Laura thought Robert was too good to be true. She got that right.
A small-town barbeque in summer’s dying days. There, gentle, bookish Laura meets a man who makes her laugh, hangs on her every word.
He’s the one. Isn’t he?
But once Laura falls pregnant, Robert’s mask slips further. She can never quite keep him happy. He is cold and judgemental with a temper that can flare up at any moment. He goes out for hours and won’t tell her where he’s been, he even locks her own door against her.
Laura realises she is living with a total stranger, a man governed by dark impulses and darker secrets who seems determined to gain control of every part of her life. Who is this man she’s living with and what terrible things has he done?
As Laura slowly discovers the truth about Robert, she begins to realise that she and her unborn child are in terrible danger. And finally she understands she will have to answer one terrifying question – how far am I willing to go to protect my baby?
I first came across Ian Maitland earlier this year and his book The Girl Downstairs, which was passed on to me by a blog organiser/friend and I devoured it on a mini trip to Italy over Easter. I was so eager to read more of Maitland’s novels so when this opportunity landed in my inbox, how could I say no?
I loved the concept and idea behind The Perfect Husband, however I do feel the book needed to come with a trigger warning because the description of coercion, gas-lighting, financial and physical abuse throughout the book and couldn’t be avoided. I felt uneasy and it stirred up a lot for me which made it an uneasy read for a lot of the time. Having said that, I did find that Laura was a frustratingly sweet character who was naive and believed in the best side of every person-much to her downfall.
A lot of the time you weren’t sure if what was being described from Laura’s point of view was actually happening or if it was her running through the worst case scenario in her mind, confusing at times but still very well written. I was sorry she was betrayed over again and had hoped for more of a future for her, I was cross with Andrew and felt he led her down the garden path a bit too much in order to get why he needed-it still seems to me that there is more to him than meets the eye.
Overall, if you’ve no experience with domestic abuse and are unlikely to feel somewhat triggered by the topic , it’s a good read that captures the mindset of the abused in a way that can only be described as well researched if not observed first hand. However, if you’ve ever witnessed or been through situations like these I’d say probably best to avoid this particular title-go ad read The Girl Downstairs instead.
Iain Maitland is the author of three previous psych thrillers, The Scribbler (2020), Mr Todd’s Reckoning (2019) and Sweet William (2017), all published by Contraband, an imprint of Saraband.
Mr Todd’s Reckoning is coming to the big screen in 2023, courtesy of Infinity Hill, the team behind the award-winning BBC TV series Staged, starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen. Iain is also the author of two memoirs, Dear Michael, Love Dad (Hodder, 2016), a book of letters written to his eldest son who experienced depression and anorexia, and (co-authored with Michael) Out Of The Madhouse (Jessica Kingsley, 2018). He is also an Ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity. He talks regularly about mental health issues in schools and colleges and workplaces.
This review was supported by ZooLoo’s Book Tours who provided a copy of the book via the author to be red for review