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Ruth and Ned have got engaged after a whirlwind romance and are blissfully happy. After the initial euphoria has begun to die down and Ned finally gets round to telling his parents and friends about the engagement, Ruth starts to question their life together. What's the real deal with his intriguingly close group of friends from university, and is there more to them than meets the eye? As Ruth begins to delve deeper into Ned's past, she wonders how well she really knows her new husband.
It's written in the third person from Ruth's perspective, but every so often, her first person thoughts are entwined into the narrative to give a more detailed perspective on her emotions. I liked Ruth's character from the very start and found her to be realistic and down-to-earth. It's hard not to live the ups and downs along with her as she experiences the highs and lows of her relationship with Ned and sympathy when she begins to uncover suspicious evidence against him. The only other main character that I had such a straight-forward view of was Ned's mother, Jackie. She was a character that I loved to hate and I couldn't see any redeeming qualities in her whatsoever. As well as being incredibly unpredictable, she was nasty and vindictive and tried to pass this off as a product of stress and anxiety. At various points in the book, her actions and behaviour served to endear Ruth even futher and I was frequently frustrated at Ned's apparent inability to stand up to her. I had mixed emotions about other characters. For the most part, I liked Ned's friend Erin, but some of the plot twists made me dislike her at times and thinking ahead, I began to suspect that she might be more manipulative and evil than I'd first suspected. She was a character that made me rethink my views on her at least three times and for me, the subtle plot twists that brought this about were rather clever as it made sure that I was never entirely sure whether my initial views on her were correct and whether my later views were on the right track. In a related sense, this was similar for Ned as I changed my mind about him on numerous connections too.
Many of the chapters ended on some kind of mini-cliffhanger thought or discovery which while nothing jaw-droppingly dramatic, made me want to carry on reading to see how things moved on. I was quite surprised at this given that the plot is quite basic. The chapters tended to be fairly short to support this. It moved on at a fairly brisk pace and didn't leave anything hanging for very long. From start to finish, the plot pans a matter of months, although it also delves in some details into the past through the reminiscing of Ned and his friends. All in all, I enjoyed the book and found it more riveting than I expected especially when Ruth finds her big clue that Ned's connection to his friends may not be as healthy as she believed it to be.
As an aside, I don't care much for the book's title, which makes it sound as though all husbands have some kind of secret life. You'll have to read the book to find out whether that is the case for Ned, but it's a very generalistic title.
Have you ever fallen so deeply in love with someone that you never wanted to leave their side. Ned and Ruth did, and after only three months Ned asked her to marry him, and she said yes. A little quick you might think? Well yes, it was.
This story starts with Ned and Ruth's engagement, but then they realise that even though the last 3 months has been spent constantly in each others company, they actually don't know each other that well. Ruth realises she has never met her mother in law to be, and then there are Ned's friends, who he has spent most of his life with.
The story is simply written and very easy to read. It is told from Ruth's point of view, which makes it slightly flat at times. There are lots of occasions where she is not sure of things with Ned and his mother and we only get her point of view on the situation. She does talk to her sister and her sister in law to find out information about the situation, but perhaps it could have been two sided and some of it be told from Ned's point of view as well.
I found quite a lot in this book that I could relate to, especially with the awkward mother in laws. I also found it quite funny at times. Ned's mum was such a handful - coming into their house and separating their washing so she would only wash Ned's clothes. She would call the house and almost have a split personality at times. Most of it was created for a comedy factor I think, but it's also scary to think that some mothers are like this and don't want to let their son's go when they get married.
There was also the story of Ned's friends and the elusive girl - Erin, who everyone was after. She takes Ruth under her wing but it soon becomes clear that her motive was quite simple - she is also jealous that Ned has found someone else to love. Again, this can quite easily happen to someone in a new relationship when they are introduced to the other half's friends. Ruth often felt left out when the group shared lots of private jokes.
I felt that the story with the friends was well crafted and thought out. And again, quite true to life. It is hard to fit into a friendship group that has had a tight bond for years, especially when the members of that group like to play games with the newcomers.
I have now read this book twice, and although there were bits I could remember, there were also bits that I found this time that I didn't find before. It is a great little romantic story that would make a good holiday read.
Ruth and Ned fall in love in a pub. Three months later, they're living together and Ned proposes out of the blue.
But Ruth hasn't met Ned's uni friends, or his family. How will they take to her and their swift move to marriage?
I have to say I was disappointed with this book. Not the story, which is a very real picture of how the two sexes interact with each other, and how people don't tell you the full story, and others try to manipulate situations for their own amusement. It's the title that disturbs me. I can't see how it fits the story.
Firstly, it gives the impression of lots of husbands, and giving us the insight into how husbands minds work and why they do the things they do. But no.
The story is told from Ruth's perspective. We get to know all the things people tell her, how her brain works them into what she is lead to believe. It shows how awful people can be when it comes to communication within a relationship.
Ruth discovers something about Ned's past from finding a box of books when she's on a clearing out spree (yes some of females do have them, that is not fiction), but when she asks him a straight forward question that she already knew the answer to, he lies.
Why do men do that??
We don't really get to find out. Apparently his reason was to spare Ruth's feelings and to shield her from insecurities. Mmm.
The story itself does suck you in. You want to find out why the mother-in-law is like she is. You want to find out the truth behind the things Ruth is told by others. And I guess that makes it a pretty good story - making you want to know the ending.
But, sorry, I still can't get over that title
Well this is another one of my bargain buys from the supermarket!!!
The Secret Life of husbands is written by Kirsty Crawford. Kirsty grew up in Oxfordshire and studied English at Oxford university. She works as a freelance editor and writer and she now lives in South London. She is married and has a son.
Other titles by this author include, Other Women.
The story tells of Ruth and Ned who met at a friends party when they were introduced to each other and just left to talk, instead of finding it uncomfortable they actually found that they had a lot in common and started dating. After dating for a short time they become engaged and start to plan the wedding.
Ruth is aware that Ned has a very close circle of friend who he went to University with but she does feel that they are a little too close as they have always lived around each other and spend all of their time together. She starts to have worries about the friendship when she has to wait for such a long time to be introducted to them.
Ruth is a nurse who works in a local surgery. She has a sister called Cordi and her father is called Silas. Her mother died when she was younger. They are quite a close family and still see a great deal of each other.
Ned still has both his mother and father and also a sister. His mother is a very complex character and I would say she has to be the mother in law from hell! Jackie, the mother, and her husband Steven live up North and are a very odd couple. Jackie feels she must have control of her son. The daughter distanced herself from her mother many years ago and only visits her twice a years when she has to.
Back to Ruth and Ned. They are a very loved up couple at the start and find they are spending all their time together, especially in bed and rarely go out. When they do decide to venture out then things start to get very interesting.
Ruth is finally introduced to Neds friends, who she has only seen in photographs which are displayed all around Neds house. She is facinated by them all. The group consists of Erin, Tom, Jeremy, Luke and Abigail.
Abigail and Luke are married and Erin and Tom are a couple who live together. We later learn that Erin once dated Jeremy. The group welcome Ruth and accept that she is to marry Ned.
As the story develops Ruth becomes settled with the group and makes wedding plans, she finds the perfect dress and the perfect venue but the mother in law decides she wants to have her say. Jackie is very stand-offish towards Ruth as she feels she is taking Ned away from her. Ruth finally wins over as Ned has words with his mother and basically tells her to keep her nose out of the plans! The wedding is a great success and they have a wonderful day.
During the wedding reception Ruth starts to have fears of the friendship between Ned and Erin as a few friends have said a few comments to her. Ruth decides to put these fears to the back of her mind and to try to enjoy her married life.
Ther return from their honeymoon leads to a little shock for Ruth as she hears that Jackie and Steven are selling up as they have bought a house in the same small village as her and Ned, Ruth is more upset with this idea as she had to hear it from Erin instead of Ned. She later discovers that Ned and Erin are constantly on the telephone to each other and Ned has never mentioned any of this to her.
Erin is later found to be pregnant and this makes her need Ned more, she is constanly calling him asking him to call around and to do favours for her. Ruth is starting to have the same doubts about the pair as before.
Jackie and Steve move to the village and instantly start to wind Ruth up. Steve is a very quiet man and her just does as he is told just to please Jackie. When Ruth pulls up outside the house from work she always finds Jackie waiting outside and when they get inside Jackie starts taking over, doing the cleaning and washing, but only ever Neds!
Ruth does start to form a friendship with Erin and they go shopping for baby items together, but Ruth just cant shake the doubts from her mind.
Ned has to go away with work for a team building exercise wich means that Ruth is in the house on her own for a whole weekend. At a loss with what to do with her time she decides that she is going to have a good clearout of Neds old things. Upon doing this she comes accross some boxes full of Neds old work and diaries. She just cannot resist having a peak and at doing so she maks a starteling discovery, one which could distroy her marriage....................
I am not going to reveal anymore about the plot as I do not want to spoil it for you but, does Jackie finally get put in her place and are Ruths feeling about Ned and Erin justified or all in her imagination, you will have to read it to find out!
This book was published in 2007 by Orion Books Limited. There are 359 pages and it is available in paper back.
The retail price for the book is £6.99 but I paid £3.99 from my local supermarket.
I did enjoy this book. I found it was a bit slow to start with but once Ruth made her discover I was gripped and just wanted to keep reading to find out the outcome.
I would definately recommed this book and I might even see about purchasing Other Women by Kirsty Crawford aswell.
I also have this review posted on Ciao! under the same name.