Husband Material

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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Charlotte Rosen lives a pretty normal life in LA with her roommate.  She works at a social media firm and her work is her life.  Her passion lies in a dating app she is creating that pairs people based on their compatibility and social media profiles.  No one knows anything about her past, which is just how she likes it, because Charlotte is hiding a major secret. She is a twenty-something widow.  She may never really be over her husband's unexpected death, but just when she least expects it, a package arrives at her apartment.  It's her husband's ashes! His mausoleum burned down and now she is faced with his death all over again.  Charlotte is having a hard time dealing with this unexpected "visitor" not to mention the fact that everyone knows her secret now.  This forces Charlotte to have to deal with her grief all over again and now her controlling mother-in-law has reappeared in her life along with her husband's best friend. Charlotte is forced to face some issues she may have ran from last time and she comes across some shocking secrets as well.  Husband Material by Emily Belden is a fun romantic comedy that's perfect for snuggling up with this winter.

Charlotte is an interesting character in Husband Material. She is a control freak, but can you blame her after what she has been through? The flashbacks to her relationship with Decker, her husband, are heartbreaking, because readers can see how perfect their lives truly were and how in love they were.  Then it jumps to present day where Charlotte deals with anxiety, panic attacks, and tries to control every aspect of her life even her possible dates.  It's heartbreaking.  Readers also learn more about her relationship with Decker's best friend as well as her former mother-in-law once Decker's ashes show up on her doorstep and let's just say that both relationships are really complex.

But Husband Material is not just a tearjerker. It had me laughing out loud as well and reminded me of a Meg Ryan romantic comedy. Charlotte finds herself in situations that are cringe-worthy and readers can't help but laugh.  

I think Husband Material tackles the serious topic of grief and rebuilding your life, but it's also a light-hearted read and one that will put a smile on your face. If you love romantic comedies that tug on your heartstrings, pick up a copy of Husband Material this winter.
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Unfortunately, I did not finish this story. Plainly put, I did not connect to the characters nor was I prepared to be in the mindset for it. From the synopsis, I was expecting something different.

There are a few bits of comedy, snark, and romance, but I wasn't ready for it. It's mostly me and my preferences, but this time it wasn't for me.

*Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.*
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This is my first Emily Belden book and after hearing great things about her novels, I was excited to read it. I didn’t realize what this was really about and thought it would be a light, funny rom-com, based on the cover. It dealt with more serious issues as the main character was a widow who was figuring out how to handle her grief. 
That said, there were funny parts and Belden did kind of present a light side while dealing with such a serious issue. This book had me interested in what would happen next and I liked the characters. It wasn’t a love for me, but a good read and I definitely look forward to other books from this author. 
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Going into this book, I thought it was going to be this regular old romance book where main character’s dead husband’s ashes also happen to show up at her doorstep. But this book ended up being so much better than that. Have I gotten ahead of myself? Maybe I should take a few steps back.

This novel center’s around Charlotte, a coder in LA who is failing at the dating. After coming home from a friend’s wedding one night, her world is completely thrown when her dead husband’s ashes show up at her doorstep. The twist? No one in her life even knows she was married. Her roommate, her close friends, her work. So now she has to figure out what to do with these ashes and all of the characters who are now coming back into her life.

Husband Material sounds like it might be a sob fest and while it has it’s moments, Belden has managed to create a fun and comedic novel that I couldn’t put down. While it had a few plot points that a reader could guess, there were a few twists that I definitely did not see coming. Any reader who loves a fun read needs to add this to their list!
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Any book that can make me laugh out loud and also touch my heart I consider a great read! Being a window at a young age presents its challenges, being able to start over fresh and the reader gets to follow along and relate I found refreshing. It was an overall good read!
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This was a very sweet book and a quick read. Quite enjoyable and I think people will really enjoy this book quite a bit if you're looking for a fluffy romance.
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Husband Material

Emily Belden

Graydon House, Dec 30, 2019

304 pages

Women’s Lit- Life Passages

Provided by NetGalley

⭐⭐⭐⭐🌙 4.5

This review will probably reveal a bit too much for most readers.

The cover is attractive but totally misleading as to the story within. What we see with this pretty blue cover and its comic pictures is a romance story, but that’s really not what this is. Yes, there is some romance, but this is a story of grieving and healing for a couple of people, but mostly for Charlotte, our main character.

Charlotte and Decker had only been married for six months when Decker died. Charlotte moved to a new place and started over. She’s a whiz with numbers and statistics, so she works for a company creating a dating app based on statistics. In fact, she’s secretly creating her own personal app, refining the numbers for herself. She’s coming closer and closer to the perfect husband for herself. One that won’t be a problem, the one she can safely marry and will never get hurt by. That’s what her life’s been about for the past five years actually. Staying safe and keeping her secret. She hasn’t told anyone that she’s a widow. That she was once married. That her husband died. Not a word to anyone. Her past life is behind her and she doesn’t share it with anyone.

Then her roommate brings up a rather heavy package one day addressed to her as Mrs. Charlotte Rosen, and it’s from the place that Decker’s cremains have been kept. When Charlotte opens the package right there in front of her roommate, out falls the urn with Decker’s cremains. Yes, husband material. Her roommate’s curious, of course, and asks questions that Charlotte’s not prepared to answer or to dodge properly. This resets Charlotte’s grieving process, reconnects her with her estranged mother-in-law and also bridges the gap when she runs into Decker’s best friend. Charlotte has to decide what to do with Decker’s cremains now. This whole process creates the opportunity for this group of people to revisit their grief and their relationships and to heal as they hadn’t originally when Decker had died and their grief was still new. Though Charlotte tries her best to stay in denial right up to the end and stay busy with her numbers and app. But healing, grief, and love win out in the end in this heartwarming story of life and loss. I know this book will get stuck in the romance section, but I just can’t see it that way. It is so much more than a romance novel. It is about loss and grief and healing. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys novels such as this about people who survive and go on to live a full life. I would place this in women’s lit/life passages.
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3.5 stars

This novel was more than the average contemporary romantic comedy. Before I started this novel, I did not know the extent of the title "Husband Material" on the story. 

Between the writing and the plot, this novel reminded me of those similar to Cecelia Ahern and Jojo Moyes. I mean this in the most complimentary way. It felt like a unique story but for those that enjoy the writing style from both of those authors, maybe give this book a try as well. The story was emotional and meaningful but there were also comedic moments that gave the novel an appropriate balance. 

I was surprised that there were a couple of moments while reading that I felt genuinely shocked. First, the story started off in a way that lead me to believe the relationship in this marriage was vastly different than what it turned out to be. Add on a few other important events that get revealed later in this novel and yes, I was very surprised. 

Overall, this was a good read that had a nice balance of humour while still being a serious story. It was enjoyable to read and I'm interested in reading more from this author in the future. 

***Thank you to the publisher for supplying me with an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***
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This book was cute. 

I enjoyed it but didn't love the whole thing. The author had great quirky jokes peppered throughout and adorable scenes but the beginning of the story dragged a bit for me. For deeper thoughts I would have to plot points. As I was reading the first half though it was a constant, well that escalated quickly and WTF where did that information come from. It was a bit jarring. That being said, the last half had me hooked and I loved it.
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DNF at 26%. This story just really didn’t work for me. The characters all felt like caricatures or stereotypes - especially Charlotte’s mom, mother in law and boss. I found myself constantly annoyed by the way she thought about things and ultimately decided to stop reading at this point. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance reading copy.
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4/5 Stars.

Just what I needed, a cute and sweet novel that is not a rom-com, but had all the trappings to become one.

Recommended for Adult and up.
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A semi light romp about a numbers girl who fell into numbers after some darkness in her life. This book Is both charming and sweet overall, but lacks some depth which makes the latter part of the book less satisfying than I was hoping.
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This was my Christmas travel read. I should have finished it on the one day trip to see Teresa, but it didn’t speak to me at all. The description attracted me with the idea of developing a new dating app to help her find “The One.” Only, she was looking for an exact replica of what she lost even though it took her the whole book to realize that. The character’s grief was well expressed and is what may attract a few people to this one. I can’t argue she did her research, which she thanks those that helped make that part authentic at the end of the book. Kudos for doing that. Many times we see the Thank You overlooked in favor of starting the next project.

Several seemingly random things all build up to uncover secrets towards the end of the book. So don’t let yourself ask the questions before she’s ready to tell, because it’s aggravating. Like why would Decker’s best friend from college be so close to his parents after five years with no explanation of the relationship the two friends had with them? It goes on from there. How can you just pop right over in LA?–Have you seen the traffic there?

To finish up I’m only giving this a 3 of 5 because the story formatting made it hard to read, it took me 5 days (unusual for me), and the story kept making me feel like she would never answer all the questions I had. The text messaging is in the same font as the rest of the story so it is hard to tell where texting starts and stops and what is a thought versus a text. This story is a slow peel, kind of like a kiwi…hard to get the skin off and many textures and flavors going on. So if you like a read that keeps you in suspense for the answers you know should be there, then this one’s for you. Otherwise I might leave it for the middle of a series you just need a little break from. It will definitely make the next one look better.
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I went into this one thinking that it would be a light-hearted rom-com based on the blurb, but that's not entirely accurate. The author definitely tackles some pretty heavy topics such as loss, grief, and trying to move on with life as a widower. This book was alright, but definitely not one of my favorites.
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Very cute, light read. I wanted more at the end, some type of resolution. But nonetheless, an enjoyable read.
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Charlotte Rosen has a great career and is on the lookout for a great relationship. Her desire to find the right man—the perfect man—is what led her to creating a dating app she believes will knock all other dating apps out of the water.

But, Charlotte has a secret. Charlotte has already been married. She already had the perfect husband. And when he died, her world was turned completely upside down. And it's about to happen again.

A fire threatens the mausoleum where her husband's remains have been housed for the past five years and so the company has shipped said remains back to Charlotte for her to rehome. Which means revealing her widowed state to those around her. And also means facing her husband's death once again. But when a secret surfaces in the middle of all this upheaval, Charlotte has to face the fact that her life may not be as perfect and organized as she thought.

Emily Belden's latest is sweet and charming, but it's also a bit all over the place.

Charlotte works crunching data at a company that builds companies. Basically, they hire influencers to attend parties, grand openings, and other events to post about said events, and create buzz about businesses. And Charlotte is the one who puts all the data together into a package any layman can understand.

She loves data. So much so, she uses it in her dating life, creating an app that will collate online activity to help her find her perfect mate.

But then her husband's ashes arrive out of the blue. And Charlotte has spent so much time trying to hide the fact that she's a widow that she clearly has never really dealt with some of the impact of being a widow in the first place.

It affects her friendships. It affects her job. It affects everything around her.

The subplots of the book are where the story gets tangled a bit. Fortunately, Belden had built a main character interesting enough to carry the plot along even when it starts to feel like it's straying into even more unfocused territory.

And it does all come together in the end.

Overall, Husband Material is a cute rom-com-ish read that will pull at your heartstrings.
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This was my first time reading an Emily Belden book and it did not disappoint. Husband Material follows widow Charlotte as she deals with receiving her husband's ashes unexpectedly five years after her husband's untimely death. I was expecting a little more romance out of the book but still enjoyed watching Charlotte deal with her grief and learn to move on finally. Overall it was a solid read and a quick one at under 300 pages.
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There are parts of Emily Belden’s Husband Material I really enjoy. The first-person narration is approachable. The general premise—of a young widow thrown for a big loop when her husband’s ashes are returned to her after his death five years earlier—is interesting, and her attempts to process that and to grow from the revelations she learns are admirable. And finally, around the time the hero Brian appears I flipped through the pages quickly and looked forward to finding out what happened. 

But I ended up being overall disappointed with the book because I didn’t see the payoff I was hoping for. In the end I had major problems with the characterization of both leads and I doubted their romance.

Charlotte, the widow, is dealing with a lot but she often seems selfish in her dealings with others, even in the novel’s final chapters. 

My first impression of Brian—through an anecdote Charlotte tells—is not flattering and he never really opens up about how and why his personality has changed so much since then. He also did something that I think is unconscionable to Charlotte and his explanation/grovel isn’t really sufficient for me. 

And finally, I just didn’t buy any real chemistry between them beyond friendship. While I suspected where their relationship might be heading, there was very little evidence for my suspicions for much of the book. Most of their interactions seem jocular only, like they’re pals. 

This book just wasn’t for me. 

2.5 stars

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from Netgalley but all opinions provided are my own
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Thank you for the early copy!

I did not connect with the writing style and also I have learned this is not a genre for me.
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