reader, you come to realize that's because the mind you are following (Louisa's) is both of those things in the beginning. As The Plan takes shape, so does she. Louisa's voice is so clear and true-to-character that she has a realness which escapes many contemporary fiction characters. Her thoughts read just as they would truly come to mind. There were many points while reading that I felt myself smile a little bit at her words even though their truth was so heartbreaking. I wasn't sure about Louisa addressing the reader at first but it really works well here.

The prose itself is lovely without being stuffy, as seen here in one of my favorite lines: "it was a butter-soft twilight, clear, peach-colored, beautiful and edgeless". The plot built really well; it's not an action-packed book but I still couldn't put it down after the 2/3rds mark. I was so invested in The Plan, I had to see it come to whatever fruition it may. All of the characters really add to the story as well, even the ones you want to strangle in frustration, and I was pleased to see development in side characters as well as in Louisa herself. And the ending, it's simply perfect. I highly recommend this book. 

Note: I received a free Kindle edition of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher Kensington Books, and the author Lynne Hugo for the opportunity to do so.
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What a fantastic lead character! You will never look at an "old" woman in the same way again. When you lose everything you care about, what will you do? If you're Louisa, you open up your farm house to your friends (who are chickens), you drink bourbon in the afternoon along with your cat, and you concoct a revenge plan that none of the rest of your family would approve of. I found myself laughing out loud more than once, and on the brink of tears a few times. Just really great!
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How should we grieve?  According to Harold’s wife, you need a cat, some chickens and a bottle of bourbon. Harold’s wife Louisa is a feisty woman, at times hilarious and at times extremely sad. I enjoyed her journey to make sense out of senseless deaths. While her way of grieving may not be the best way, it definitely gives you many thoughts to ponder.
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I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the testament of Harold’s Wife. I enjoyed getting to know Louisa, sympathizing with her grief and her frustrations with her well intentioned son.  I loved the relationship that she had with her sister, her confidante.  Louisa’s scheming and efforts toward ‘The Plan’ were humorous. I loved that ‘The Plan’ resulted in her doing research at the library which enabled her to not only put ‘The Plan’ into action, but deepened her understanding of her well loved wildlife and environment.
Please note. I received a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is entirely my own.
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Louisa has a choice. In the past year, a driver struck and killed her grandson and her husband died by suicide. She can either resign to life on her farm with her temperamental cat and agreeable chickens or she can get a Plan. Louisa knows the driver who killed her Cody was drunk, even as the Court bought his story. And she knows her Harold tried to get even with him, but the Sheriff deterred him at every move. But a Plan of her own might bring some peace … and revenge sounds better and better every day.
 
Author Lynne Hugo has produced an incredibly powerful novel focusing on the beauty and tragedy of aging and grief. The personal loss of the main character, Louisa, is evident on each page, but she balances this with the humor and self-awareness only possible with someone comfortable with their life. Louisa can be a jumbled narrator, which she readily admits, but therein lies her charm. While forefront in her mind is the need to exact revenge, she also hosts tea parties with her chickens and battles with her son’ favorite artwork: a glitter Jesus. In a less mature character, these scenes would be absurd, but Hugo writes with such authority that they are touching and real.

This is a relatively quick read without a ton of action. Louisa is introspective, typically plotting over the phone with her sister and navigating everyday life after tragedy. However, Hugo gleans everything from these reflective moments and her prose elevates scenes as simple as feeding chickens into something special. Louisa and, in turn, this book provide so much wisdom on life.
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After losing her husband and grandson Harold's wife, Louisa, finds revenge is best served with Glitter Jesus stashed in the closet and with tea splashed with sherry or, better yet, bourbon. This delightfully quirky character confides in her pet hens Beth, Amy and Jo as she devises a plan to punish the drunk driver responsible her losses.   A fun read dealing with family, grief and self awareness.

I received a free ARC from Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review . The opinion expressed is entirely my own.
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This book hooked me right away!  Lynne Hugo has captured the navigation of family relationships, the pain of loss, the occasional mistrust between generations and given us a story that could happen to anyone.  She weaves in plenty of humor and some "aha" moments that made it a page-turner for me.
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The Testament of Harold’s Wife is unpredictable and takes several turns throughout the storyline.  You will love the variety of people you meet in the book. 
Louisa is the main character and as the book progresses she develops an attitude.  As I got to know her she reminded me of Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes when she said, “Face it, girls. I’m older and I have more insurance,” to the women whose car she’s just slammed into after they pulled into her parking space.   I found myself wishing she had found her voice when she was younger.
It’s the perfect book to read on a trip, at the beach or at home by the fire!
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Such vivid characters!  Loved Louisa’s spunk and was captivated by the development of her Plan for revenge born from her intense and relatable love for her grandson. The plot was beautifully and intricately woven and made so appealing with references to how the reader was absorbing this compelling read!  I loved the author’s use of imagery and language. There were many times I chuckled but many times I was near tears.
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In the past year, Louisa has lost both Cody, her only grandson, and Harold, her husband. She can sit around her farm, with her chickens to keep her company, and feel sorry for herself, or she can put together A Plan to see that justice is served to the man responsible for both of her losses. As she learns that even the best Plan can go wrong, she realizes that the world can be a beautiful place, and that connections with other people can be even better than revenge.

This is the first book I have read by this author, and I'll admit that I was drawn to it because my father's name was Harold, and the book's title made me think about the kind of "testament" my mother would write. In some ways, I think she would be a lot like Louisa, which is probably what kept me reading. Otherwise, though, I'm not sure I would have finished the book. Aside from Louisa, I really didn't care much about any of the other characters, which always makes it hard for me to get into a book. Add to that the way the story kept jumping back and forth from present day to events from a year ago to somewhere in between, and it was difficult to keep track of whose story I was reading at what point in time. I might pick up another book by this author before I write off her style as "not my thing," but it won't be any time soon.
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This is a novel on the study of grief and how differently each of us deal with it. Some turn to religion, some turn to loved ones, and some turn to suicide. But some concoct a plan for revenge. A laugh and tears novel you won't soon forget.
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Everyone handles grief in their own way and Louisa has had a double tragedy.  Her much loved grandson was killed by a drunk driver and her beloved husband Harold committed suicide.  Her son Gary has turned to religion, declaring himself a preacher.  Her sister CaroleAnn is too far away and coping with her own sick husband.  So Louisa makes a plan.  She makes a plan to get Larry by taking away something precious to him.  This is a woman who loves animals- she talks to and drinks with her chickens and her cat.  Now she's going to save the deer who roam her farm land.  AND, she's going to get Larry back. This is well written and thoughtful in it's way.  You see Louisa evolve as she plots.  The other characters are also well done, including poor Brandon and misbegotten Gus.  It will be a long time before I see candle in the shape of a dove and don't think turkey vulture.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  This is a winner.
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