It was love at first sight for Laura when she met Robert at a neighbor’s barbecue. He was successful, charming, and seemed to hang on her every word. A few months after their whirlwind romance began, Robert moves into her house, but it isn’t the happily ever after Laura imagined it would be.
The perfect man she fell in love with quickly transforms into a cruel, abusive monster who isolates and controls her in every way. With no access to her savings, and unable to get him out of her house, Laura—who always longed for a child of her own—still feels hopeful things will improve once she discovers she is pregnant. Those hopes are quickly dashed, however, and Laura realizes Robert remains a danger, both to herself and her unborn child… and she must do whatever it takes to protect them both.
I really wanted to like this book. It seemed to have all the necessary ingredients: a lonely, vulnerable woman meets what she thinks is the man of her dreams, only to find herself in an abusive relationship. A crisis situation (in this case, a pregnancy) that forces her to take action in order to save herself and her baby. It seemed to be a given that I would be fully invested in her plight, which she would (hopefully) eventually escape. I assumed it would be a compelling story that only got better, the further I read.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case.
The story is broken down into three parts, and part one was full of promise. It was deeply disturbing, and Robert was clearly illustrated to be a constant, unpredictable threat. Even though it was frustrating to see Laura go back and forth between leaving him and hoping to salvage their relationship somehow, it was logical that she would do that. It made me feel even more sympathetic towards her character, because I knew she was only fooling herself.
Part one ended with an explosive incident that left me eager to find out what would happen next. Laura’s emotions were all over the place, and her thoughts were exactly what you would expect at this point in the story. Things started to get shaky pretty fast, though, and it was all downhill from there. I found myself feeling less sympathetic towards Laura and became frustrated with the direction the story had taken. By the time I got into part three, I regretted that I’d chosen to read this book at all.
I would have enjoyed this book much more if the story focused solely on the events of part one. Part one was absolutely enthralling, edge-of-your-seat storytelling, in my opinion, and could have easily been expanded into a book-length story. (Had that been the case, I’d be writing a much different review right now!) I understand that Laura has some mental health issues and is dealing with a lot of trauma, but even so, the events of parts two and three failed to hit the mark for me. I spent a lot of time being annoyed with her decisions about various things, and by the time I reached the end of the book, I didn’t like her or feel any sympathy for her, at all—definitely not the reaction I expected (or wanted) to have.
Others may read and greatly enjoy this book. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me.
About the Book
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. 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 has married 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?
The Perfect Husband – the stunning psychological thriller from the author of The Girl Downstairs and Mr. Todd’s Reckoning.
About the Author
IAIN MAITLAND has been a professional writer since 1987. He has written over 50 books, mainly on business, and been published as far away as Russia, India, Japan, USA and Australia. He has also written for the Sunday Times, Which? and the Financial Times amongst many others.