Husband Material

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

I really tried this finish this book but just didn't like the characters.  I know some people would enjoy this one but it just wasn't for me.
Was this review helpful?
HUSBAND MATERIAL by Emily Belden is a contemporary women’s fiction story with elements of rom-con and romance genres included. This is a standalone book that deals with a young widow and how she deals with her life and those around her.

Five years after the death of her husband, Charlotte Rosen opens a box that contains the urn and ashes of her late husband who she thought was in a mausoleum in Pala, California. Suddenly, all her work at avoiding those who knew of her marriage and rebuilding her life based on mathematical algorithms is in jeopardy. 

The return of Decker’s ashes and a secret to be revealed about his past are going to force Charlotte out of her controlled bubble of simple acquaintances, algorithms over emotions and her unresolved grief.

Charlotte took me on an unexpected journey. There were times Charlotte really annoyed me and yet the author had a way of revealing through another character or discovery, why she was the way she was. The whole situation of reading about being a widow at such a young age could feel uncomfortable and did at times, but I feel Ms. Belden handled Charlotte’s journey with empathy, humor, forgiveness and love. The secondary cast of characters in this story all start out on the periphery of Charlotte’s emotional life, but Ms. Belden does a beautiful job of one-by-one showing Charlotte why and how they should be let in even when her algorithms disagree.

I enjoyed Charlotte’s journey and Ms. Belden’s writing style, but I also know this is going to be one of those books that everyone reads through a differing emotional lens.
Was this review helpful?
I am not sure why but I chose to read HUSBAND MATERIAL by Emily Belden thinking it was going to be a lighter read that falls into the rom-com category. Yes, there are elements of humour throughout, but overall, I found the book to be thoughtful and contemplative.

Charlotte Rosen, not yet thirty, has been a widow for 5 years. Her husband’s unexpected death has left her shaken and she still misses him. Charlotte’s trying to move on but it’s clear to the reader that the path she has taken is more about trying to maintain control of what happens in her life to avoid being blindsided again.

Unsettling circumstances have Charlotte questioning her understanding of the past, her current life and her future plans. 

I found Charlotte to be a sympathetic and relatable character. I enjoyed her story.
Was this review helpful?
Charlotte deals in numbers, but life sometimes defies logic - as she soon discovers...
All-in-all, Belden's book is about starting over; beginning again when things didn't quite go the way you expected the first time. Charlotte, in her own kooky way, is a poster child for pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and marching on into a new normal. And that's a theme that I can certainly get behind.
Husband Material is a quirky, quick read that tackles some real adult issues with humor and a whole lotta number-crunching!
Was this review helpful?
This was more women;'s fiction for my taste. There was a lot of drama and not what I was looking for. This was a DNF for me.
Was this review helpful?
This book was absolutely beautifully written. Going in I wasn't sure what to expect but the blurb sounded interesting so I wanted to give it a shot. I am very glad I did! I adored Charlotte and was invested in her from the very first chapter. This story was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I found myself putting myself in Charlotte's shoes and this definitely resulted in me crying (frequently). I can't wait to read more from Emily Belden!
Was this review helpful?
Numbers Don't Lie, But People Do. This was a tragi-comedy of a widow finding herself -at a point when she thought she had already done so. Enough humor to keep a light-ish tone to what could have become a very dour subject matter, this book manages to combine quasi-software engineering (even the best of us can't do what the lead does in this book) with a tale of picking yourself up by the bootstraps... twice. Very much recommended.

Note: Since the publisher requested it, here is a note that I did in fact receive this book as an ARC. As *always* with *any* of my reviews, my thoughts are completely my own and I review absolutely any book I read, no matter how I acquired it.
Was this review helpful?
A romcom with real emotions.

Charlotte worked in a social media company that got people together with am algorithm. Having lost her husband 5 years ago, she recently entered the dating scene. One day her husband’s ashes reached her doorstep with a Reveal in it. Her emotions of loss was still raw. Charlotte realized that she had to deal with the past to get to the future.

My first book by author Emily Bolden, it was sweet and delicious with its sarcasm. It took me some time to connect with the main character, but soon I could understand her mind set and where she was coming from. There was loads of emotions with humor and snark making it a light and humorous.

Loss of a partner is dreadful and moving on is scary. The author brought both out in a way that made the story easy to read. Laughter and tears both found their place in me. The writing captured me with its subtle nuances and uplifting tale of embracing life.

A cute read between my thrillers.
Was this review helpful?
A special thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Graydon House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Charlotte Rosen is a twenty-nine-year-old data analyst in LA. She's developing an app that measures how compatible a potential mate is. To test her algorithm, and in the hopes of finding Mr. Right, she goes on several dates—but what nobody knows, not even her roommate, is that Charlotte was widowed five years earlier.

When Charlotte receives Decker's ashes in the mail, she is stunned, and all of the careful relationships she has constructed to keep her past hidden begin to crumble. When a chance at love comes her way, will Charlotte trust the numbers or her heart?

Belden walks a fine line between humour and grief and for the most part is successful. My only hesitation with rating this book higher is because Charlotte was rather annoying at times, too needy. I felt that most, if not all, of her relationships were forced, and I didn't fully buy in.

That being said, what I loved about the book was the humour. It was cheeky and fun—the opening wedding scene reads like a movie. The dynamic between Charlotte and her mother-in-law made for some of the best scenes in the book. I also enjoyed the support group and would have liked it to have more page time.

Husband Material is a fresh rom-com with a contemporary edge.
Was this review helpful?
More than five years after the untimely death of her beloved husband, twenty-nine year old Charlotte Rosen is living on the opposite side of the US, with people who are totally unaware of the tragedy in her past. Well, that's true until her late husband's ashes are delivered to her. This twist of fate has her needing to reconsider events, reconnect with her in laws and to discover secrets that had been kept from her. Facing up again to her loss, reconnecting with people who knew her husband and having to share about him with her new life will change things forever - but will it be for better or worse?

This is a moving story as Charlotte has tried to ensure she never has to suffer grief again by cocooning herself in a world of acquaintances and coding, never taking risks and only really sharing her love with her dog. The delivery of her husband's ashes is the trigger for turmoil as those barriers she's built around herself come crumbling down. As she uncovers secrets that have been kept from her, she questions her memories of her husband, the actions of those who used to be close to them both and her own choices. It is a story where mysteries unfold, keeping you turning the pages wondering what she'll discover next. It is a story of discovering the real motives of others, finding your assumptions aren't always right - even when the algorithms may predict otherwise!

I requested and was gifted a copy of this book via NetGalley and this is my honest review after choosing to read it.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this women's fiction book about Charlotte Rosen, a widow, who is once again faced with the grief of her husband's death. When a fire breaks out at the place where her husbands ashes were kept and his ashes end up on her front door, Charlotte's life starts to unravel once again. For years she has planned and created a life free from risks. Five years later she needs to reconcile with her mother-in-law, who never liked her, meet her husband's best friend and try to come to terms with a secret she never knew about her husband. This book reminded me of the film Catch and Release and was filled with loss, forgiveness and a second chance at love and happiness.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book! I really enjoyed Charlotte, the main character and I felt for her. I love Rom-Com's and while I was expecting this to be great, it was SO. MUCH. MORE. 

This story was one of love, grief, loss, and second chances. 

The characters are dynamic, complicated, and well fleshed out.
Was this review helpful?
My Thoughts
I am honored to be part of this blog tour and to share my thoughts on this book. Here are my pros and cons for Husband Material:


1.  I’m not sure what I expected from this novel, but it ended up being much more profound than I anticipated… and that is a compliment. This book tackled some tough issues and some deep-rooted, longstanding emotions between several characters and it did it in a way that wasn’t depressing. This book has a lot of heart, but it is also fun and witty. It is a unique combination that is often hard to pull off, but I think the author did the combination justice in this book.
2.  The engineering nerd in me loved the programming aspect of the book! However, I also thought it was great that the story points out that coding and algorithms cannot “design” or predict a perfect life or a perfect love. You can’t eliminate human interaction from the equation!
3.  I liked the style of the writing. It had an effortlessness to it and it was enjoyable to read.
4.  I liked Charlotte. She felt real, genuine, organic. We got to know her, flaws and all, and I really felt a connection with her.
5.  The secondary characters are great and well-developed.
6.  The scene when Charlotte finally decides what to do with the ashes of her deceased husband was extremely well-done.
7.  I thought the relationship between Charlotte and Brian was realistic, although I did find myself wondering why they didn’t reconnect sooner.
8.  Ultimately, this is a book about forgiveness, healing, and living life.


1.  I don’t think the book cover was a good choice. The book cover is cute and this type of cover tends to draw the eye and generate interest; however, it seems a bit lighthearted considering the topics that are addressed in the book.
2.  There was a secret revealed near the end of the book and I personally didn’t understand the need to include it in the story. I won’t reveal what happened, but suffice it to say it felt a little forced to me and unnecessary. I also felt like it belittled Charlotte’s relationship with her deceased husband a bit.

I enjoyed this book. I do think it is more contemporary women’s fiction rather than romance, so if you are looking for a strong romance novel, this may not be it for you. However, this is a good story that covers some weighty topics carefully and thoughtfully. I would recommend this novel to anyone that likes contemporary fiction.

Thank you NetGalley and HARLEQUIN – Graydon House Books for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
‘Husband Material’ sounded so great and I loved the cover. Unfortunately, I struggled so hard to get into this book. I’m not sure if it was the story, of the writing style, or my mood, but either way, this one didn’t work for me personally. I felt no real connection to the hero, and the heroine I didn’t care for. I think I expected more of a romance but it read much more like women’s fiction (which is what it’s classified, but with it being pubbed by Harlequin I assumed romance, that was my bad). The real MVP of this story was Charlotte’s roommate, Casey. I’d love to read more about her!
Was this review helpful?
I picked up Husband Material by Emily Belden thinking that it would be a fun romantic comedy.  It wasn’t, but it is decent contemporary fiction.  The premise of the story is great, and the characters are interesting.  I enjoyed Ms. Belden’s writing style, but I struggled with some aspects of the story.

Charlotte Rosen is a 29 year-old-widow, and part of the way that she avoids dealing with her loss is to keep that a secret from everyone in her “new” life.  I can see someone not wanting to be defined by that tragedy, but when her late husband’s ashes show up on her doorstep, it is clear that Charlotte’s secretiveness is about her unresolved issues.  Some of those issues include an acerbic MIL and the late husband’s best friend, Brian.  Both of these characters are unlikable; I couldn’t get past their deception, and I found it hard to accept how Charlotte responded to their explanations.

As a social influencer, Charlotte relies on numbers and spreadsheets.  She also relies on them to avoid accepting that the heart wants what the heart wants, no matter if the math doesn’t add up.  The discovery of a big secret and the multiple deceptions is the catalyst for Charlotte moving on with her life.  She is finally forced to deal with her past, and that allows her to stop using work as an excuse not to live her life to the fullest.

I loved Charlotte’s quirky roommate, Casey; she is a sparkling addition to the story.  I appreciated the messages about loss, grieving and second chances.  I’d give the writing 5-stars, the storytelling 4-stars (the plot slows for a while after the funny start to the book), but the denouement didn’t work for me.  Overall, a 3-star read for me.
Was this review helpful?
What I thought would be a pop-fiction with a 20-something trying to get married ended up being way more involved with feelings, and histories, and relationships than I originally expected.

This was definitely fun to read for a few days. I found Charlotte to be likable, but also a bit self-centered. Well, the book is about her, so I suppose that makes sense. But the plot seemed very smoothly laid out, and then resolved. Not being a widow, I suppose I’m in no place to comment on how she dealt with things, but it seemed quite neatly tied up to me.

There were a few minutes near the end when I thought maybe the happily-ever-after wasn’t going to be quite what I thought it would be, but that ended up being the whole point – for Charlotte to quit planning and being so confident in what to expect next.

I did love Charlotte’s job as a number-cruncher for a company who measures social media interaction. As a blogger and influencer myself from time to time, I felt I could relate a bit to that part of her life. It was also a unique job that I haven’t seen a character do before.

Overall, I’d give this book 3 out of 5 stars. The epilogue wrapped it up nicely in the end. I do love being able to finish a book and not wonder about what might have happened to my new ‘friends’ in the book.
Was this review helpful?
Title:  Husband Material
Author:  Emily Belden
Genre:  Women’s fiction
Rating:  4 out of 5

Charlotte Rosen is 29, has a great job at an up-and-coming company, a data-driven mind, a cute dog, and a secret that not even her roommate for years knows:  she’s a widow. Since the day her world crumpled to pieces, Charlotte has done her best to move forward. Now she’s intent on going on enough dates—and gathering enough data—to find her perfect man.

What Charlotte wasn’t expecting was her late husband’s ashes to show up at her doorstep, a twist of fate that leaves her reeling—and reaching out. Now she’s determined to make sense of things, even if it means dealing with her formidable mother-in-law…or her late husband’s best friend. Then she discovers a secret so shocking it turns her memory of her husband on its head—and her search for answers leads her places she never would have imagined just days ago.

I liked Charlotte, with all her insecurities and neurotic tendencies. I can’t even imagine trying to keep something like a marriage and a husband a secret—although the way he died hit a little close to home for me. Charlotte has never really dealt with her loss and her guilt, but when those ashes show up at her door, she has no choice. The only thing that niggled at me during this read was how quickly her mother-in-law did an about-face…although I can kind of see it.

Emily Belden was a guest on The Today Show after she tiled her bedroom floor in over 60,000 pennies. Husband Material is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Graydon House via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Was this review helpful?
Charlotte Rosen comes across as a strong, successful, and confident woman. A successful career woman proud of her accomplishments in the growing field of social media analytics. A woman who knows what she wants from life. These are all partial truths. Charlotte is successful in her career but she isn't overly confident with her job or social life. She comes across as aloof when she's actually somewhat of an introvert and closes herself off to protect her emotions. She has a roommate, but she doesn't really share all that much with her. She has a "bestie" at work, but only shares work-related materials with her. Charlotte is looking for love and marriage and has created an app to help her determine the compatibility of any "match" she receives from online dating services. She's confident in the app's predictability but has yet to meet someone that fulfills her requirements. Well, she had met someone years ago. She had actually married that someone, but sadly, he had died after only one year of marriage. Charlotte has been a widow for five years and the only people that know are those from before she started a new life and job, her former in-laws, and her parents. Then a bombshell is dropped on Charlotte, figuratively speaking. She unexpectedly receives the urn containing her deceased husband's cremains due to a fire at the cemetery. Charlotte's emotions are in a serious state of flux. Her roommate is shocked to learn of Charlotte's prior marriage. Charlotte's mother-in-law wants to "repossess" the urn, and her employer has given her a forced two week break as a result of her emotional state. The only good thing to come from this disastrous situation is that Charlotte has reconnected with an old friend, actually her deceased husband's best friend, Dr. Brian Jackson. The friendship quickly develops into something a bit more and just when Charlotte thinks her life is getting back on track, she is thrown by several huge secrets. 

Husband Material is actually the first book I've read by Emily Belden (trust me, it won't be the last), and one that I enjoyed from beginning to end. If anything, this was one story that I didn't want to end simply because I enjoyed the interactions between Charlotte and her roommate Casey, Charlotte and Brian, and even the interactions between Charlotte and her former mother-in-law. I found the characters, action, and settings to be highly realistic and plausible. Charlotte isn't a self-absorbed person, just someone afraid of being hurt and emotionally closed-off due to the untimely death of her husband. Yes, she wants to move on, but she has relegated everything in the present to an if this-then that scenario. She's comfortable coding and has made every attempt to live her life by that binary code without thought about the limitations or repercussions toward herself or others. The primary lesson learned is the life and love can be unpredictable, unmanageable, and wholly unexpected. Although Husband Material is a romance, there are quite a lot of things going on in this story such as self-awareness, self-growth, grief management, and more. Although Husband Material deals with some heavy themes, this isn't a dark and dour read. Okay, it's not a light and fluffy read either, but it is an intriguing look at grief, recovery, and starting anew with a decidedly romantic bent. There are parts of the story that made me smile, parts that made me laugh, and parts that made me empathize with the sadness of the main character. If you're looking for something a little different to read to wrap up your yearly reading or to begin the new year, I encourage you to grab a copy of Husband Material by Emily Belden. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
Was this review helpful?
A quirky read that was kind of all over the place.

The blurb intrigued me and I decided to take a shot on this new to me author. I liked the book, it was unique and unlike anything I’d read before. The main character was somewhat relatable but clearly a mess. Her struggles were raw and understandable. Everyone deals with grief differently and she certainly took a unique approach.

Parts of this book seemed completely unbelievable, especially when it came to the heroine and her decisions or reactions to things. Also, the huge plot twist was like reading an entirely different book. It didn’t fit the story at all. It left me scratching my head as to why the author chose to throw it in there and upheave the entire story line.

I honestly couldn’t wrap my brain around how the romance portion played out. I get that the characters had deep history but it just seemed so unlikely that they’d end up together once all was said and done.

So in the end I enjoyed the book despite some of its major flaws. It was pretty humorous, definitely sad and a little sweet. A solid 3 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for my review.
Was this review helpful?
3.5/5 stars

What I liked:
*I really liked Charlotte and thought the portrayal of her attempts to move on from the death of her husband were so authentic and relatable. I can’t imagine losing my loved one, but if I did, I could see that retreating into data and facts to try to protect myself would be a very likely coping strategy for me, just like it was for Charlotte. I was surprised by how moved and empathetic I felt for all she was going through, and I thought her sense of humor was utter perfection.
*I also really liked Brian, the love interest. I thought the way he tiptoes around Charlotte, and his motives for doing the things he does, were also incredibly relatable and also totally adorable. I actually wished we got to know more about him, like maybe some chapters from his perspective. That said, I think it was actually perfect the way it is written, all from Charlotte’s perspective, given that there are a couple of plot surprises that work best sticking to her perspective only. I just thought Brian was funny and would’ve loved a view into his brain.
*The commentary on life, work, friendship, and dating as a young adult in LA was totally spot-on and hilarious. I loved the banter, the ridiculous things Charlotte has to deal with like totally out-there boutique owners, snarky interns at work, and dates who wanted sex contracts. I had many good laughs!

What didn’t work so well:
*A few of the characters were a little too simplistic for my taste. For example, Decker’s mom felt like a caricature of the rich and entitled parent. And even though we get to see a glimpse of more complexity, it is all a little too “neat” and plot-serving for my taste. I just wasn’t sure I could quite believe a person would act the way she did at various point throughout the story. But this is a minor issue, and one I’m willing to overlook because of how much I liked the rest.
*I kinda wanted more on the romance front. I think because it is a story about a widow who is finally laying her loved one to rest, metaphorically speaking, this may not have been possible without losing authenticity. But just, Charlotte and Brian are so darn cute, and I wanted a little moooooore of it.
*The pacing was a little off, and felt like it was slooooooooow and then really fast at the end. I know there was a lot to set up and a fair amount of internal turmoil and growth to go through, but it still just didn’t feel totally balanced to me.

Those are all my thoughts on this one. I like the depth of the characters, some of the hilarious situations and commentary on what it’s like to be a young adult in LA. I found myself cracking up (cackling) a few times and tearing up a few times, and I like any book that can do both for me.
Was this review helpful?