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It's Always the Husband

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Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge... and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

336 pages, Hardcover

First published May 16, 2017

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About the author

Michele Campbell

18 books1,987 followers
Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former federal prosecutor in New York City who specialized in international narcotics and gang cases.

A while back, she said goodbye to her big-city legal career and moved with her husband and two children to an idyllic New England college town a lot like Belle River in IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND. Since then, she has spent her time teaching criminal and constitutional law and writing novels.

She's had many close female friends, a few frenemies, and only one husband, who – to the best of her knowledge – has never tried to kill her.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,539 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,438 reviews78k followers
May 10, 2017
This was a read that requires a difficult review. I'm torn down the middle as the first half and the second half seemed like completely different books. While scoping out reviews via Goodreads, I have found what seems to be a central thought regarding this story; the book appears to be marketed to the wrong crowd. If I hadn't been made aware that my expectations were leading me in a false direction, I probably would have been sorely disappointed in this book as well. This isn't a criticism toward the author; she has no say in how the publishers and PR decide to project her work. I'm hoping by addressing an uncomfortable subject that this will lead the right readers to pick up this book and enjoy the story as is.

Right off the bat I could tell that Campbell has experience in the Ivy League circuit; her knowledge is abundantly evident in her writing and she crafted three of the most privileged characters I have experienced in years. I was completely sold on the credibility of this story; my only issue with the first half was that the pacing is a bit slow. The characterization is heavy here, and I appreciate that, but the lack of plot development almost made me put it down. However, right at about that 50% mark we start taking off and things get rolling! I was completely sucked in for the final half; the ending was not predictable but I had to sleep on it and wrestle it a bit before I really took to it. Once I sat on it, I appreciated how the author weaved together the ending and could see evidence of such from the beginning. This was a fantastic example of how unlikeable characters pitted against each other can really ramp up your pulse and keep you from turning out the light due to needing to read "just one more chapter".

As I mentioned above, I think readers who are expecting breathtaking suspense and high paced action will be disappointed; this is not the book for you. Those who enjoy heavy characterization with lighter suspense and a dramatic ending will thoroughly enjoy this; I'd go as far as classifying this more as domestic fiction with a side of suspense. Hopefully this clears the air for some future readers and draws the right person to devour this deliciously deceitful book. As it's a quick read, I can see It's Always the Husband being a solid choice to bring on your summer vacation.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here on the blog.
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.6k followers
April 8, 2017
My feelings were at constant battle through this arduous undertaking. More than a few times, I had to ask myself, was I really enjoying this story, despite my lack of interest in any of the characters? Was the convoluted storyline worth dealing with this callous cast of wannabe friends? I guess my answer has to be, yes. Despite my indifference, something kept me turning the pages and that instinct to constantly monitor my remaining page-count didn’t kick in, immediately. So, for those reasons and for the sake of my own sanity, I’m settling with a middle-of-the-road rating. A 3 star—I kept turning the pages, but I’m glad it’s over—rating.

At the heart of this story is three very different women. Women that claim to have been friends for over 20 years, since establishing a connection at the elite Carlisle College their freshman year, when they were dubbed the Whipple Triplets. Kate, Jenny and Aubrey, pledge loyalty and promise to never hurt one another, but it doesn't take long to see, that’s a lie. It’s pretty obvious from the start, or at least it was to me, they were frenemies, at best: jealous-ass snobs, sad followers, liars and weak women willing to do anything, for the right price, at their worst.

Usually there’s something intriguing about a cast of unlikeables or unreliable narrators, but not so much this time. I can honestly say, I despised every single one of these women and the men that found themselves wrapped up in this mess. There were no redeeming qualities for me to cling on to or anything even interesting enough to garner attention. At very top of that list was Kate.

I spent the majority of the story scratching my head at the very fact that people worshipped Kate. Bowed down to her. Followed the leader with no hesitation. Why? What was I missing? I failed to see what anyone saw in her. Was it simply because she was pretty? Or could it be her family’s money and privilege, the drugs she always had access to, her slutty behavior or maybe it was her blasé attitude? It couldn’t be because she was nice or ever did anything noteworthy for anyone else. Oh wait, she did pick Jenny and Aubrey up from the airport once—does that count? Whatever it was, the author failed to sell me on Kate and that’s the major source of my discontent, considering the crux of the story surrounds her. Kate didn’t care about anyone and in my eyes, didn’t deserve the loyalty she so blindly received, so how was I supposed to care what happened to her? After everything, let’s be honest, she kind of had it coming. What goes around, comes around, right? Is an eye for an eye too harsh? Or what about the old adage, karma's a bitch?

The second half of the story is stronger, more interesting, the pace certainly picks up. And that ending, what can I say—pretty unexpected—or wait, was it though?

*Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
792 reviews12.3k followers
February 11, 2017

Aubrey, Kate, and Jenny meet at prestigious Carlisle College in New Hampshire. Aubrey is a poor scholarship kid who is desperate for approval. Jenny is a self-righteous overachiever who is always cleaning up everyone’s messes. Kate is a charismatic New Yorker who draws Aubrey and Jenny into her web. The three become “BFF,” but they are more like frenemies than true friends. The trio takes part in a scandalous event their freshmen year that binds them together for life. Fast-forward 20 years later, and their secret leads to murder.

It’s Always the Husband just didn’t work for me. I feel like this book has potential—I like the premise, but something is lacking –I’m not sure if it is the unlikeable underdeveloped characters, the uneven plotting, or the slow pace, but I couldn’t embrace this book.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,226 reviews1,274 followers
February 9, 2017
That bridge. That night.

Bridges tend to be mighty steel fortresses spanning over raging waters. A connection, with planned intention, between one side and the other. But it wasn't just the waters spewing rage.....

Twenty-two years earlier: Jenny, Kate, and Aubrey bring more than just their boxes and suitcases to their shared dorm room at Carlisle College in Belle River, New Hampshire. These three young women couldn't be more different in their backgrounds, social standings, and perspectives. And yet, they form a tightly twisted friendship that would see them through the years.

That same friendship will be tested when one of their friends, Lucas, meets his death upon that ill-fated bridge. The girls stood on and near the bridge that night and each came away with a different glimpse of what actually took place. But all three came away with the solid bond of secrecy. Secrets buried far below within the jagged rocks.

Fast-forward to the present and we have all three women returning to Belle River once again. Aubrey owns property and a successful yoga business. She's married to a handsome doctor. Jenny is also married and now the mayor of Belle River. Kate is married to one of Carlisle's athletes and has gone through her father's money like cold margaritas on a steaming hot summer day.

But their paths continue to crisscross through the fields of love/hate. Survival and self-interests cause them to make choices and act on questionable circumstances. "One for all and all for one" just ain't cuttin' it these days. It would seem like those we think we know the best will be bested by the best.

Michele Campbell presents a storyline with a lot of twists and turns. These characters do not leave you with a basket of warm fuzzies. I actually preferred the second half of the book to the first. Greed, powermongering, and relentless behavior have a front row seat here. I'm curious to think of what Campbell has in mind for her next spinout on human nature. Mmmmm......

I received a copy of It's Always the Husband through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to Michele Campbell for the oportunity.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
June 19, 2017
3.25 Stars* (rounded down)

I'm not sure these ladies are the kinds of friends most people would like to have around: Two faced and fake. "It's Always the Husband" is the story of three women who were College Freshman Roomies and are so-called "Best Friends": Kate, Jenny and Aubrey. Their friendship is a hollow one. They don't actually like each other, yet if you asked them they would exclaim that they loved each other desperately and were the best of friends. In truth, their friendship is based on an obsession over one of the three women: Kate. She is wild and crazy. Drug and alcohol fueled and completely self absorbed. She doesn't care about anyone but herself. And that makes her elusive. And loved. Everyone loves Kate, yet they hate her all at the same time. It's a dichotomy wrapped in an enigma.

Jenny is one of Kate's best friends. Nowadays, Jenny is the mayor of the town they all went to College in. Jenny has always been the problem solver. The one to make everything better. She is always in control and has power over a lot of people. And she loves it. And when she loses her grasp? Well, it's not good.

In College, Aubrey was a mess. Tattered & flighty, relying on everyone else to take care of her. She idolized Kate. She wanted to be her. And was jealous of her boyfriend Griff. And for the most part, Kate didn't mind. Now, Aubrey has her life together. She is a Yoga Instructor and is calm, cool and collected - until Kate returns to town, that is.

As for Kate, she was never happy with anything she had - even though she had everything. She has always been sexy and beautiful and has had friends and all the drugs, alcohol and money she could want. And men? They chased after her. Nothing has ever made her happy, until she met Lucas and then she became obsessed with him. And then everything fell apart. Years later, Kate and her husband return to their old College town. Then things go awry. She leaves destruction in her wake. Her life and the lives of everyone around her, will never be the same.

"It's Always The Husband" is an entertaining story by Michelle Campbell. It held my interest but it couldn't make up for one major problem: none of the characters were even remotely likeable. Kate had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. How anyone could be obsessed with her was completely beyond me. Further, Jenny was pretty heartless and Aubrey was vapid and wishy-washy. My inability to like or connect with the characters made it impossible for me to really like the story. Though the ending contained a few twists and turns, it wasn't enough.

Published on Goodreads and Amazon on 6.18.17.
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,572 followers
August 12, 2022
3 out of 5 stars to It's Always the Husband, a new thriller and suspense novel set to release to the public on May 16, 2017, by Michele Campbell. It's a quick-read with a few slow spot, but keeps you guessing all throughout the chapters, almost playing a bit of Russian Roulette with who's behind the whole plot.

Why This Book
I saw it pop up on a few Goodreads reviews. I looked on NetGalley and thought it sounded like a strong psychological thriller. I was awarded the book in lieu of a fair and honest review, which is always the case with me. And who wouldn't be curious about a book with this title?

Overview of Story
Kate, Jenny and Aubrey were roommates their freshmen year in a New England college. Each girl came from a different background: Kate was a rich NY trust fund girl. Jenny was a townie who wanted to get out badly. Aubrey came from Vegas with little support from her family. Somehow, they form a bond and remain friends over the course of 22 years. The book alternates between when they were 18 and when they turned 40, covering different boys they date, men they marry and the secrets they keep from each other. During that freshmen year, something awful happened, which sent Kate running out of the country. But when they all re-connect years later, the details of the night begin to unravel, especially when someone else ends up dead. This is the story of friendship and enemies, love and hate, secrets and revenge.

Approach & Style
The book is told in third-person limited omniscient, carefully navigating from character to character, telling the events as they were unfolding or did so in the past. It covers two distinct time periods: when they were 18 and freshmen and when they're about to turn 40. It's always clear which time period you're in, but not in an overt way.

The book starts off with someone taking a walk on a bridge. You soon learn this person is being forced off the bridge. And then something happens, but your not sure what it is. Then the real story begins, describing how the girls meet and the subsequent events that occur throughout their lives. You never re-visit that scene in the present time, rather re-live in through each character who was involved via memories and dialogue, explaining what they thought happened.

But in the end, you will clearly piece it all back together -- you know who was behind the entire situation. Cleverly told in small pieces, you learn just enough to keep your mind guessing... and when you tie in the title, you'll keep asking yourself which husband killed someone, but you're not entirely sure as there are many of them it could have been.

1. Each of the 3 girls are very clear and distinct. You can picture them, you understand their motivation and you know what is likely going to be their downfall.

2. The men are less important, mostly as catalysts to help propel the relationship growing between the women. But as background characters, they all have a certain appeal, be it positive or negative. You get a sense of real people with real problems in most cases.

3. The suspense and timing is strong. The bounce back between periods keeps your mind guessing, even up until the very end when you have 3 pages left and are still waiting to figure out exactly what happened that final night for the victim.

Open Questions & Concerns
1. These girls did not like each other and I don't buy their friendship. For one thing, Kate was an uptight trust fund baby who tried to play it off like she wasn't. But she was. There is no way Jenny would be friends with her. Jenny even sparred with her the first few scenes and chapters, to the point where you question why they stayed together as roommates and then as friends. I struggled to believe they would help each other. Aubrey was definitely the glue, and given where she came from, she needed both of them to help propel her life forward. But I really think they would have had other people in their lives to prevent the disaster of their relationship as a triad.

2. The story with the new cop seemed to come from nowhere and go nowhere. He wasn't very likable. He had no connections except to Kate, which was very unclear. Felt like extra fluff, just to cause readers to not guess the actual mystery.

3. Something is just missing from this story. It's got lots of good parts. Some of it felt a little disconnected. And I was waiting for a bigger surprise payoff. I was surprised with the final overall explanation. I guessed part of it about 50% thru the book. But it felt like so much time was spent throwing readers off from guessing the details, when a little more should have been spent tying things together a little more closely with some additional emotions, connections and struggles.

Author & Other Similar Books
It's in the vain of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. It's a bit more about the friendships between the 3 girls rather than a focus entirely on problems between a husband and wife; although, that does play a significant role given the number of affairs happening over the course of the 22 year period.

Final Thoughts
As for thrillers and suspense, it certainly has some. The biggest issue was that the 3 girls weren't all that likable... too much dependency on drugs and alcohol which made me really question why I cared who died and who was the killer. I'm all for drugs and alcohol in books, to match the realities of life, and to help propel the plot... but it felt like 80% of the characters relied on it to move the day forward rather than a background to the emotional and mental drama brewing within the extended group of friends. And that's how I felt about the book. Too much extraneous and not enough focus on the missing years. So much could have happened and caused the tensions when they turned 40, but little of it was ever front and center.

That said, it's a quick read... 4 hours, and has some great character development and intrigue as far as which person died, who is hiding what and how will this all end. You only know parts of the final death scene in the beginning and that's what keeps you holding on throughout the rest of the book.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Profile Image for Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill.
539 reviews619 followers
November 1, 2020
As soon as I saw this title I knew I needed to get my hands on this. As a major thriller lover it does seem like it is always the husband, or quite often, so this title made me smile. Plus I loved Michele Campbell's last book that I read She was the Quiet One. So I had high hopes for this one and it did not disappoint!

Three girls that become thick as thieves during their college days and not because they are study buddies. These girls rule the campus of a prestigious college due to Kate's family connections that result in the rules not applying to them. Kate comes from "old money" and can get them out of any bind they get into, well almost anything...

The first half of this book gave us a lot of background and development of the characters. I felt I knew Kate, Jenny and Aubrey whom were unlikely friends. The swore to stay loyal to each other no matter what happened. So this intriguing title alerted me to the fact that indeed at some point there would be a "husband" and quite likely someone would meet an unsavory fate, but who??? I racked my brain the first half trying to figure out who was going to end up marrying each other. A suspicious death occurs during their college years so I crossed that person off my list!

As they crossed over from college to adulthood the book really picked up the suspense. All the girls took directions that I did not expect and whoa the guys that ended up being the "husbands" really took my by surprise.

The twists keep coming and then we have a bombshell...I started putting past and present together and my mind was spinning with all the possible suspects. I must have changed my mind about five times of who could be behind all this. There are so many very unlikable characters but I love that! It makes it just the more interesting to me. This book kept me flipping the pages searching for answers until the very end!

Thank you so much to Michele Campbell, St. Martin's Press and Jordan Hanley for this copy to read and review. I loved it!
Profile Image for Arah-Lynda.
337 reviews524 followers
May 9, 2017
Three young women with very diverse backgrounds and personalities find themselves thrust together as college roommates and form a small, exclusive clique.  This is the story of those college years and how that experience and the events that transpired there, have coloured the rest of their lives.

Sound familiar?

Actually that was one of the things I liked about this book cause remembering the whole The Secret History experience put a big smile on my face.

Trust me it faded quickly.  And it’s not that the characters were unlikeable or that I could not relate.  No, I am happy, as a reader,  to embrace truly despicable characters.  But you gotta pull me in, give me something, convince me they are real.  Give them depth, invest my interest somewhere, with someone or something.  Wrong or right make me care about what happens.

Sadly that did not happen here.  I read the story and was like meh, what’s next?  

I gotta say I also found the book blurb and it’s tie in to the title way too tricksy, cutesy.  :)

Perhaps if I had not already read The Secret History, I would not be as critical, but I cannot help but think…………... If you are going to take on a contemporary masterpiece then you had better, bloody well bring it!

My thanks to St Martin’s Press, NetGalley and Michele Campbell for the opportunity to read this advance copy.  Publication date May 16, 2017.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,025 reviews58.9k followers
August 31, 2017
It’s Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication.

I loved the title of this book because it is sort of a running joke- right? So, I had to see which way the author would spin such a story with this title.

Unfortunately, this book was a stinker. If not for the need to find out who was going to be murdered and whodunit, I probably would have marked it as a DNF.

Therefore, because I am very behind on my reviews, I’m not going to spend a great deal of time writing a review for a book I didn’t like or enjoy. So- be warned- this one is short and 'blunt.'

There were many things about this book that are annoying- the characters, the dialogue and the – are you kidding me? – ending. That twist should have been a stunner, but instead it backfired.

Mostly this is a book about a bunch of Ivy league spoiled brats and how they messed up their lives. I was mildly curious and did finish the book, but then regretted the time I spent on it.

1.5 stars
Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,309 followers
April 10, 2017
A thriller overstuffed with stock characters and truly abysmal writing. The dialogue is agonizing to read at times, and each character can be reduced to a 2-3 word stereotype. Though it seemed to be attempting to portray complex, interpersonal relationships that were strong but damaging overall, it only succeeded in providing a collection of relationships that made absolutely no sense and characters whose personalities changed on a page-to-page basis in order to fit the narrative. The twist was yawn-worthy. And honestly, the title has almost nothing to do with the actual content of the book. It was not a story about a hard to solve mystery, or even a decent murder mystery. Instead, it was overstuffed with a laughable portrayal of college life, and the mystery itself should have been called "Incompetent police officer ignores evidence because he met a woman in a bar one time." Overall, a great big disappointment.

I generally reserve my 1- star reviews for books that actually deeply offend me, but frankly this offended me with how low-quality the writing was. Not to mention, it was low-key racist??

**Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy**
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday is (reluctantly) on hiatus.
1,968 reviews2,036 followers
November 29, 2020
EXCERPT: Present Day - the night of her fortieth birthday

She stumbled through the dark woods, the trees dripping raindrops onto her hair and her party dress. Her shoes were covered in mud, and she trembled from the cold.

'Hey,' she called out. 'This is crazy. My shoes are soaked.'

'Just a little farther.'

She was out of breath, and her feet were killing her. It wouldn't be good for the baby if she tripped and fell. Then they rounded a bend. She got an open view ahead, and knew finally where they were. When she saw the ghostly shape looming in the distance, she stopped dead.


'You know why.'

In a matter of minutes, they reached the foot of the bridge. A frigid wind blew in her face, carrying the scent of decaying leaves and ice-cold water. There were barriers across the bridge now, blocking access, and a profusion of warming signs. Danger. Private Property. No Trespassing. The signs were there for liability reasons, but from what she understood, the local kids still liked to make the breathless leap into the river. The more people who died here, the bigger the dare. Kids had no fear; they were young, and didn't know better. She could have told them. Somebody dies, and it changes the lives of those left behind, forever.

'I don't know what kind of point you're trying to make, bringing me here,' she said, her voice shaking with tears. But she didn't turn back.

They walked forward a few paces, stepped over an old, tumbled-down metal fence and kept walking until they got to where the centre of the bridge used to be. There it was, the abyss that he'd fallen through, the night he disappeared forever. She looked down and saw the water roiling against the rocks. The town had done a crappy job of boarding it over. They'd 'fixed' it many times over the intervening years, but they were too cheap for the one fix that would work, which would have been to tear the evil thing down once and for all. Below, the water swirled and foamed. She could hear the roar from up here, over the pounding of her heart.

'No,' she said, backing away from the edge.

'Go ahead.'

'Go . . . ahead?'

'Go ahead and jump. You know you want to.'

ABOUT 'IT'S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND': Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

MY THOUGHTS: A book of two halves. I didn't much enjoy the story of the girls college years. And to be quite honest, I didn't think that it held together that well. I could see the necessity for it, but did there have to be so much of it? I got the idea pretty quickly, honestly. I was ready to move on long before the book was.

I much preferred the parts of the story where they are all adults, and I am using that term very loosely, because some things never change.

Jenny is still trying to keep a firm rein on both Aubrey, who has married up and is living in the same town as Jenny, and Kate, who eventually married Griff or, more accurately, his trust fund. Kate is the poor little rich girl, who dazzles and bewitches, towing Jenny and Aubrey along in her self-destructive wake.

The three are bound together in an uneasy truce of secrets and lies, Jenny not quite ever trusting either Aubrey, or wildcard Kate. Her whole life has been built on the successful cover-up of a scandal, so when Kate does something that threatens to bring the whole mess crashing down around them, Jenny goes into crisis management mode. But does this former 'good girl' know where to draw the line any more?

There were so many ways this could have ended, and Michelle Campbell did a wonderful job of suggesting them all, leaving the truth hanging until the very final moment.

I can't say that I enjoyed this read. I was tempted during the first half to throw in the towel. I am glad I didn't, because the second half of the book had me rapidly flipping the pages as the feeling of impending disaster intensified.

This is a good mystery. The characterisation is excellent. I didn't like any of the characters, but I didn't need to. I was invested in the plot, built on greed, envy, dissolution, secrets, lies and betrayal.

Campbell obviously knows a lot about her subject and the setting, which is like a foreign country to me. This is her first novel. I am definitely going to be a starter for her future ones.


#ItsAlwaystheHusband #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former federal prosecutor in New York City who specialized in international narcotics and gang cases.

A while back, she said goodbye to her big-city legal career and moved with her husband and two children to an idyllic New England college town a lot like Belle River in IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND. Since then, she has spent her time teaching criminal and constitutional law and writing novels.

She's had many close female friends, a few frenemies, and only one husband, who – to the best of her knowledge – has never tried to kill her.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to St Martin's Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of It's Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage
Profile Image for Daniel Balici.
100 reviews20 followers
August 22, 2018
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell is a 2017 St. Martin's Press publication. The interesting choice of title and the gorgeous cover aroused my interest in this novel. In my opinion, the storyline idea, albeit decent and promising, is not uncommon when it comes to the mystery fiction. The surprising aspect of this book given the genre it belongs to is the sophisticated and elaborate writing style. When I read The Couple Next Door, for example, I was bitterly disappointed with the immature writing, whereas Michele Campbell's mystery left me with the impression that it was a little overwritten. Initially I must admit I was caught up in the heavy characterization and the in-depth analysis of the protagonists' mentalities. However, as the story progressed, I started to slighly lose my concentration on what was going on in the book due to the fact that I felt exhausted by the vast amount of detailed information and the rather difficult vocabulary used by the author. Regarding the suspense, it built gradually and culminated in an anticipated revelation, taking into consideration the title. I believe that neither the suspense nor the mystery played a key role in this book. To be honest, It's Always the Husband was all about the female characters and the dynamics of the apparent friendship between the three.

The novel comprises two parts which differ considerably one from another. Aside from the minor change of pace, in the first half of the book we are provided with everything we need to know about the setting, the characters' personality traits, their backgrounds, the beginnings of their friendship and the events that have caused conflicts between them, whereas the second half partly resembles a police procedural. The story is told entirely in third-person and moves between past - when Kate, Aubrey and Jenny were freshman students at Carlisle College - and present - when the three women are in their 40s and all of them married.

Michele Campbell did a great job of creating a cast of unlikeable and obnoxious characters. Even though the female protagonists are strongly individualized throughout the entire story, they appeared a little stereotypical to me, especially in the first few chapters. Kate is a New Yorker coming from a very wealthy family. She lost her ill mother at an early stage in life and has always had a difficult relationship with her father who has disapproved of her chaotic lifestyle. Kate is beautiful, mean, materialistic, indifferent, manipulative, complicated and somehow everyone gravitates towards her. I think that her destiny perfectly illustrates the saying "What goes around, comes around". Jenny is the intelligent, conscientious, calculated, opportunist, controlling type of woman. She has a competitive mindset and is capable of lying and betrayal in order to attain her objectives. Given all these traits, it is not surprising that she became the mayor of Belle River. As a freshman student, Aubrey was poor, naive and easily influenced by others. She idolized Kate and behaved similarly to her. While reading the first part of the book, I found Aubrey very antipathetic and foolish. Subsequently, she slightly grew on me because she was the only one between the three female characters who underwent a visible development. She has learnt that her so-called friends are untrustworthy and in reality they have never truly cared about her and regarded her as a person inferior to them.

In conclusion, It's Always the Husband is a challenging read that requires patience and full attention. I enjoyed the manner in which this slow-paced mystery was written and the fact that it managed to maintain my interest despite the lack of action. If you like a book in the mystery genre that centers predominantly around the characters and the toxic relationships established between them and less around the crimes, Michele Campbell's debut might prove an excellent choice.
Profile Image for Caro (Bookaria).
612 reviews19.4k followers
August 23, 2017
This is a story of frenemies, crime, and lies.

Kate, Jenny, and Aubrey are three friends who met in freshman year in college. Kate is attractive and self-absorbed, Aubrey is naive and poor, and Jenny is smart and driven. Fast forward 20 years, they are still friends but conflict fills their lives just like it did when they were young.

There is a mystery to unravel when something happens to one of the friends and the book little by little reveals details of the crime.

The book is told from different points of view and alternates between present and past. The main characters are mostly unlikable but that does not mean that they are not entertaining.

In fact, their petty dramas and frictions during their college years and after is what kept me glued reading.

The book is fast paced, interesting and well-written. Overall, I enjoyed reading it and recommend it to all mystery lovers.

Review posted on blog.
Profile Image for Judy Collins.
2,572 reviews361 followers
October 30, 2018
Michele Campbell’s debut, IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND —is a suspenseful and intriguing twisty "whodunit" and "howdunit" of dark secrets— a web of deceit, keeping you guessing to the conclusion.

Three college roommates at Carlisle College in New Hampshire — Aubrey, Jenny, and Kate are linked by a tragedy.

Each girl has their own desires, dreams, fears, and troubles. The intricate complexities of friendship and acceptance. Love/hate relationships.

Kate is the wild, rich girl with a father’s connections and a stepmother who gets in her way. Her family is connected to the college. Their name is on the buildings.

Aubrey is poor — on financial aid. No social friends (her family was white trash). She just wants to escape her home. Not sure how she will fit in. She is sure her life is about to change. She would make her roommates love her no matter what it took. Kate was the friend she had been waiting for her entire life.

Jenny—a townie. She grew up in New Hampshire. Her parents own the local hardware store. She is ambitious. She soon uses Kate to move up the ladder.

Everyone is using someone.

The girls’ relationships become complicated, as most do where there is a threesome. One is always left out or playing against one another. A third wheel. Each has their respective agenda. Guys. One which dated the other girl years ago. Jealousy.

They say your freshman roommates become your best friends for life (or death).

“I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends." – Walt Whitman

From booze, drugs, sex, jealousies, guys, lies, secrets, greed, and betrayal. If you play with fire, you eventually get burned.

Aubrey makes a decision to commit suicide with Kate, except Lucas dies instead. He had dated Jenny back in high school, and Kate flaunts sleeping with him. Aubrey does everything Kate wants (her idol).

Aubrey’s mom dies and more drama here. All the while Jenny is sucking up to Kate’s father spying on Kate, yet using him for her own selfish needs. Kate has her issues and manipulative behavior.

Of course, this tragedy links all three girls through their lifetime. A dark secret.

Then later they are all back in the same town, now married. Kate is married to a rich guy, Griff. She is using him until he loses his money.

Aubrey is married to a doctor, but she is not happy and pines for Griff. Jenny, now the mayor and married to Tim (Lucas’ cousin). These people are acting as though they are back in college.

They each have their reasons to keep their secret. Until greed gets in the way. Again, as adults, they are each still playing their cruel games.

When one of them dies at the same bridge where Lucas fell to his death twenty years earlier, suspicions point to each of them. Each person and their spouse have their motives.

With many suspects, marriages are threatened, as well as friendships and families, crossing moral lines.

A twisty-page turner keeping you glued to the pages to determine the identity of the killer. These are some manipulative girls! With friends like these, who needs enemies?

There were lovers, friends, enemies, and others who had a motive. Could it possibly be the husband?

When the book begins you felt sorry for and sympathized with Aubrey. By the end of the book, you despise her, along with the other two. Not a lot of likable characters here.

Demonstrates how events and crimes from your younger years are carried into adulthood damaging future relationships, friendships, and marriages.

As other reviewers mentioned, I preferred the second half of the book, when the gals are older, and the suspenseful, fast-paced twisty turns.

They are the same self-centered people; however, they have advanced to murder, bribery, infidelity, revenge, and cover-ups with the assistance of their husbands. A clever ending.

Looking forward to seeing what comes next from this newfound author.

“I can be on guard against my enemies, but God deliver me from my friends!” ― Charlotte Brontë

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

Profile Image for Erin Clemence.
1,052 reviews312 followers
March 30, 2018
Thanks to Jordan Hanley and St. Martin’s Press for the free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.
“It’s Always the Husband” is the newest novel by author Michele Campbell. The novel tells the story of Aubrey, Jenny and Kate- three roommates at a prestigious East Side college who are very different and yet quickly develop a tight, intense friendship. Twenty years later, when Kate falls from a bridge, rumors spread throughout the small town that she killed herself. However, the police detective on the case begins to suspect others may be responsible when the M.E brings forth evidence that maybe, possibly, Kate was pushed. Could one of her friends be hiding a secret? Or, could her once-wealthy and now financially-ruined husband be to blame?
Told in two time frames (one when the girls are in college, and one in present day), Campbell depicts a common and realistic female relationship- one that develops quickly due to close quarters and similar circumstances, ebbs and flows with various arguments and challenges, and changes into something else quite entirely as the women age. Although not normally my opinion, I believe telling the story in this manner made for a stronger plot, and allowed for greater character development.
The characters themselves are realistic and flawed- Kate, Jenny and Aubrey each have endearing qualities about them (Kate less so), but also have unappealing characteristics that quickly change a reader’s opinion as to which one is their favourite (and which one to suspect). The plot is fast-moving without being complicated, and there are just enough characters to allow for a wide variety of suspects, without being inundated with personalities that are, in the end, unnecessary. It was difficult to speculate what had happened to Kate, or maybe who had happened to her, which is just the way a good mystery novel should be.
I am impressed with the fact that “Husband” is Campbell’s first novel. The novel flows well, and both the characters and plot are well developed. Initially, it seemed like the novel seemed to start in the middle, after Kate’s “accident”, and the beginning (when the girls are in school) seemed to just be filler. However, as the novel progressed, and the characters developed, the importance of this part of the storyline came to light. I read this book right through to the end, one addicting chapter after another. I will await Campbell’s next novel, and I know that as Campbell’s writing chops continue to develop, her books will continue to delight readers and draw them into her addicting world of suspense.
March 22, 2018
Certainly one would be hard pressed to meet a more despicable group of characters than those found in this book! All of them had the morals of a street cat, the integrity of liars and cheats, and the ability to twist and turn motives into evil intents and ways.

Kate, probably the worst of all the characters was a spoiled woman who did not have an ounce of morality in her makeup. She took exactly what she wanted even to the husbands and boyfriends of her supposed best college friends. She was in a word horrendous. However, as she skirted from one man to the next, she learned nothing. She entrenched herself further and further in to mud while her uber wealthy father bailed her out.

The rest of the characters were almost as bad, weaving their paths of destruction only wanting what they thought they deserved. If one needed to assemble the dregs of the earth, surely these characters would all be in contention. And there lies the fault in this novel..... There was not one worthwhile character that was held up for any kind of admiration. So unfortunately, I find I need to rate this novel a lowly two. It was not always the husband(s), but always the characters presented in this novel that made for a less than thrilling read.
Profile Image for Sue.
2,690 reviews170 followers
October 19, 2020

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So what did Kate have that made her such a powerful leader to her friends?
The friends who said they would stay loyal to the bitter end.

None of these characters appealed to me, but that’s ok, I’m not that kind of reader where I don’t like a character so I dislike the book. I’m quite ok with ratty, I likeable written characters, it usually challenges me to try to find out why they act the way they do.
It didn’t happen in this though.

Many times I was confused over it all......but.....
The latter part of the book was much stronger.

I listened to this on audio and I wish I hadn’t. I found the narrators voice a bit jarring at times.

When action in dialogue speeded up all I could take note of was
“He said”
“She said”
So I missed the gist of the sentences as it was constant.

Overall though, the plot was good.
Profile Image for Lisa.
750 reviews
February 11, 2020
Its Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell was an absolute stinker it was not my cup of tea at all, I won't go into great detail about this book but I could not connect to any character & when you have a line like Kate told Aubrey I cant wait till Aubrey gets laid, please its like a YA standard novel.

Also as to who got murdered it was just to convoluted for me to believe I did love A Stranger On The Beach but this was very YA orientated it just did not appeal at all thus the 2 star rating.
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,938 reviews786 followers
May 16, 2017
If I'm perfectly honest did I from the beginning feel that this book just wasn't my kind of book. The first chapter with the woman standing on the bridge was interesting, but then the story went back in time and we got to know more about Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. And, here lies the problem for me. They are all so cliché. Kate, the rich spoiled girl, Aubrey, the poor girl and Jenny the trustworthy middle-class girl. And all of them are totally unlikable and I never felt sorry for them. Instead, I was frequently annoyed with their behavior all through the book. Basically, Kate is the catalyst for all their problems from day one until present day when all her sins finally catch up with her and now she has to face what she did when she was young.

The big problem is that I just can't see how they could call themselves friends? I mean they have nothing in common and they hardly seem to be able to stand each other, wheel Audrey cling to them like a needy child. But, friendship? No way. For one thing, Kate seems incapable of having friends. I swear, I was so tempted all through the book to quit reading it, but wanting to find out what happened to the woman on the bridge kept me going.

Then we get to part two of the book, and it's here it really turns into a crime novel. And, for a moment I hoped that it would finally start to work for me. But, the introduction to the new police chief who had fallen for one of the three women and suddenly couldn't do his job properly destroyed that hope. On the plus side, there were a lot of interesting twist towards the end of the book, but by then it was pretty much too late to save the story.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,138 reviews1,875 followers
June 6, 2017
LOVED the title! HATED the book! GAVE up reading it on page 83!! 😕
Profile Image for Jennifer Blankfein.
384 reviews653 followers
March 8, 2017
Aubrey, Jenny and Kate are college roommates who come from very different backgrounds and instantly develop strong friendships. Kate is the bad girl who leads them to trouble and Jenny is the good girl who is always there to get them out of it. While in college, Aubrey loses her mother to cancer and feeling distraught, she proceeds to make some questionable decisions. Jenny laments over a past relationship with Lucas but Lucas is getting caught up with Kate. There are some disagreements amongst the friends and a horrific tragedy occurs; things will never be the same again.

Fast forward 20 years and the three friends are all back in the same town. Aubrey is married to a cheating husband, Jenny is enjoying her power as the mayor and Kate is in a marriage of convenience. Then another unspeakable tragedy occurs and details from the past resurface causing questions to arise. Will the truth come out?

Murder, infidelity, bribery and corruption intertwined with love, friendship and loyalty keep this novel about college roommates and family relationships twisting and turning right up until the very last chapter. People lied. People died. Who is to blame? It’s Always the Husband is an engaging read that will keep you guessing!

It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell will be available May 16, 2017.
Profile Image for Justkeepreading.
1,854 reviews72 followers
February 10, 2017
Thank you to Netgalley, St Martins Press and Michele Campbell for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance reader copy of this book.

You can find my review on both Goodreads and Amazon. On Goodreads from today under Karen Whittard and on Amazon under k.e.whittard from publication date.

I found this book a little hard to get into. I'm not even too sure why. I think it made me feel a bit uncomfortable reading it. But when I managed to get through that and persisted with it. It actually turned into a very good book. With lots of twist and turns.

Kate, Jenny and Aubury have been insperable since the day that they met. When they were thrown together in the same dorm at college. They all thought that they would be best friends forever. But as we all know life doesn't always turn out quite as we expect it too.

The book starts off with someone being persuaded to jump off a bridge and I think it made me feel a bit uneasy from the start. It is all a puzzle about finding out who made her jump/pushed and all the secrets that they have.

The book switches between past and present day. which keeps you on your toes.
All of the characters are so completely different from each other you are left wondering how they were ever friends to begin with. As they really don't have anything in common.

I have to say that I didn't really like any of the characters either. None of them jumped out to me with characteristics of someone that I thought would be a good friend and perhaps that's why I found it hard to get into because I couldn't really relate to any of them or any of the situations.

I mean it wasn't that I disliked the book. I actually quite liked the writing style of the author and would defiantly try another one by them. It was just that this book didn't really work for me.

Hopefully you find it a bit better.

Let me know what you think.

Happy reading everyone
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,025 reviews1,045 followers
January 25, 2021
It's a fast, intriguing, and entertaining psycho-thriller- more show, little tell, exactly how I want them. The narrative shifts from past to present making the plot richer and mysterious. It's told in a third person so every motive and psychological underpinnings of each character are revealed expertly.

What beauty and wealth, and all its privileges can do to a person and its effects to other people is the central theme of the story. Kate is like an Oleander plant, so attractive and pleasing to the eye but every part of it is poisonous. Fast friends with Jenny and Aubrey, her dorm mates in Carlisle, they find themselves involved in a dirty secret that will inevitably bond them together even 22 years later until one of them is found floating dead in the river. Somebody's husband is responsible, that is for sure as the title suggests. But whose husband?

Find out the satisfying answer to the question in this thrilling and quite addictive whodunit and howdunit psychological mystery.

Funny how I kept picturing the characters in my head as follows:

Aubrey-Judy Greer
Jenny- Jennifer Connelly
Kate- Kate Hudson
Profile Image for Jan.
424 reviews252 followers
May 8, 2017
2.5 stars

The title grabbed me from the get go, and I have to say that there was potential for a really good thriller here, but unfortunately it just didn't deliver.

Unsympathetic characters don't typically bother me, but these 3 'Whipple Trips' had my head spinning. The story revolves around these 3 characters from the time they met in college to their adult lives. The conundrum for me is were they supposed to be friends? I think that was the intention, but...
The author was a bit all over the place with how these 3 interacted. At times they were supportive, caring, protective. At other times they were manipulative, backstabbing, and selfish. I just never knew who to root for or who deserved my sympathy.

Then I have to address the plot. It wasn't bad. The problem was the pace at which it was told.
It wasn't until the half way mark that anything actually even happened to create some tension. The first half was all devoted to backstory, and it was just too much and took too long to get the story moving.

I had higher hopes for this one, but they all can't be 5 stars.

ARC provided by NetGalley

Profile Image for Kristy.
1,025 reviews143 followers
April 18, 2017
Aubrey, Jenny, and Kate meet at Carlisle College--an elite institution on par with the Ivies--when they are placed as roommates their freshman year. Aubrey is on financial aid and looking for a chance to restart her life. Jenny, a "townie," has lived in Belle River, New Hampshire, most of her life. And finally, there's the beautiful Kate, whose wealthy family has long ties to Carlisle. The three quickly form a fast friendship, but it's problematic as well. Aubrey is in awe of the enigmatic Kate, while Jenny often resents her lovely, popular roommate. And then, near the end of their freshman year, a tragic event changes their lives forever.

Be forewarned: this is a book populated by annoying, pathetic, self-involved characters. While it supposedly centers on a friendship that begins in college, that couldn't really be further from the truth. These three girls are not friends. The centerpiece is wealthy Kate Eastman, a daughter from a privileged family, who somehow attracts everyone into her orbit, despite being a real narcissistic jerk. Frankly, it's hard to read a book when you really don't care about anyone. This is exacerbated by some stilted and forced writing--backed up by cliches--that makes the novel hard to read at times.

I was amazed by Kate's power over everyone and frustrated by their devotion to her. We are probably supposed to feel sorry for her, due to her hateful family and deceased mother, and for the other characters and the power the Eastmans exert over them. But I just couldn't -- at least not continuously throughout the novel. In fact, it's impossible to root for either side, or anyone, in this book.

Now, the second half of the novel switches over to the present day and allows a bit more focus on a mystery. You're left guessing and there is at least less spotlight on the girls and their pettiness (though it's definitely still there). Unfortunately, I thought the second-half mystery was somwhat spoiled (not to spoil anything myself) by a main player in the puzzle plot who carried a ridiculous and biased torch for Kate, despite having spent a sum total of about three hours in her presence. That one plot point irked me so much that I enjoyed the second half of the novel less than I would have otherwise. And the second half is better: I read it straight through in an evening, and it kept me turning the pages, wondering how things would turn out.

Unfortunately, it was marred by the earlier half of the book, a cast of despicable characters, and some cliched writing that left a lot to be desired. Still, I have to hand it to Campbell: she kept me reading in spite of all of that. Because of that, I'm going with 3 stars: a combination of 2.5 for the first half of the novel and 3.5 for second.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere as of 05/16/2017.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+
Profile Image for Sheila.
951 reviews84 followers
April 23, 2017
2 stars--it was okay.

This is one of those thrillers that goes from past to present. I thought the plot was competent--standard enough for this kind of book--but there was no characterization. We're constantly told that Kate (for example) is charming, but never see it. I couldn't really tell you anyone's personality traits, and I vaguely disliked everyone because of this. It was so bland that I don't have anything else to say.

I received this review copy from the publisher on NetGalley. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review; I appreciate it!
Profile Image for Erin Dunn.
Author 3 books88 followers
July 18, 2017
Oops forgot about this one for a bit, but I finally finished it. Review to come.

Woo hoo!!! I won this in the Goodreads giveaways! I'm so excited and I can't wait to receive it. :D
Profile Image for Debbie.
1,751 reviews95 followers
April 26, 2017
What can I say about this book? I think (I read it several days ago) that the major thing I remember is the ending. The ending was never ending, the author kept coming back and adding just a little more. Just when you think you know what happened on the bridge, the story is added to. Then back to the other plots going on and then back to the bridge, another addition. So now you know. Then back to the other plots, then bridge, then another addition. And, again you know. This happens several times and each time, my jaw dropped. Until the last two or three pages of the book, then my reaction was "OMG".

I loved this book. This story of three girls rooming together in college and then growing up leading their own respective lives. Always in contact until the children and life came around, but they always made time for each other. And, the differences in these girls. They definitely would not have picked each other out to be friends. However, they did go through a lot together during their time in college.

I would definitely recommend this book. The story from the first page to the last kept me very intrigued and mesmerized. And, the ending, "WOW".

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for approving and allowing me to read and review this book. Again, "WOW"!!!
Profile Image for Mary.
1,473 reviews496 followers
October 21, 2017
"Go ahead and jump. You know you want to."

I have updated my review to reflect 3/5 ⭐️ when I originally had it rated at 4/5 ⭐️

Original review: If I'm being honest, when I first started this book I totally thought it was only going to be a 3 star book. I wasn't sucked into it right away, even though the start was mysterious. However, once I was in pages 40-50 I was actually hooked. I can't say I really expected the way it ended either. This is a great (slow-building) "who done it" book that will keep you guessing until the end. Definitely recommend for people who don't mind mysteries with a slow build.

Updated review: This was definitely a slow burn book and when I first read it I was compelled to give it a better review than I now think it deserves. It does keep you guessing until the end, but with all the whiny characters and slowness it really shouldn’t be a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me. Especially not after all the great books I’ve read lately. I still think some people will enjoy it, but there are better books out there.
Profile Image for Megan Hoffman.
174 reviews278 followers
March 8, 2019
Overall, I really liked this one. After trying to get my hands on this one for a while, I was happy to finally dive into it. Was it formulaic and predictable and full of stereotypes about rich people? Yep. But there's something comforting about knowing what you're gonna get sometimes.

If you're thinking about picking this one up, I'd say go for it.
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