Cover Image: The Husbands

The Husbands

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

What every woman needs is a wife! This book will resonate with anyone who has ever wondered why they’re the only one in their house who can put things in the dishwasher, or knows how to start the washing machine or set a timer, or knows where the vacuum cleaner is kept etc etc. Like a gender swapped [Stepford Wives, The Husbands is a good read, particularly the latter sections. Nora Spangler is a lawyer with a young daughter and another baby on the way. Her husband, Hayden is helpful but always seems to disappear just when she needs him and of course she’s the only one who can pick the kid up from school, pack lunches and brush hair. When they look at a new house in Dynasty Ranch, Nora meets a group of women with perfect husbands and brilliant careers. What is their secret? I found the first half or so a bit slow while enjoying the writing and ideas but still a fun read overall with a serious base.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to netgalley and the publisher who gave me a free eARC of this book on exchange for an honest review. 
The Husbands, by Chandler Baker, is a feminist thriller that follows Nora Spangler, a pregnant mother, wife and lawyer. Its a novel that asks "to what end will a woman go to get more help from her husband?"
This is not a genre I usually read but I an trying to branch our from my comfort zone so I was keen to give it a go.
I took a while to get into it but overall I enjoyed it. It was dark and twisty with lots of surprises and mysteries. I found the main character frustrating at times in the way she treated the people around her but it was am enjoyable read. Well worth a look. 4 stars.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, this book!

I’m not married and I don’t have kids, but I have witnessed the very thing Nora laments in her life.

I liked the reverse ‘Stepford Wife’ vibe and it was a little quirky, very funny, and entertaining.,  

I do think there was a slower pace in parts, and some parts seemed intense with the complaining.
Was this review helpful?
This one was a slow burn for me. Nora is a married mother of one (and another on the way) and is trying to juggle becoming partner in the law firm she works for and motherhood whilst getting increasingly frustrated at her husband. Looking to purchase a new home, it seems too good to be true when they inspect a home in a lovely neighborhood where all the men see too good to be true (apart from the one that recently died in a house fire). In their efforts to win over the locals, Nora agrees to offer legal advice and she quickly becomes enamored with the ladies and their lives. The pace really picked up for me when Nora discovers that the perfect area has some dirty and horrendous secrets and her dream home might have more associated costs than just a mortgage. Great read.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this one, and finished it in the one sitting. 

It's an extremely interesting novel, I honestly just couldn't stop reading.

I can't really say much else without spoiling it, but this book went in a direction I was not expecting!

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the ebook via Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
I loved Chandler Baker’s previous book, The Whisper Network, so I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of her latest release. This book follows Nora, a successful lawyer, and her husband, Hayden. Nora knows her husband works hard, but it seems like Nora is always working harder, especially when it comes to parenting their 4 year old and other domestic tasks. When the two go house hunting in Dynasty Ranch, an exclusive suburban neighborhood, Nora meets a group of high-powered women with enviably supportive husbands. When she agrees to help with a resident's wrongful death case, she is pulled into the lives of the women there and finds the air is different in Dynasty Ranch. The women aren't hanging on by a thread. But as the case unravels, Nora uncovers a plot that may explain the secret to having-it-all. One that's worth killing for

There were parts of this book that really resonated with me, and, as with The Whisper Network, there were so many lines in this book that hit me so hard I had to read them over and over. I loved how Baker commented on how society treats women returning to work after having a baby, about how women bear the brunt of the mental load at home, and the uneven divide of parenting responsibilities, particularly with young kids. But the narrative fell a little flat for me. It was very predictable, there wasn’t a lot of drama and the ending felt rushed. I also HATE a villain monologue It felt to me like the author just pasted together a series of comments on various issues with society – all of which I thought were very thought provoking and very relevant – but perhaps included a few too many, at the expense of the story. I also found Nora a difficult protagonist to be invested in, and I think it is because she was all the things I hate feeling myself – tired, frazzled, overwhelmed and constantly one step behind on the to-do list. She just seemed so unhappy the whole time, which is maybe the point? There was also a very black and white divide between the “bad” husband and the “good” husbands, and I would have loved a little more nuance. I did love the last line though, and I think this would be a great one to discuss with a group. Make sure you read the authors note!

Overall, this one kept me turning the pages but I was a little let down by the ending. I’m very excited to see it as a tv series though! Thank you @netgalley and @hachetteaus for this free copy!
Was this review helpful?
The slow build in this chilling psychological thriller had me hooked from the start. Initially the quiet suburban residential community of Dynasty Ranch seems idyllic, the residents appealing as potential friends and neighbours and the atmosphere calm and pleasant. I loved the way the lifestyle offered here contrasted with the demanding and hectic lifestyle of protagonist Nora Spangler, a typical wife faced with the stress of juggling a demanding job, a small child and a bucketload of competing demands on her time. I loved the way that the invidious evil within Dynasty Ranch is slowly revealed as Nora and her husband Hayden become more and more tied up with the community. This story had me on the edge of my seat and by the time the end was in sight I couldn’t read fast enough to discover the final conclusion.
Was this review helpful?
I hate to say it as I was hoping to like this book but I found it rather boring and one dimensional.  I so wanted more to happen, more excitement and more thrills but it never came to be. 

It was unbelievable, somewhat silly and it just didn't have any depth. I love a page-turner and this one was not!

I really can't say more!
Was this review helpful?
Having read and enjoyed Ira Levin's 1972 classic The Stepford Wives a few years ago, I found Chandler Baker's new release The Husbands a fascinating re-imagination of many of the same themes in a 21st century setting.
Thirty-six year old Nora Spangler lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband Hayden and pre-school aged daughter Liv. She struggles to balance her successful legal career with managing the family's domestic needs, spending quality time with her daughter, keeping her marriage alive, maintaining friendships and (a distant consideration) looking after her own health and wellbeing. To add to her stresses, she's newly pregnant with the family's second child, in the same year she's being considered for partnership at her firm.
Having decided that their expanding family will soon need more space than their bijoux current townhouse in central Austin currently provides, Nora and Hayden inspect a spacious and well-appointed home in Dynasty Ranch, an exclusive estate located in the suburbs. While they're considering whether to make an offer, Nora becomes acquainted with a group of high-flying women, already resident in Dynasty Ranch, all of whom are blessed with unusually supportive and adoring husbands. All, that is, but Penny, whose husband Richard was recently tragically killed in a housefire. Penny's circle of friends in Dynasty Ranch engage Nora to act in a wrongful death lawsuit, allowing her to spend more time getting to know them and at the same time, enabling a tantalising peek beneath their perfect veneer of domestic bliss.
It's a crazy ride to the shocking conclusion, but a narrative that will have many professional women nodding their heads with familiarity at Nora's reflections on her home and work life. I imagine author Chandler Baker has drawn substantially on her own lived experience, as in addition to her successful writing career, she also works as a corporate lawyer. As a former commercial lawyer myself, I can attest to the veracity of her depictions of the systemic misogyny that exists within the profession when it comes to work flexibility and career advancement.
I found Baker's writing style compelling and her plot well-structured throughout. The pace waxes and wanes, like real life, and she effectively creates an atmosphere of hidden malice. Like Nora, we vacillate between envy of the perfect lifestyle apparently offered by Dynasty Ranch, and growing suspicion, as subtle obstacles interfere with her efforts to uncover the truth behind Richard's death.
The Husbands features an intriguing cast of female characters surrounding our heroine, Nora. The male characters are, perhaps necessarily, more stereotyped as either irritatingly obtuse or troublingly compliant. That said, I found Baker's depiction of Nora's marital relationship convincing and reasonably sympathetic to both sides (male readers may disagree!).
All in all, a great read with some really important underlying messages about the burdens that working wives and mothers continue to face. I'd highly recommend it to all readers who enjoy twisty domestic thrillers and contemporary women's fiction.
My thanks to the author, Chandler Baker, publisher Hachette Australia, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this intriguing and entertaining title.
Was this review helpful?
Wow wee, this is the book that every exhausted mum out there needs to read. Can you imagine a life where your husband actually took over the home duties without asking, made those lunches, cooked that dinner and god forbid did some washing. Sound too good to be true? well if you move into Dynasty Ranch you will find a place where women have the power, they have the high-ranking jobs they call the shots and The Husbands just do as they are told. 
Enter lawyer Nora Spangler she is just looking for a move to the suburbs with room for her family to grow, is Dynasty Ranch the place for her, well she certainly seems to think so. Instantly having a rapport with the women of the neighbourhood she is taken under their wing and that is where the fun begins.
This book was a lot of fun and gave me a lot of laughs but also had a wonderful dark domestic drama woven through its words. I would have liked a little move in the last chapter, I did find it wound up very quickly but all in all, a fab fun read that I would recommend. Thank you to NetGalley and HachetteAUS for the early reading copy, The Husbands is out now.
Was this review helpful?
It’s a great premise - a gender-swapped Stepford Wives. This was a well-written book and I was mostly enjoying it, right up until the 3rd act. I felt like the protagonist was pretty clueless the whole time and ultimately felt betrayed by the ending. I always feel like the author is taking a chance when having their main character side with the baddies in the end - it makes me feel like a bit of a fool for rooting them the whole time. In this book, it deprived me of the satisfaction of seeing the “cult” exposed and brought to justice. So in this it just fell short for me, I did not enjoy the book as a whole.
Was this review helpful?
The Husbands by Chandler Baker is a timely feminist thriller, set in an idyllic suburb near Austin. All the women in this tight-knit community appear to be highly accomplished and their husbands are exceptionally domesticated or is there something sinister going on here?

Our main character, lawyer Nora Spangler is pregnant with her second child and is up for partner at her firm. She loves her husband Hayden but she is struggling juggling motherhood, a career and the household tasks. Hayden seems to be oblivious, he doesn’t seem to be pulling his weight, he disappears when there’s something to be done and only does what he’s asked, nothing more.

Nora and Hayden are house hunting and they come across the affluent neighbourhood of Dynasty Ranch which appears to be Nora’s dream come true. Nora is easily manipulated by the women she meets in this prospective new neighbourhood as they befriend her. She imagines she has the opportunity to make the kind of new friends she desperately needs here.

A husband is burned alive in a house fire at Dynasty Ranch and Nora become involved in the case for the wife, Penny. She begins to suspect there are secrets in this community.

Loved the pacing and build-up of tension. The writing is sharp, witty and creative and the story is compulsively entertaining and fun. This would make a great bookclub read as many women may find it relatable, can you imagine!

The final bombshell personally didn’t give me enough closure, it was bizarre and wrapped up a little too fast, although still an entertaining read!
Was this review helpful?
Happy Publication Day 🧡

The Husbands | Chandler Baker

SWIPE ——-> for a sneak peak of the opening page which, in my humble opinion, is pretty darn amazing! Now you might be fooled into thinking it is a fantasy based on that opening (😂) but let me assure you it is a highly addictive domestic thriller with a good dose of humour, exploration of family roles and values with a good dose of feminism thrown in.

Hot mess, Mum of one and one to be Nora is hilarious, accomplished and every bit as likeable as the women in Chandlers first book (The Whisper Network) and I really enjoyed her internal dialogue.

This would make a fabulous buddy read or book club selection as there is just sooo much to talk about and explore. I would definitely recommend this one - out today!

Thank you to the author and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Was this review helpful?
The Husbands is a delightfully subversive domestic thriller from Chandler Baker.

Nora Spangler is exhausted by the effort of juggling her career as a personal injury lawyer with her domestic responsibilities as a wife to Hayden, and mother of a four year old. Pregnant with the couple’s second child, she is increasingly frustrated with the expectation that to have it all (or anything really), she must do it all. Introduced to the residents of the exclusive suburban enclave of Dynasty Ranch during a search for a new home, Nora glimpses an utopian alternative, where the husbands, despite having careers of their own, are eager to ensure their wives are not overburdened by domestic tasks. Intrigued by the neighbourhood and all it appears to offer, Nora is flattered when she is asked her for help with one of their own who has recently lost her husband in a house fire. 

The Husbands is clearly satire, but it often cuts very close to the bone. Baker speaks for many wives and mothers who find they carry the physical and emotional load of daily life in a way that husbands often don’t. Hayden is typical of many modern men who are not unhelpful at home, but remain benignly oblivious to the minutiae that their partners routinely manage. There would be few of us that don’t empathise with Nora’s experiences, both at home and in the workplace, as she struggles to meet the needs and expectations of her multiple roles, and carries the guilt of any failures. While Nora is not completely blameless, she’s fallen into the common trap of martyring herself by expecting perfection, there is a truth that resonates in every partnership I am familiar with.

That we immediately find the behaviour of the Dynasty Ranch husbands to be implausible is a commentary in itself, clearly there is something unusual going on at Dynasty Ranch. The plot draws inspiration from The Stepford Wives and Get Out, so if you are familiar with either, or both, it’s not difficult to predict the direction the story will take. The only real surprise for me was the cheeky final scene which made me snicker out loud, but I still found it tense as Nora was confronted by the truth about the fire, and the secret to the community’s model marriages.

The Husbands is a provocative, timely and entertaining novel I enjoyed reading.
Was this review helpful?
Darkly funny with a disturbing undercurrent, The Husbands is a classic tale of ‘be careful what you wish for’. Nora is juggling a career, motherhood, being a wife and running a household. Her husband helps out when he’s asked, but that’s part of the problem: he has to be asked. When their house hunting takes them into an exclusive neighbourhood, Nora is exposed to a different way of living, a way where the women work in their high-powered jobs while the husbands do everything domestic, along with having careers themselves. Too good to be true? Well, just press pause on that.

Nora’s situation will be all too common to many women. Personally, I found myself nodding along, been there, done that, nothing ever changed. But this is not a novel that runs husbands down needlessly. Nora is controlling, wants her husband to do more without having to be asked, yet consistently finds fault with the way he does things so in the end she just does it all herself. Sound familiar? Lucky you if it doesn’t. The author shows this push and pull in a realistic way. There were several examples though of where it was simply expected that Nora would deal with a crisis, and by deal with it, that meant leaving her own workplace for a family responsibility while her superiors at work shook their heads about the working mother who doesn’t take her job seriously. But we offer work life balance here, don’t you know?!!

So, Nora was really ripe for being manipulated by the women she meets in her prospective new neighbourhood. They quickly draw her in, wooing her so to speak, befriending her, hiring her as a lawyer, and even signing her husband and her up for in-house couple’s therapy. From the outside looking in, it’s all a bit…phoney. Plus, while Nora is all rose-tinted glasses about their husbands, I felt like they were walking robots all chanting the same refrain: ‘She works so hard, she deserves it’. Any sinister inklings you begin to develop as the novel progresses, don’t dismiss them. Some of my theories on what was going on didn’t pan out, but that’s only because they were replaced by something even more outlandish.

I really enjoyed this novel. I thought it was on point and blisteringly funny, albeit dark and fairly twisted. But it all balanced out. Inserted between the chapters are social media posts with a string of comments, all so realistic I wouldn’t be surprised to discover they were actual posts. I found these sections particularly funny but they also served a greater purpose overall to the narrative: it demonstrated a universally shared experience between women. Chandler Baker is a terrific writer, clever and creative, juggling several storylines with ease whilst offering character growth for the major players. Plus, this is just a truly original story, completely out there, and terrifically entertaining. You can’t beat that.


Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy.
Was this review helpful?
From page 1, I was absorbed into this book, and this world. Really enjoyed it. The characters, the way it mirrored typical domestic life, and the intrigue of knowing what's next to come. Chandler Baker keeps getting better and better! Thanks NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
3/5 - Kindle
ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Hachette Australia
Contemporary / Mystery
Popsugar 2021 - Prompt 50: A Free Book

<B> And in six months a fourth family member will join and it’s like the Spangler family is part ofAlice in Wonderland and can’t stop eating the damn cake. </B>

Nora Spangler is a lawyer, she's pregnant, and she's looking for a new house in the gated community that is Dynasty Ranch. But there's a problem. Something happened in the picturesque town of Dynasty Ranch that lead to the death of a resident. Nora has been tasked with the lawsuit to find out what happened. 

<B>I had a writing teacher once who told me that a story always begins with a ‘what if,’ but I keep thinking how my ‘what if’s don’t begin anything. It’s over. Richard’s gone. The end. </B>

With themes of feminism, motherhood and marriage all wound up in a domestic mystery, this book is able to critique society from the perspective of a witty and relatable protagonist. I loved reading from Nora's perspective, I felt like I could see her in a lot of the women in my life, and she had many qualities I can relate to myself. 

<B> All she’s saying is that it had felt a little bit good to be rescued today, to allow herself to be rescued. That’s all.</B>

Alongside the social commentary is a curious mystery that has very strong Stepford Wives energy and although was not a massive shock, was still interesting to watch unfold from Nora's view point. The ending was predictable so as far as a Mystery goes it's not exactly juicy, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.
Was this review helpful?
After loving Chandler Baker’s first book ‘The Whisper Network’ I was so excited to see this one in my netgalley queue and although I started out really enjoying it, unfortunately at about half way it started to become a slow burn for me and I just couldn’t keep myself interested. I just wish there had been a few more twists along the way rather than all just being built up and left for the ending. I do like Chandlers writing style though so I look forward to seeing what she writes next. 
.
Was this review helpful?
A premise sounded interesting. A character seemed identifiable. However, when I started reading the book, I failed to identify with any of the characters. And the book failed to take me.

Characters speak with self-help books' phrases. All of them felt like cardboard cut outs. Being a single mum who worked full-time throughout raising my daughter, I could not find anything to like about women in this book, even Nora. 

The whole story felt made-up and one-dimensional for me. Yes, it sounded like twisted Stepford Wives but the movie was much more prettier and thrilling.

This book might find its reader, but it was not me.
Was this review helpful?
‘Men want women to stay the same while women want men to change’ and ergo the underlying premise of The Husbands. 

Nora is a litigation lawyer who is stretched all too thin. She is married, has a 4 year old daughter and a baby on the way. She loves her husband Hayden, but there’s a small part of her that wishes he was a little more helpful, a little more appreciative, and a little more responsible. 

When Nora stumbles upon a house in a desired up market area, she begins to network with a group of formidable women. All seems kosher until she’s asked fo take on a case involving a wrongful death, connected to the women. The deeper Nora digs, the weirder things seem. It’s almost as if Nora is living in an alternate reality. 

But Hayden is being helpful, appreciative and responsible … she’s not wrong to want that is she? 

The Husbands has an eerie foreboding bent to it. Chapters are interspersed with blog and Twitter-esque posts about equity, equality, and the division of labour within relationships and families. The reader senses Nora getting in over her head ignoring some of the subtle internal messages of acknowledgment that the pieces of this jigsaw don’t quite fit. 

Super interesting. Uber dysfunctional and a few WTF moments for kind in this one. And if I’m honest the occasional aha one as well. 

Thanks to Hachette and netgalley for the complimentary copy to read and review.
Was this review helpful?