REVIEW: My Husband’s Sweethearts by Bridget AsherSunday, September 28, 2008 1:00
It’s an interesting premise — a dying husband being nursed by not only his wife, but his many girlfriends as well. Bridget Asher takes a totally fresh idea and runs with it, resulting in a bittersweet chronicle of love both marital and parental.
Thirty-something Lucy left fifty-something Artie six months ago, when she discovered he was having an affair. Now that she’s learned Artie is dying, Lucy is back to nurse him, but she can’t forgive him and she’s not sure she can take care of him alone. Artie is the one who gives her the idea to call all the women in his little black book and have them help her out-oh, and by the way? Can she call his son John, the one he’s never told her about?
Needless to say, not all of the women show up. Some only make brief appearances. Then there is Elspa, who says that Artie saved her life. Elspa is the first to arrive and the most determined of the sweethearts; also the youngest. My personal favorite is Eleanor, who arrives and announces that she is there for “revenge”. Each character represents a different part of Artie’s personality, and it’s only together that the women make it through each day of caring for him. While the message isn’t always subtle, Asher writes with a great deal of compassion for her characters.
My Husband’s Sweethearts was a very enjoyable book, at times pretty darn funny. That’s quite a feat, considering death and adultery are two of the primary subjects! If I have a major quibble with the book, it’s Artie’s lack of repentance for his behavior-not just cheating on Lucy, but the heartbreak he caused more than a few of his sweethearts. While the author writes great female characters, she didn’t quite convince me that Artie was enough of a Lothario to have all of these women forgive him without any effort on his part.
Ultimately, it’s a book worth reading for the relationship between Lucy and her mother; and for the family that forms between those caring for Artie as he dies. The dialogue is great, razor sharp in places. My Husband’s Sweethearts is a solid…
When Lucy discovered that her charming, cheating husband was dying, she came home, opened up his little black book, and decided she wasn’t going through this alone. After all, Artie’s sweethearts were there for the good times-is it fair that Lucy should have to manage the hard times herself? In this wise, wickedly funny new novel, Lucy dials up the women in Artie’s black book and invites them for one last visit. The last thing she expects is that any will actually show up.
But one by one, they do show up: The one who hates him. The one who owes her life to him. The one he turned into a lesbian, and the one he taught to dance. And among them is a visitor with the strangest story of all: the young man who may or may not be Artie’s long-lost son.
Read an excerpt.