- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 7, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345507940
- ISBN-13: 978-0345507945
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Lost Husband: A Novel Paperback – May 7, 2013
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It’s a new year, and Libby Moran is starting a new life. Three years ago, she lost her husband in a car accident. Left with an empty savings account and two small children to feed, Libby sold her house and moved in with her critical, passive-aggressive mother. So when Libby receives a letter from her estranged aunt offering an escape—room, board, and a small salary in exchange for helping around the farm—she grabs it, uprooting her family to the country to milk goats and make cheese. But her new life takes some adjusting to. Her eccentric aunt is harboring a secret, the unkempt farm manager stirs up conflicting feelings, Libby’s daughter encounters a problem at school, and the psychic clerk at the feed store is determined to bring back Libby’s lost husband. Center writes endearingly of love and family in her fourth novel, with lessons about loss, gain, standing up for oneself, and accepting that your best is good enough. Fans of well-crafted romantic women’s fiction won’t be disappointed. --Diane Holcomb
“A sweet tale about creating the family you need.”—People
“A heartwarming novel that explores the trials of losing what matters most.”—USA Today
“[Katherine] Center writes endearingly of love and family in her fourth novel, with lessons about loss, gain, standing up for oneself, and accepting that your best is good enough. Fans of well-crafted romantic women’s fiction won’t be disappointed.”—Booklist
“A novel about family, love and forgiveness . . . heart-rending and heartwarming.”—Kirkus Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
With every book, Katherine seems to find a new level to entice and entrance her readers. She didn't settle for the obvious ending and that made the book stronger. The characters are well-defined and there are sufficient background characters to keep the book rife with interwoven plots.
Strong female characters are hard to come by and her protagonist is superb. She has just enough self-doubt and human frailty to make her seem like someone you know. I think Katherine's ability to create realistic characters is one of her strengths.
So, when is the next book coming out?
The letter comes out of the blue, and just in time for Libby Moran, who--after the sudden death of her husband, Danny--went to stay with her hypercritical mother. Now her crazy Aunt Jean has offered Libby an escape: a job and a place to live on her farm in the Texas Hill Country. Before she can talk herself out of it, Libby is packing the minivan, grabbing the kids, and hitting the road.
Life on Aunt Jean's goat farm is both more wonderful and more mysterious than Libby could have imagined. Beyond the animals and the strenuous work, there is quiet--deep, country quiet. But there is also a shaggy, gruff (though purportedly handsome, under all that hair) farm manager with a tragic home life, a formerly famous feed-store clerk who claims she can contact Danny "on the other side," and the eccentric aunt Libby never really knew but who turns out to be exactly what she's been looking for. And despite everything she's lost, Libby soon realizes how much more she's found. She hasn't just traded one kind of crazy for another: She may actually have found the place to bring her little family--and herself--back to life.
And so begins the wonderful tale of how losing one kind of life can lead to finding something unexpectedly wonderful. Narrated in Libby's first person voice, the reader is gifted with wonderful word pictures of the country setting and the simple folks who take nothing for granted. Who knew that the quiet country life would hold such sweetness, mixed in with all the hard work? And even though Aunt Jean's house doesn't even have a TV, and the smallness of the community takes some adjusting, Libby is finally carving out some wonderful connections here.
But what is the root of the antagonism between Aunt Jean and Libby's mother Marsha? What daunting secret can explain a decades-long rift that has carved a groove into Aunt Jean's normally-serene persona? And what about O'Connor, that shaggy man who seems attracted to Libby, but does nothing about it?
The Lost Husband: A Novel reminds us that losing people and one kind of life doesn't mean that you can't find something else. And that accepting that loss isn't a betrayal, but, in a way, a tribute to the lost one.
I like this excerpt (in Libby's voice):
"And then I realized something: I would always miss Danny. No matter how full my life became, there would always be a hole where his living presence had been. But the truth was, I was already better. And not despite that hole--but because of it. His loss was now a part of the story of my life...."
I enjoyed this story, despite it's predictability at times, and maybe because of it, too. Who doesn't love a feel-good ending to a beautifully wrought story? Four stars.
The Lost Husband follows the story of Libby, a widow with two children. Libby has been living with her mother since the untimely death of her husband. As we all know, fish and relatives start smelling after three days. Libby receives a letter from her aunt (her mother's sister), inviting Libby and her children to come and live on the farm with her.
This is a beautiful and touching book. It may be one that you need to be in a specific place in your life to see that beauty. I, for one, am at a place where moving to a farm and raising my own food is something I would love to do - so that part of the book really resonated with me.
The characters are all layered incredibly well. I love that Aunt Jean is a farmer, but also a therapist who sees patients on her farm.
Some favorite moments:
* He was fun, he was affectionate, he helped with the dishes. But the trouble with getting what you've always wanted is that once you have it, you have to worry that you'll lose it. And the more you tamp down that fear, the more it comes out in funny ways.
* Because keeping busy is a learned skill. As are: exploring, playing pretend and running around outside.
* All I knew was that watching your children survive their childhoods was so much worse than surviving your own.
* Your past and your future are about to intersect. You're about to learn firsthand how joy is impossible without sadness. You can go forward or back, but you can't do both. And everything is about to change.
* The chasm I came to over and over again with my own kids that separated the things I knew from the things they could understand. The vast difference between what you could learn from experience and what you could teach.
* And then I realized something: I would always miss Danny. No matter how full my life became, there would always be a hole where his living presence had been. But the truth was, I was already better. And not despite that hole, but because o fit.
* You can't just wish strength for yourself. Or wisdom. Or resilience. Those things have to be earned.
* I thought about him and me and the human race in general - how brave and resilient and hopeless we are...We muddle through. We didn't give up....Tragedy finds you. And we keep trying anyway. We hope for the best.
Anything was possible. Everything was uncertain. But I knew one thing for sure: I'd bounced back before, and I would do it again and again and again. Because that's the only choice there is. And as many things as I still had to lose, I had just as many more left to find.