Husband Material

Graydon House: Harlequin. Dec. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9781525805981. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488028571. f;.
Charlotte Rosen, a Brooklyn expat now living in Los Angeles, is a coder/data cruncher for a social media influencer company and is also creating a dating app. A young widow of five years, she thinks she is ready to move on romantically. She also thinks the past is the past, but the unexpected delivery of her late husband’s ashes proves that it isn’t (and brings her difficult mother-in-law back into the picture). If receiving the urn wasn’t enough of a shock, a few more surprises make her anxiety skyrocket and cause her to question what she thought she knew about some of the people in her life. Belden’s second novel (after Hot Mess) is sensitive, thoughtful, and touching in how it approaches the difficult topics of Charlotte’s grief, loss, and other unforeseen life challenges, and the book’s humor keeps it from being maudlin. However, there’s a lot going on here, maybe too much. While romantic entanglements are typical of chick lit, here it feels forced and takes attention away from the more compelling subplots.
VERDICT A story for chick lit fans looking for something a bit different and more serious than the usual offerings. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/19.]

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