My Darling Husband: A Novel
“Belle’s writing style is a major draw to her ability to present a story that one is unable to put down.”
All novels rely on tension and conflict, regardless of genre, and Kimberly Belle’s new novel My Darling Husband has enough of both for ten books.
The hook is a TV interview of Cam, the husband, talking about the events that took him down. A once well-known and respected businessman and chef, with the most popular restaurants in Atlanta, GA, his reputation is in shambles, and Juanita, the interviewer, is trying to get to the bottom of how this happened.
My Darling Husband finds Jade, the main character and Cam’s wife, being stalked by an unsavory character, and when she gets home with her children, she finds a man lurking in her garage, totally covered from head to foot in black, waving a gun in her face and demanding she take the children into the house.
Each chapter of the story is written in the first person, present tense, which goes a long way to increasing tension. The chapters move from Jade’s narration to Cam’s narration, to the home invader’s narration, to the interview, and back and forth.
The ten-year-old daughter, Beatrix, is a musical prodigy and a demanding child, who does not like being threatened by a stranger in a mask, and she plays an important role in helping resolve the problem. Baxter, the younger son, is typical in that, initially, he does not recognize the threat. Here is where Jade’s strength is reflected—her defense of her children.
The kidnapper forces Jade to call Cam and tell him what is happening and that the kidnapper is demanding $734,296 in cash—an unusual amount, and it must be delivered by 7:00 p.m. that evening. That, or the family dies.
And this is where the story takes off. Cam’s showplace restaurant has just been torched, burned to the ground, and while Cam is negotiating for the insurance, the question of arson arises. Cam then begins to search all other possible means for raising such an unusual amount.
Cam is cashing in credit cards to their limit but only able to reach $46,000 until he approaches a well-known loan shark where he makes several unexpected discoveries, and the reader learns more about what kind of person Jade’s darling husband really is.
As the story moves back and forth between the characters and the interviewer, the tension in each scene grows. Jade is separated from her children, all are tied to chairs, unable to free themselves, unable to help one another.
When a personal accident with Baxter causes distraction to the kidnapper, Beatrix escapes her bonds and disappears into hiding places in the house that even Jade did not know existed. This drives the kidnapper to anger, demanding Jade tell him where the girl has gone, which even Jade does not know. Threats of killing the children and Jade begin to increase and a house search begins—resulting in failure and more anger.
The more the kidnapper talks, the more Jade learns about him, and about her husband—and the more she discovers that their life is, perhaps, not all that she thought it was.
If there is any drawback to the book, it is perhaps that there is an overabundance of added narrative in the minds of each first-person narrator, but that is not to say that information is not valuable. The benefit of the first-person narrator is that the reader sits in his or her mind and learns all there is to know about what makes that character tick.
Belle’s writing style is a major draw to her ability to present a story that one is unable to put down. It is safe to repeat what was said at the beginning of this review. The tension that Belle has injected into every scene of this story keeps the pages flying by. Fans of her previous books will find this one engaging and “unputdownable”!