Other People’s Husbands by Elizabeth Noble is published with Penguin Michael Joseph and is described as a ‘beautifully written and sensitively wrought drama’.
Sometimes you pick up a book and immediately you know that it is the perfect read for you. With a large cast of characters it is difficult to capture the attention of the reader but Elizabeth Noble does this with expertise, creating a strong visual which brings every single individual very much to life. I was completely immersed in the complex, yet at times, ordinary lives of a group of long-term friends.
Many friendships are born at the school gates and such was the case over twenty years ago for Natalie, Sarah, Annie, Flick, Vanessa and Georgina. They developed a bond as the years passed, one that gradually included their respective partners. Celebrations, loss, grief, ill-health, parenthood and many more milestone experiences were marked as a group, with wonderful memories created for all to look back on and reminisce. But one day the unexpected happens. Someone breaks rank and this fissure results in an immediate change in the dynamic with far-reaching repercussions for all involved.
Initially one might think that there is nothing unusual in this premise, and there isn’t. What makes this book so unique and exceptional is how Elizabeth Noble pinpoints precisely the essence of each person and their perceptions of life. With the attention fully captivated, the reader embarks on an extraordinary journey alongside these families, criss-crossing the years back and forth, keeping them company in an almost voyeuristic capacity.
As the title suggests this is a book that relates to other people’s husbands but, it is also a story that highlights the special relationship that develops between a group of female friends. Each of the six in this book are flawed, all have their own personal issues, not always revealing the truth but, as a dynamic, it works. The varied personality types blend cohesively, enriching the ties of friendship, all beautifully depicted throughout.
As a society we generally value our friends and will forgive them their misdeeds and actions but sometimes this relationship can be tested to the extreme when one does an unforgiveable act and pushes the boundaries too far. The crack that forms can ofttimes be irreparable and, in Other People’s Husbands, we experience the resulting anguish as if it were our own.
Empathetic and compelling are just two of the words I would use to describe this truly gorgeous book. Outstanding in its portrayal of the intricacies of friendship Other People’s Husbands is a strikingly observed piece of writing. Wistful, atmospheric and painfully authentic, Elizabeth Noble has produced an emotional gem of a read, one not to be missed.
(c) Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)
Order your copy online here.