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Husband Material
Cover of Husband Material
Husband Material
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"By turns heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny."—Kristin Rockaway, author of How To Hack a Heartbreak
Sometimes love is unpredictable... in this witty and thought-provoking novel about a millenial widow whose life is thrown into disarray, with often hilarious results, when the most unexpected delivery arrives on her doorstep.
Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she's a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she's faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.
Yet Charlotte's algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband's ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband's best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.
But when her quest reveals a shocking secret, Charlotte is forced to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at a new life arises, she'll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.
"By turns heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny."—Kristin Rockaway, author of How To Hack a Heartbreak
Sometimes love is unpredictable... in this witty and thought-provoking novel about a millenial widow whose life is thrown into disarray, with often hilarious results, when the most unexpected delivery arrives on her doorstep.
Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she's a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she's faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.
Yet Charlotte's algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband's ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband's best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.
But when her quest reveals a shocking secret, Charlotte is forced to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at a new life arises, she'll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.
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About the Author-
  • Emily Belden is a journalist, social media marketer, and storyteller. She is the author of the novels Hot Mess and Husband Material, and of Eightysixed: A Memoir about Unforgettable Men, Mistakes, and Meals. She lives in Chicago.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 1, 2019
    While Belden’s sophomore novel makes occasional missteps, this upbeat tale of finding connection and love after a tragic loss is nevertheless charming. Los Angeles data analyst Charlotte Rosen, 29 and unhappily single, is developing an app that evaluates compatibility between potential mates. She goes on frequent dates both to refine the app and to seek her own perfect match. No one knows—and Charlotte herself has tried hard to forget—that she had an apparent perfect match in Decker, her husband, who died five years ago. When Decker’s ashes are unexpectedly mailed to Charlotte, the walls between then and now crumble, casting new light on all her comfortable but distant relationships with her roommate, Decker’s mother, and the men she dates. Charlotte can be judgmental and self-centered, but as past conflicts reemerge, her reasons become clear and understandable. The second half of the narrative reveals yet more secrets and ends up feeling a bit compressed, with certain knots untangling mostly because the plot needs them to. Still, the heartfelt whole will keep readers engaged.

  • Kirkus

    October 1, 2019
    A 20-something woman is keeping a big secret from her friends and co-workers: She's a widow. Charlotte Rosen thinks she's moved on pretty well from her husband Decker's death five years ago. She started a new job with a social media influencer firm, found a roommate who knows nothing about her past, and convinced her co-workers that she's just another single young woman in LA. She's even working on developing her own data-driven dating app that determines a couple's compatibility based on their social media profiles. Charlotte calls herself a "Numbers Queen" and knows that even though life may have thrown her a curveball in the past, data will never let her down. But life, it turns out, still has plenty of surprises left for her. When Decker's mausoleum burns down and his ashes show up on her doorstep, Charlotte begins to realize that she didn't deal with her grief so much as she ran from it. Now, she needs help from the people she left in the past--including her status-obsessed ex-mother-in-law, who's so controlling that she tries to sneak into Charlotte's building to steal her son's ashes back. Charlotte also reconnects with Decker's best friend, Brian, who used to be a partying frat boy but is now a children's doctor. Charlotte and Brian shared one impulsive kiss shortly after her husband's death, and unfortunately, she discovers that her attraction to Brian hasn't gone away--in fact, now that he's grown up a little, it's even stronger. But when Charlotte runs into a woman from Decker's past, she's forced to reckon with the fact that she might not have known him as well as she thought she did--and everyone else in her life might be full of surprises, too. Belden (Hot Mess, 2018, etc.) paints a realistic portrait of grief while still creating a story that is fast-paced and fun. The dialogue sparkles, especially when Charlotte is arguing with her snarky roommate, Casey. Plot twists near the end, though, strain credulity--Charlotte is quick to forgive some of the people in her life for major transgressions, and it seems like a more realistic reaction is ignored in favor of tying the ending up with a bow. A quick, entertaining read about making sense of your past and making the most of your future.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    October 15, 2019
    Charlotte Rosen has been a widow longer than she was married, but grief has a funny way of sticking around. She's on Tinder as much as any other 29-year-old in Los Angeles but hasn't found anyone else worth letting into her bed, let alone her heart. Charlotte runs statistics for a social media agency known for partnering with Instagram influencers and finds data easier to navigate than matters of the heart. When the urn containing her former husband's ashes turns up on her doorstep after the mausoleum was caught in the path of a wildfire, it triggers a chain of events that Charlotte certainly isn't prepared to handle, even years after Decker's death. Tackling thorny questions of widowhood and dating after trauma, Belden's (Hot Mess, 2018) second novel is witty, full of heart, and blindingly au courant. Packed with pop-culture references, it will appeal to fans of Sophie Kinsella, Rosie Walsh, and Plum Sykes. Belden writes twists and turns to keep readers hooked, and wraps up Charlotte's journey of self-discovery with a pretty bow.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2019

    Belden follows up her LJ-starred debut, Hot Mess, with the story of millennial Charlotte Rosen. Charlotte has a great job at a social media analytics company, a roommate she likes, and a dog she loves. But she's keeping a secret: she is a widow. Wanting to move forward, she has always suppressed this little fact, but it comes back to her in a big way when her husband's ashes land on her doorstep--five years after his death. Now she must face not just her formidable ex-mother-in-law but her husband's best friend. Is that where the romance comes in? With a 50,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2019

    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.]--Samantha Gust, Niagara Univ. Lib., NY

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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