Her Almost Perfect Husband
by Mary Rensten
The author of the No. 1 bestseller Letters from Malta.
Emma Raven thought she knew everything there was to know about Andrew, her clever, ambitious, good-looking husband. They had been happily married for twenty-six years; they had even been at school together: Bernie Silver ‒ Andrew’s friend from university in the 1980s and partner in their Islington business, That Music Place ‒ thought he knew him, too.
How wrong they both were. When Andrew is rushed to hospital, and Bernie needs to look at a little red notebook kept locked in his partner’s desk at home in the Hertfordshire village of Pengate … a whole new side of Andrew’s character comes to light.
Can Emma stay true to her husband, knowing what she does? As her seemingly well-ordered life begins to unravel, in Waltham Cross small-time crook Garry Wade, despite having just come into legitimate money for the first time in his life, discovers that he has good reason to hate Andrew Raven. Should he seek revenge and risk going back to prison?
Her Almost Perfect Husband is a poignant story of love and deception, and the importance of human relationships set against material success.
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Current customer reviews
4.7 out of 5 stars!
“I enjoyed this read and couldn’t wait to find out where it would end. My expectations of where it would go were way off the mark. It centres on Andrew, his wife Emma, and Bernie, an old friend and business partner. Andrew has a chip on his shoulder about his ‘working class’ start to life, but when he suffers a stroke and Emma and Bernie are left to try and sort things out and keep the business running, they discover Andrew has been more or less leading a double life. The notebooks in his office are the clue.
Other characters, Garry and Paula, I actually liked them more than the central characters (once I got to know them) and Trev, out of work actor, he was a star!”
“A fascinating and intriguing tale of revelations and secrets of many years coming to the surface. What seems to be an idyll is built on a hidden history and the unsuspected, the revelation of which changes lives and destinies. Beware those who cannot express their emotion except through money and all that it can buy…
I very much enjoyed the characters and their development as the book progressed, as well as the intriguing nature of the plot itself. The tensions between the characters and the depths of the characterisations were very rewarding and absorbing. Additionally, the imperfections of the main characters’ emotional make-ups and interlinkings were fascinatingly played out.
Those who have read Mary Rensten’s other novels (Letters from Malta and A Handful of Straw) and who have seen her plays will know to expect a well-crafted story with unexpected twists and turns. What was also fascinating is that there is so much detail and texture (or quality) to the situations or episodes in the narrative that it makes for a very immersive read.
I experienced this as a very visual tale and could imagine this easily as a televisual or cinematic telling. I am waiting for the sequel – I want to know what happened next!”
“Everyone thinks Emma’s husband is ‘…everything you could want a husband to be’, but when he is hospitalised after a stroke it leads to a devastating discovery. Who should Emma turn to when Andrew’s secret is uncovered? Bernie, their best friend? Jacob, Emma’s son, who has been banished overseas by his father in order to become ‘a proper man’, rather than a ‘mummy’s boy’? Or Emma’s dependable big sister, Constance, who has ‘always looked after her’? Emma will soon discover that they all have secrets of their own.
Throw into the mix, Garry, the ex-criminal, hiding a secret from his sister, and out for justice for his grandfather – ‘This time Garry, do the right thing’ – and you have a fast-paced novel which leaves the reader thinking about the characters long after the last page has been turned.”
“When we see this title, we know something is wrong. It sharpens our senses and stirs our curiosity instantly. Mary Rensten, our seasoned storyteller makes us alert before she leads us into her story of intrigue.
Emma had no idea that Andrew, her ‘almost perfect husband’ could be anything else. Since they married in their youth, he had become successful with a little business that he started with his close partner Bernie. ‘That Music Place’, took time but they built it into an expanding success. Andrew and Emma’s only son Jacob, has now grown and is working in Africa. More financially secure, they lived a number of years like any enthralled couple, they hadn’t allowed anything but practicalities to mar their world, sex had always played a considerable part of their daily living.
It wasn’t until Andrew’s sudden hospitalisation, for what many people considered to be a terminal problem, that his partner, Bernie, came to Emma’s aid. It was their discovery of a folder of press cuttings in Andrew’s desk, also learning of his connection to a small business in Brockwood, that Emma’s suspicions began to wrack her brain. The more she learns of his secret life, the more her security is shattered.
How can she face Andrew about the secret in the Brockwood attic? How can she broach the subject of his Father’s other life to Jacob? Can she admit to herself her attraction to Bernie?
You can find the answers from you armchair, it’s a story you won’t want to leave and easy to go back to. ‘Her almost Perfect Husband’ is as intriguing as her bestselling ‘Letters from Malta.’”
“The title says it all – we know from the start that Andrew must be far from perfect. But, Emma, his wife of 25 years, loves him and is happy. She misses her grown up son who is working abroad, but she has a lovely home and her husband’s business, which he runs with old university friend Bernie, is thriving. So far, so perfect. What could go wrong?
This is not the usual abused wife, abusive husband story but gradually we come to realise that all is not well in the Raven household. When Andrew has a stroke and is rushed to hospital, paralysed and unable to speak, Emma discovers that there are things about her husband that he has kept secret for years. The little red notebook locked in his desk intrigues her and she enlists Bernie’s help to try and figure things out. What they discover makes Emma wonder if she will ever trust Andrew again.
This is a riveting read which kept me awake till the small hours, eager to know what happens next. ‘Her Almost Perfect Husband’ has inspired me to read more of Mary’s books.”
“What a page turner! Emma’s husband Andrew has a stroke putting him in hospital and unable to communicate for weeks. Gradually she realises he is not the person she thought him to be.
The narrative rattles along full of twists and surprises with tensions around sex, gender, class, money and snobbery, which contrast sharply with the other main character, Garry, from a very different background, who has unexpectedly come into some money from a mysterious source; at this point the two stories start to converge, with unexpected consequences for all the characters’ relationships.
Part love story, part mystery, it has the themes of love, loyalty, betrayal and atonement culminating in a sort of resolution and partial redemption.”
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