Review: Husband Material by Brenda Jackson (2020)

Heat Factor: It’s hot. There’s lots of booty.

Character Chemistry: This is fully established physically, but (likely due to length) the emotional chemistry is less developed.

Plot: Carmen and her ex, Matthew, end up stuck sharing their beach house for the summer. When both decide to punish the other through seduction, they cave almost instantly and rekindle their relationship.

Overall: It’s not fully fleshed out but there’s flesh out. (See what I did there?)

This is a short one, and it’s got some good stuff going on and it’s got a few holes. (Stop, I’m not making any more puns. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

Here’s the quick and dirty: Carmen is an actress on the rise who fell hard for her talented director husband. But in a classic tale of poor emotional maturity and miscommunication, Matthew works way too hard and neglects his relationship while Carmen suffers through a miscarriage alone and files for divorce.

But Carmen and Matthew are still connected. There are plenty of little kernels here that make it quite clear they’re still in love, and of course it’s clearly spelled out as well. Carmen thanks Matthew when she wins her Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and he pines in a very broody way. When they’re forced to cohabitate for the summer at their beach house, they both separately decide to punish the other through seduction, and both plan to abandon the other once they’ve exacted their revenge.

Only their plan lasts like, 24 hours. Maybe. Within a very short period of time he brings her to completion from kissing alone (actually, there’s some grinding involved but the entire thing was pretty far fetched and made me snort a little because…anatomy) and they’re off to the races.

One thing that surprised me was their conversation about miscarriage. For some reason, although it was a small part of their story, it hit really realistically for me. At one point she points out that while she knows there will be babies in her future, she wanted that one. And it was painful, and she was still grieving that loss. That part felt very thought out and developed.

I think if you’re okay with some soft plot holes and you’re interested in something quick, mess free, and steamy, you’d like this one.

As far as our investigation into “what husband material means”, in this book it’s very clear that until Matthew is truly there for his wife, he’s simply not husband material. Nothing else really changes here—Matthew isn’t being asked to sacrifice anything major, or even make any changes to their daily life beyond just being there. Paying attention, tuning in, listening. Matthew was so determined to “provide” for his wife that he failed to be active in the relationship, and the relationship died because of that neglect. While unfortunately, this is not fully fleshed out (it would be so juicy if it were), it’s pretty easy to understand because it’s not an uncommon issue in “traditional” cis-het relationships. And while it worked out pretty easily here…I don’t think it’s such an easy thing to overcome in real life. 

Buy Now: Amazon

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Books set in New England

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