Husband Material

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Cuteness alert! I loved this funny, snarky little rom-com! Grab your Firken ( fake Birken) and dive right into the world of Charlotte Rosen. This book just made me feel good. I smirked many of times while reading this book because this girl was just so funny. 

What's not to like about Charlotte? She has got it going on. Living in LA she is privy to all the hip things (do people even use that word anymore)?! She has a cool job at The Influencer Firm which is featured in Forbes as being one of the best up and coming companies to work for. She has an adorable dog named Leno ( yes, after Jay Leno). She lives with her crazy, weird roommate Casey        ( that she found on Craigslist) EEEEK!  OH and her in-laws hate her because she killed their son Decker. That about covers it! Meanwhile she is on Tinder, Bumble and whatever else dating site trying to find her perfect match.

As you guessed it there is more to this story. I am going to leave that right there so I don't spoil this adorable story for you. You would think that this story would be a bummer since Charlotte is a widow searching for love. Yet somehow the author has such a knack for shifting gears and turning a serious situation into a hilarious one right as you start to feel like you may turn into an ugly crying mess.

Charlotte's funny stories- such as the time she went to the farmers market "We must be filming a pilot for HDTV" when surrounded by all the vine ripe tomatoes. Or dropping her husband - who is dead under a table, standing in a bathroom stall listening to her coworkers make fun of her fake Birken- and she continued to carry it! This was fun for page one until the very end. Let's just say I needed this!
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When I read the summary of Husband Material I was immediately intrigued and signed up for the blog tour for the opportunity to delve into this story. 

Charlotte has a secret - She's a widow. Five years ago, she tragically lost her husband. She has since moved on by finding a roommate, job and life where no one knows about her before. It's not that she doesn't think about Decker ever, but she's just trying to get through as she has lingering pain and guilt around this death. Then, all the feels come back when Decker's ashes show up on her doorstep. The mausoleum he was housed in has been impacted by a forest fire, and this means the next of kin must decide what to do now. Being reunited with Decker brings back feelings Charlotte has tried to keep locked away. With this development, Charlotte reconnects with Decker's parents, as well as with Decker's best friend, Brian. 

Having these blasts from the past means Charlotte revisits what life was in the age of Decker. As she does this, a new secret comes out that changes literally everything. This was a romance novel, but it had thriller-esque twists, and I appreciated that. Even more than that, the emotions were so authentically written. While there was some humor throughout, there was also the heart that Charlotte had been through something that had such a profound impact.

What I loved about this book was that it really looks at the themes of grief and loss. These are emotions that are so common, but we don't talk about them enough. And we certainly don't acknowledge that it can take many different forms. This can vary from person to person, but more than that, one person's relationship with the emotion can change as time goes on. This book showcases that through its characters as they're just trying to get through after the unimaginable happens. It also wrestles with the question of what relationships look like through grief. How do these change? Who gets to decide how we feel loss? What do we do when the person who connected us to someone else is gone?

Even though there is a theme of grief and pain, this is also about love. I appreciated how this book showed emotions aren't mutually exclusive. Charlotte wasn't just Decker's death. There was so much more to her. This was Charlotte navigating her relationships, her secrets, and what her ever after was going to be. I'm so glad I seized the intrigue of this one and had this reading experience!
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What I choose to read depends on my mood.  Sometimes I crave something with twists and turns and utter suspense.  While other times, I have a hankering for historical fiction or a fabulous memoir.  Most recently though, I have been enjoying cuddling up in bed with a warm and fuzzy read.  Something that doesn’t rattle me right before I start to count my sheep.  Husband Material by Emily Belden was the perfect comfort read at the end of a long day.   Let me give you the scoop.

Charlotte Rosen is a 29 year old widow of five years.  She lives in an apartment with her roommate, works as a social media analyst and is in the process of developing the latest and greatest dating app.  After work one day, Charlotte arrives home to a surprise package containing an urn of her late husband’s ashes.  Not only does Charlotte now have to revisit a host of emotions, she has to interact with her “lovely” (not really) mother-in-law.  In addition to her new found drama, Charlotte runs into Brian, her late husband’s best friend.  As they reconnect, feelings between the two of them become complicated. Just when she thinks the ice underneath her can’t get any thinner, a truth bomb drops about her late husband’s past that has her questioning their entire marriage.  Will she be able to come to terms with the past while rebuilding her future?

Husband Material is a heartwarming tale.   I loved how Belden tied in Charlotte’s love for mathematical data and algorithms into her personal and professional life.  I am more than happy to report that Charlotte is a lovable protagonist that is easy to root for.  The characters around her make up the perfect cast for this delightful story.  Charlotte’s struggle to let go of the past in order to move forward with her future is something that most people can relate to in some shape or form.  For a book that revolves around death and loss, Belden did an excellent job at keeping her story light and uplifting with a dab of humor and romance.

Today’s post is part of Harlequin Trade Publishing Blog Tour:  Romance and Women’s Fiction Winter 2020.  Thank you to Harlequin for for inviting Dear Mr. Hemingway on this tour.
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I didn’t really enjoy this book but felt compelled to finish reading it. The heroine Charlotte is a widow. She is also judgemental as hell. There are several instances of body shaming and it was not fun to read. Charlotte has an interesting journey to deal with her grief over losing her husband. There are some twists and they were kind of weird. The love story is definitely secondary to Charlotte’s journey. And even though I liked it enough to finish it, I don’t think I would read this author again
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Do you ever finish a book and just think, meh? That’s what happened to me with this one, I didn’t love or hate it, I didn’t even really like or dislike it either, I just feel pretty apathetic about it overall. Kind of a bummer because the authors previous book, Hot Mess was such a hit for me that I wasn’t expecting this to be such a miss.

There were definitely some things I liked about this one, the fact that Charlotte was a young widow was interesting and the author has a really quirky, sarcastic style I like. There were also some great secondary characters that entertained me but I didn’t really connect with either Charlotte or Brian on any level. I also felt like this really lacked romance which was probably the biggest disappointment for me. The ending was also lackluster for me and by that point I was just ready for it to be over, never a good sign for me. Because I loved Hot Mess so much though I would definitely give the author another try and if you haven’t read that one I can definitely recommend it over this one.
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I recently read Hot Mess by this author and absolutely fell in love with her writing.  Color me tickled when I received a copy of her latest, Husband Material.  Now, this book was not at all what I expected.  I think with the beginning, the title and all the algorithm talk, I thought I was going to get a more dating disaster to true love kind of novel.  Instead, I was reading a more somber story about Charlotte and her journey to dealing with her husband's ashes showing up at her door five years after the fact.  How she had to finally face it after pretending it wasn't a part of her anymore.

I finished this on my flight home this afternoon and I'm glad I got to sit on this one a bit.  I really wasn't sure how I felt once I swiped that last page.  I applaud the journey of Charlotte as a young widow and how she reacted and how people reacted to her.  As with most contemporary romance novels, we can all see where the book is heading.  I just didn't quite feel a certain *realness* to Charlotte and another character.  Nor did I fully believe in the turn around of another.  However, maybe this just isn't a subject matter I can truly relate to in order to understand it as I should. 

Belden is a fantastic writer and I will certainly continue to read her novels.  While this one might not have resonated with me as well as Hot Mess did, I was happy to be on Charlotte's journey and thoroughly fell in love with her roommate.  Oh the quirky ones always get to me. *wink*
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Husband Material by Emily Belden has Charlotte Rosen thrown for a tailspin when the ashes of her deceased husband show up on her doorstep.  She thought she had put the past behind her, but Charlotte had just put it off.  With two weeks off to get her life together, Charlotte sets out to get answers with the assistance of her husband’s best friend.  Husband Material is a romantic comedy that has some deep moments.  Charlotte has been a widow for five years, but no one in her present circle knows that she as married.  She moved to different apartment, learned how to code software and began working at The Influencer Firm.  Charlotte may have been moving on, but she never dealt with her feelings about her husband’s death.  We get to see her face some hard realities.  Charlotte has been using numbers and algorithms to avoid getting close with a man or anyone else for that matter.  She is now getting a second chance.  If Charlotte wants to have a meaningful future, she needs to resolve her feelings of loss and guilt.  Charlotte is a hard character to like, but she does grow on you as the story progresses.  I found Charlotte’s roommate, Casey to be quirky and tell-it-like-it type of woman.  I felt bad for her at times because Charlotte really takes advantage of Casey’s kindness.  Charlotte was lucky to have such a kind boss in Zareen.  It was interesting to learn what about influencers and the type of work Charlotte did to promote businesses.  Husband Material is an emotional story about dealing with the past, letting it go, and embracing the future.  I was surprised with the ending and some of the choices Charlotte made.  I enjoyed the humor throughout the story which lightened some of the darker subjects.  Husband Material is an engaging, uplifting story about second chances, forgiveness, taking risks, introspection, and moving forward.
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Husband Material was a fun read. The main character was slightly quirky (pretty much a staple in Chick Lit these days), but she also struggled with trust issues and opening up to others. She was a bit self-absorbed. On top of all of that, she was obsessed with the numbers and metrics of love, relying on her algorithm to try to find love. All of these attributes combined to create a character that was far more nuanced than I was expecting from this book. 

I enjoyed Charlotte's character arc. She grew a lot as the novel progressed. Her relationships with other characters also grew, which is always gratifying to see in a book in this genre. I really liked the speed with which the romance grew. It was a slow burn, and it was done well. There was enough conflict that the pacing felt right. While I enjoyed Charlotte's slow burn with Brian, I was not quite as happy with her relationship with her roommate, Casey. I felt like there could have been a lot more done with their friendship. It was present, but the depth wasn't. At the beginning of the book, it almost seemed like Charlotte barely even noticed Casey was there...which meant the reader barely did either. 

I liked the book overall, but there was also a certain clunkiness to some of the references and dialogue. It felt like the character should have been about 10 years older than she was supposed to be in the book because of all of the 80s and 90s references that she kept making. This bothered me throughout the book, but I understand that is a very nit-picky thing to be bothered by. 

I would recommend this to someone looking for a clean romance. If you are a fan of chick lit with a little bit of extra depth, you will enjoy this book. 


My Rating:

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2

I gave Husband Material 3.5 Stars!
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Charlotte is looking for a husband and she has it all figured out just how she is going to find one. She has written a program full of data that will help her find Mr. Right! Things aren’t going so well, and things get even worse when a package shows up at her house and in it is an unexpected surprise.
Brian is a successful doctor who used to know Charlotte. They run into each other “by chance” or so Charlotte believes. Can they be friends again after all this time? Can he help Charlotte with her “surprise”?
Brian and Charlotte start being friends again, and soon things are heating up…that is until Charlotte finds out a secret that Brian has kept from her for years. Can she ever forgive him?
I loved this sweet story which has all the elements for a beautiful journey of love, loss and second chances. Emily Belden brings such a whit to the story and I laughed, I cried and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Thank you so much to Harlequin, Emily Belden and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the book to read and review.
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Charlotte Rosen’s journey in Husband Material by Emily Belden was an emotional and enjoyable tale of an almost thirty-year old as she deals with major change that is unexpectedly dumped into her life. She has a great job crunching numbers and writing algorithms, an adorable dog, and a roommate who knows nothing about her. So when the ashes of her late husband arrive, five years after his death, Charlotte’s world falls apart. The perfect life she had with him starts to show wear and tear as she finally learns things about him; including a major secret.  While trying to put the pieces back together Charlotte ends up dealing with her ex-mother-in-law as well as her husband’s best friend, Brian. As Charlotte tries to find answers to questions she never knew to ask Brian is along side her, trying to help her along the way. Not expecting to have a chance with a new love, Charlotte will need to decide whether to follow the results of her algorithm or trust her heart.

Ms. Belden wrote a fun, flirty romance that should not be missed. She provided a tale rich with emotions, sexual chemistry, wonderful dialogue, and endearing characters giving Charlotte a chance to tilt her world back on its axis and a chance at finding love with Brian. I highly recommend Husband Material to other readers. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
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I slogged through 70 percent of this book. It was as basic and stereotypical as many other romances. Luckily, Emily Belden added a little extra to make the story stand out.
Charlotte is a 29 year old widow who has kept her secret for the last five years. But the past comes back to haunt her when her husband's ashes suddenly show up at her apartment after a fire at the mausoleum he was placed. 
The first chapter was pretty funny and I was looking forward to hijinks that would ensue when the ashes arrived. But quickly I saw, that instead of being funny, Charlotte is rather pretty and bitchy. She complains about everything in life. She mentally slays the interns working but when she overhears them talking about her, she gets into a tizzy. What should have endured you to her makes you roll your eyes. Why should I feel bad for someone who thought even worse of the people who were talking about her? 
And that becomes the biggest problem with the book. Not the predictable plot or weird and improbable dating app she wants to make, but Charlotte is so unlikable. She wants to keep her widowhood a secret but gets snippy wen people don't treat her with kid gloves. Mentally, chewing them out because she was dealing with her widow hood but no one knows to help her.
The saving grace is that the book throws you a curve ball and Charlotte gets called out for her horrible behavior. Charlotte finally begins to grow and because a somewhat more likable as she deals with the superb twist that Belden throws here. While, it doesn't work perfectly, it really gave the book depth and made me happy to have read the book.
I don't like the cover. It looked like many other romance books covers out there and made no sense to the story summary. In fact, after finishing it, it still doesn't match up. I wouldn't have ever read it I had just seen the cover.
Overall, the book isn't that great but, by the end, I enjoyed see how Charlotte finagled her precarious position.
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This story started out as a romantic comedy, but turned into a suspenseful story.

There were so many twists that kept me guessing. Just when I thought I had things figured out, there would be another unexpected twist. I liked that so many surprising elements were slowly revealed, such as how Decker died and what had happened in the past between Charlotte and Brian.

I don’t think the title or cover of the book really matched it. From the title and cover, it looks like a fun romance, but there were some dark parts to the story, including Decker’s death.

I really enjoyed this book! I was glued to it until the end.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I really liked this story. There were so many issues that Charlotte wasn't dealing with, she thought she had everything under control and then things start spiraling with the delivery of one delivered package. The way this story begins it seems like it's going to be a rom com, but it delves a lot deeper and these characters have a lot unresolved feeling and issues from 5 years ago that keep them from truly being free to move on.
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After trying to get through Husband Material for about a month, I finally called it quits. However, I do think that many readers will enjoy this one! When I first read the synopsis and saw the cover, I assumed that this one was more of a romantic comedy rather than a contemporary romance. Instead, Husband Material was more of an exploration of grief and learning how to live with the loss of a loved one. I think if I’d gone in expecting a different book (aka mentally prepared myself), I would have had a very different reading experience. 

*Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher. This does not affect the content of my review or my opinion of the book.
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Although this was a quick and easy read for me, it took me a while to really get into the book and start to empathize with Charlotte, the main character.  She has been a “closet” widow for five years, not letting anyone know that her husband died of a stroke at a very young age.  The novel ends up being a contemporary romance with a lot of characters, some likable and some not so much.  Charlotte lives with a quirky roommate named Casey, whom I found to be really funny.  The whole story is wrapped around the fact that Charlotte has to confront her past so that she can move on and find a new future for herself.  The theme then is dealing with the past and forgiving others.  I thought that Charlotte’s job of being an analysis expert for social media was very interesting and unusual.  I enjoyed the book after I got into it more, and I think that fans of contemporary romantic fiction would enjoy this peculiar novel with a different tone and characters.
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Unfortunately, I had to call it quits shortly after the halfway mark. I skimmed quite a few parts from the remainder of the book, so I have a fairly good idea of what happens and I’m sorry to say that had I finished it, my final opinion would have been just as bad.

What is this book about? Husband Material follows our protagonist, Charlotte, a widow who lost her husband five years ago from a freak accident. She’s made a new life for herself in LA, however, a misfortunate event causes the ashes of her deceased husband to appear at her front door five years later, along with the reappearance of his best friend. Do not let the fact that this book keeps showing up under the romance genre; Husband Material is a not a feel-good, lighthearted romance novel. I sort of feel like I misled in that aspect? Instead, the story is about grief, secrets, and forgiveness.

What did I like? Charlotte was a pretty decent character. I really felt for her throughout the story and the incredible circumstances she’s had to overcome.

What didn’t I like? The first issue I had was the overly descriptive writing. There were so many unnecessary specifics and I felt like the author kept name-dropping expensive brands just for the sake of it. A lot of time in the book was spent describing every little detail of the book and characters; I don’t need to know the color, type, and label of the pajamas the character was wearing – just say she was in pajamas in move on!

The “love interest” – if you could even call him that – was terrible. There was absolutely zero chemistry between him and Charlotte and I could not for the life of me even figure out why she would be with him or even like him?? There were hardly any genuine moments of tension or buildup between the two of them to convince me of any kind of feelings. Not to mention that he is a thief and a liar and a terrible person!! The title of this book is ironic because he is most decidedly NOT husband material.

Overall thoughts: Husband Material has been marketed as a romance book and so I was expecting an entirely different kind of novel. Regardless, between the overly descriptive writing and the horrible “love interest” this was not something I wanted to continue to read and ended up quitting halfway.
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When reading a new-to-me author, I try not to look to see if they are seasoned or new.  I don’t look at other reviews of the book I’m going to read or any of their other books.  Therefore, I’m often not sure when reading a new-to-me author if they are actually new themselves.  Depending how the reading goes, I’ll look that stuff up after I’ve finished the book.  Unfortunately, I thought this was a brand-new author.  While she’s not totally new, she only has a few books under her belt so there will be some leeway.

There is a lot in the positive column for this story.  I love the concept of this story. I love Charlotte and most of the other characters in this book.  For the most part, the flow of the story is pretty good.  Yet, once in a while, I’d be taken out of the story by a reference I found dated.  I know that in 10 or 20 years it won’t be anything that is noticed.  But in the present, it was something that niggled at me.  Why would you reference E.R. and not Grey’s Anatomy in 2019?  It was just…off, for lack of a better word.

Charlotte is a very sympathetic character.  The lengths she has gone to in order to “hide” her status of widow is on one hand sad yet sometimes manifests as funny.  Not only did I feel for Charlotte, I was also rooting for her in many ways.  From her job, to her decisions regarding the urn, to her tentative renewing of her friendship with Brian. Yet, when she was in the midst of her out of control spiral, I found myself skimming the pages.  While I found Charlotte’s process and frame of mind very important to how the story was playing out, it was just a bit much…a bit too detailed.

I had high hopes for Brian and Charlotte.  I can at the very least say the story is not predictable.  There are a few turns that took me by surprise and I’m truly still not sure how I feel about these turns.  There were things kept from Charlotte by more than one person and I wasn’t sure who to trust and who to forgive.  In some ways this was a good thing.  It’s not fun reading a book that is completely predictable.  But at the same time I have a hard time, after finishing, knowing how I really feel about the story as a whole.

There is definite potential here and I will try another of this author’s books in the future.  And let’s remember, a review is an opinion.  There are some who will not have problems with the things that I got hung up on.  Since this is a great story all in all, I would still recommend this book to others.
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Charlotte is a young widow, something that shes kept a secret until now when her late husbands ashes shows up at the door. Her life seemed to be going well and from that moment on, secrets that were once kept quiet started to get exposed and her tidy little world is shaken up.

This book isn't what I thought it would be. I thought it would be a sort of romcom book that's light hearted maybe maybe its just because of that fun looking cover. This book was more about Charlotte still dealing with her grief many years later. Looking that this book was pretty good, I really did enjoy it. I did find it annoying after a while when it came to her grief but past that I was interesting in seeing a bit a romance, seeing her failed dates and wondering seeing if theres going to be something between her and her late husbands best friend. I also though it was interhttps://essentiallybookish.blogspot.com/2019/12/review-husband-material.html
his was a pretty good book I enjoyed it.
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I really enjoyed Emily Belden's first novel, Hot Mess, so I was super excited to read Husband Material! Her second novel was just as fun and entertaining as her first, and I was hooked from the very first chapter. What I loved most about this book was that while the writing and story were funny and witty, the characters and subject matter had real depth to them.  Charlotte is a young widow, and the portrayal of grief and how the grieving process affects your daily life, even years later, is addressed so well in this book. Though I haven't lost a spouse, I've lost a parent, and I related to Charlotte so much throughout this book. I loved  that she was a data nerd like me!

Though the book does center around the fact that her husband's ashes show up at her door five years later, it's definitely not a downer! There are many moments that make you laugh, and there's even some romance thrown in.  This is the perfect weekend binge read if you love contemporary women's fiction and need a fun read. I can't wait to read more from Emily Belden in the future!
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DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored. However, I received an advanced reader copy (eBook) of Husband Material by Emily Belden from Harlequin through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Husband Material is part of Harlequin’s Fall/Winter Blog Tour for Romance & Women’s Fiction.

When you think of a widow stereotype, it isn’t Charlotte Rosen – a 29-year-old social media analyst. After less than a year of marriage, Charlotte’s husband, Decker, died from natural causes.

In Husband Material, Emily Belden did a great job marrying comedy and romance with such a morbid topic as losing a spouse at a young age (or any age). I felt horrible that our protagonist, Charlotte, had been through such a hardship, but it was laughable when her husband’s urn appeared randomly on her doorstep when the mausoleum burns down.

Overall, I liked Charlotte’s character. She’s got a lot of baggage and inner demons, just like the rest of us, which made her very real. Also, she has a pretty kickass job. Charlotte works for a social media analytics company and is programming a dating software – that’s freaking cool! I love that Belden gave her a very modern job that shows off her smarts.

Charlotte wants to find the perfect man for her – a man who won’t abandon her. Her true match. Which is why she created her own software to find men who are the most compatible with her. Throughout the book, Charlotte struggles with letting go of her past and being vulnerable with the people in her life in the present. She’s so afraid of getting hurt or abandoned by a man that she made a software just to find her “perfect” match – based on an algorithm.

Overall, I enjoyed Husband Material. The main premise of the book – Charlotte’s husband’s ashes randomly arriving on her doorstep – was very intriguing and a great start to the story. That event alone takes Charlotte down so many bumpy roads. First, she has to welcome her husband back into her and life, mourn his death all over again, and then move on. On top of that, she discovers Decker had some secrets of his own. Boy, what a good twist! 

Also, Charlotte has to deal with her ex-mother-in-law, who has her own plans for Decker – a new home for his urn, since the mausoleum burned down. In addition, she reconnects with her husband’s best friend, Brian. Plus, throw in some work and roommate drama as the cherry on top.

I really didn’t dislike anything specific about the book. However, out of all of the drama with Charlotte’s job, Decker’s mom, and the urn, the romance was not the star of the story for me. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the romance part of it, I just liked the other parts of the story better. Charlotte’s love interest is Brian, a handsome pediatric doctor, who was her husband’s best friend. From Charlotte’s description, Brian does sound pretty hot and like a good all-around guy. 

It makes perfect sense that the widow and the best friend could fall for each other. Charlotte and Brian get each other. They both lost someone who meant a lot to them, so they already have an emotional connection and friendship. Plus, he knows that she was married before. Fortunately, Charlotte doesn’t have to convince Brian that she doesn’t carry around any “widow baggage.” Together they have a history and Brian would never make her hide her past or forget about Decker. After all, he lost him too.

I give Husband Material 4 out of 5 stars. I was hooked by the first chapter and by the second, I was hooked even more. Even though I couldn't relate to all of Charlotte’s experiences, she felt like one of my gal pals and I rooted for her to find her way. But, we can relate that we all have a past and carry around our own baggage. I liked that Husband Material wasn’t just about love, but about loss, and life’s other daily struggles and challenges. Most importantly, this book reminds us that life isn’t perfect, no one is perfect, and there’s no algorithm or code that will solve all of life's problems, and that's okay!

Check out my full review of Husband Material on my blog! :)
www.candisbarbosa.com/book-review-husband-material-emily-belden/
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