- Book: Her Husband’s Mistake
- Location: Ireland
- Author: Sheila O'Flanagan
Roxy is mourning the death of her father Christy. During the last period of his illness, she has been managing his company, driving the Mercedes as a chauffeur and just recently has been supporting her mother through the final stages of his life.
Her husband Dave has been at their marital home and upon her return – earlier than anticipated – she discovers him in their marital bed with their neighbour. She returns to her mother’s house for some thinking time and has a great dealing of sorting to do. The one-night stand, as it has been billed by her rather feckless husband, is a catalyst for upheaval in the marriage and there has to be quite some soul-searching.
This is the story of Roxy in the aftermath and her fight to keep her sense of self, exploring her role as wife and as mother to two young children, Mica and Tom.
She uses her driving time to think. She is also good at building on the very solid business which her father has built. She even brings the business into the 21st century with the support of some of her rather famous clients, who advise her on Social Media engagement. Dave, however, after a graceful period of allowing her space, soon reverts to the behaviour of a querulous child, pouting and demanding her return. His hypocrisy is blatant, that he, as a male, has a freedom that he is not prepared to bestow on his wife. The author is clearly passionate about social commentary, whether it is about coercive control within an adult intimate relationship or the societal roles of men and women that seem very unjust.
Roxy finds a photo in the car and cannot find the owner. But somehow it may link to her father and perhaps even to a mooted child that he may or may not have had with a very early girlfriend. Yet more issues for Roxy to worry about.
The dapper Ivo Lehane becomes a regular client, he is very respectful of her and they find a level of connectedness that individually steers them away from their entrenched positions in their personal lives. Dave naturally thinks the worst and when she chauffeurs Ivo, staying overnight at the Castlemartyr Resort (luxury, with spa and golf), he is jettisoned into a fitful outburst and further tries to control her activities.
To find out what ultimately happens to Roxy, her relationship and her life, you will need to buy the book!
I enjoyed the writing and found the novel very readable. It creatively explores what it means to be in a relationship where control is out of kilter between husband and wife, and where the age old roles of the sexes are a real bugbear. The author has a good eye for detail and observes people well, but I felt there was just a little too much slogging around in the car and detail about the characters’ lives that made it feel a little ‘spun out’, when, in actual fact there is a good, meaty story at the heart that is sufficient to be compelling.
This is the first novel I have read by this author and it won’t be the last!