“Can I Give My Husband Back?” by Kristen Bailey

I am delighted to be one of the stops on the Bookouture “Books On Tour” route for the latest release by Kristen Bailey. I was kindly granted a digital copy of “Can I Give My Husband Back?” via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Which is what you will find following a brief bio of Kristen and a taster for the book. Links to where you can purchase “Can I Give My Husband Back?” are shown after my review.

The author – Kristen Bailey:

Kristen Bailey

Mother-of-four, gin-drinker, binge-watcher, receipt hoarder, enthusiastic but terrible cook. Kristen also writes. She has had short fiction published in several publications including Mslexia & Riptide.

Her first two novels, Souper Mum and “Second Helpings” were published in 2016.

In 2019, she was long listed in the Comedy Women in Print Prize and has since joined the Bookouture family. She writes women’s fiction and she hopes her novels have fresh and funny things to say about modern life, love and family.

You can find out more about Kristen at her website: www.kristenbaileywrites.com

You can also follow Kristen on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The blurb – “Can I Give My Husband Back?”:

It’s normal to prefer getting a filling at the dentist’s to spending time with your husband, right?

I thought I was sorted on the life front. I was a heart surgeon with a loving partner and two gorgeous little girls. Except my husband’s version of ‘loving’ is lying, cheating and sleeping his way around London. Which means I definitely deserve a refund.

Unfortunately, moving on isn’t that simple. Just because I know how to operate on a heart doesn’t mean I know how to fix my broken one. Plus, I lost the receipt for him years ago so I’m definitely getting short changed.

But now I’m single, am I ready to mingle? There are a few minor issues:

1) The last time I went on a date double denim was in fashion and my eyebrows were horrendously overplucked.
2) Men wear stupidly skinny jeans now.
3) I don’t know how to use dating apps but at least I don’t have to get changed out of my pyjamas.
4) Sometimes the most promising thing you have in common with a guy is a shared love of prawns.
5) I don’t know whether to open a date with ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ or ‘hey’ and once I ended up saying ‘howdy’.

Everything happens for a reason, they say. There’s plenty more fish in the sea. But what happens when everything falls apart and you haven’t got a clue how to go fishing?

An absolutely hilarious and utterly relatable tale for anyone who has ever survived a nightmare relationship, felt a little lonely or nursed a broken heart with wine and carbs. This feel-good novel will get you back on your feet and genuinely laughing out loud. Perfect for fans of Why Mummy Drinks, Sophie Ranald and Sophie Kinsella.

The review:

Sorbet.

I’ll just leave that word hanging there for a moment.

My reading diet consists mainly – but, not exclusively – of thrillers, crime thrillers and each new Stephen King as soon as it is published. Into this menu, you can add historical fiction, history books and true crime tales. Of the fifteen books I have read thus far in 2020, six have been books about real life historical events and a further two have been retellings of the Greek legends by the English legend that is Stephen Fry.

Add to these a comic tale from an English comedian, a wonderful book by an upcoming British Asian writer and the joyous read that is “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse”.

Despite my fondness for the aforementioned genres, I try to mix up the books I read occasionally – increasingly often in fact – especially in these times. I find it can be rewarding to freshen up my choice of reading with a title that goes against my usual fare. Which leads me back to that single word at the start of my review.

Sorbet.

Sometimes you need the tang that only comes with a mouthful of the delicous fruity sugary-sweet frozen dessert. That unexpectedly expected hit of sweetness and zest gives you a start, makes you smile and refreshes you. It leaves you energised, invigorated and, often, happy.

And that, dear reader, is exactly what “Can I Give My Husband Back?” did for me.

Kristen Bailey first came to my attention at the start of this year. I forget exactly how I heard of her previous book, “Has Anyone Seen My Sex Life?”. It was most likely excited chatter via Twitter and, with its vibrantly coloured cover and its intriguing title, I knew I had to dip my toes into her world.

And, as with that hit of sorbet, I’m so pleased I took a taste.

So much so, that when I saw Kristen had a second book coming out, I jumped at the opportunity to explore her work again.

 When I first picked up this book, I didn’t realise that it continued the Callaghan sisters stories. But I am so glad that it does. It was a delight to have the chance to reaquaint myself with the five sisters from the first book. They are an absorbing quintet, each with her own personality – personalities that leap from the pages – and pull you happily along with the narrative. Each sister brings a different dynamic and vibe to what I now know will be a series of at least five books; maybe more if Ma and Pa Callaghan get their own outings.

This particular outing tells the tale of Emma Callaghan – the second oldest sibling (“HASMSL” concerned the oldest sister, Meg) as Emma copes with the aftermath of her husband Simon’s infidelities and their subsequent divorce and relationship incaring for their two daughters.

While I cannot say I believe this book is aimed specifically at readers like myself – a married man of thirty plus years (to the same woman, yes, she’s a saint) – I simply loved it.

The author writes engaging characters, full of life and zest, complete with their flaws, foibles, fears and frustrations. She breathes life into them and into their relationships and actions. And, she has a great way with dialogue, when the girls speak, their words sparkle and snap.

You’d be wrong for thinking that this would be a hard read about bitterness and divorce, such an emotive and terrible time in someone’s life. Far from it, this book is an absolute blast; it’s tangy, zesty (that word again), fruity and, at many times, downright filthy. It is also very funny and, often, downright hilarious.

These Callaghan girls are no shy, retiring wall flowers; they are in your face, say it like it is, feisty and fun females. Modern, empowered, unwilling to let life – or the men in their lives (PS. We’re not all bad. Honest.) – derail them.

Personally, I cannot wait for the book in which the youngest sister (I hope I have my chronology correct) appears. I’m looking forward to Luce Cannon’s tale.

“Can I Give My Husband Back?” is a terrific read; it’s fun and entertaining, well written and so very enjoyable.

As I said earlier, this book is sorbet; light and refreshing with a sharp kick.

The author’s writing puts a smile of your face. Her books are definitely moreish.

So, book three very, very soon, please, Ms Bailey.

I need my sorbet fix ASAP.

The links:

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