cover image Our Husband

Our Husband

Stephanie Bond. St. Martin's Press, $6.5 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-312-97565-4

In her debut novel, Bond offers readers an enjoyable but predictable read. When traveling prosthetics salesman Raymond Carmichael has an automobile accident, three Mrs. Raymond Carmichaels meet for the first time at his hospital bedside. First wife Beatrix is an aging socialite who uses booze and home shopping to solace the loneliness of a moribund marriage. Second wife Natalie--the character Bond lets readers know best and who appears to be the most distraught about the turn of events--is a harried but good-hearted small-town doctor who has just discovered that Raymond has plundered their marital assets. Ruby, his third bride, is a 20-something stripper with a baby on the way. Raymond soon dies, apparently of a heart attack, leaving the women to cope with his betrayal even as they battle over everything from funeral arrangements to inheritance. The plot thickens further when it is discovered that Raymond was poisoned. Since all three wives have both plenty of motive and access to the poison, they're immediate suspects. Bond's fun and frothy story keeps the plot twists coming and offers up an appealing love interest in pawnbroker Brian Butler, a charmer who is genuinely interested in Natalie and eventually wins over her bruised heart. At the book's center, however, is the transformation of three very different women from enemies into allies. Husbands may come and go, but girlfriends--however unlikely--are forever. Booksellers should be aware of this talented new author, whose first work reads like an ultra-light twist on Terry MacMillan's Waiting to Exhale. Agent, Ruth Kagle, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Nov.)