Book Review: Difficult Husbands, by Mary de Laszlo

Three friends. One surprise inheritance. And the perfect plan to deal with troublesome husbands at Christmas time…


Newly divorced Lorna is struggling to adjust to life on her own. When she discovers that her beloved godfather has left her the grand (and crumbling) Ravenscourt House in the heart of Sussex, she soon has a project on her hands.

Nathan sells delicious goodies at Mulberry Farm. When he meets Lorna at a Christmas market, neither of them can ignore the chemistry. But as they get to know one another, Lorna wants to know one thing – is he after her or the house?

Together with Gloria – whose marriage to alcoholic Adrian has hit rock bottom, and Rosalind – struggling to deal with her womanising husband Ivan, the three friends hatch a plan. They’ll ditch their difficult husbands at Ravenscourt House and enjoy stress-free Christmases with their families. But nothing is ever that simple…

Mary de Laszlo has had four novels published by Headline and has since had many others published by Hale. She lives in London and is an active member of the RNA. She was a fashion journalist with Vogue and now works as an occasional film extra when not writing.


Many thanks to Bookouture for a review copy of Difficult Husbands via Netgalley.

This is a difficult review to write, for this was not a bad book at all, but was simply very different from what I was expecting.

Reading the blurb, I envisaged a fun and festive story about 3 best friends (with perhaps a slight emphasis on Lorna), who  scheme to ditch their troublesome husbands over Christmas.

Firstly, Rosalind plays a very small part in this story, with Lorna and Gloria being much more central to the story. Rosalind sometimes felt like a sideline character put in just to balance things out among the husbands with Ivan, rather than her being a central part of the story herself, which is a shame as I think it would have worked well had she been more developed and included.

Secondly, the book didn’t feel very festive. Yes, it is based around their plot for Christmas, but when I think of Christmas books, I think of the sweet, warm, fuzzy feeling I usually love them for, and this is very much not the case with this book. I’d say it has a wintery feel, so I wouldn’t worry about having missed the festive period if you are curious to read it.

Now, I must emphasise, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy this book – actually, I thought it was very well written and had some very touching moments, and some well developed characters. The descriptive language was wonderful and I also fell in love with Ravenscourt, feeling as protective over it as Lorna did.

On a different note, I must also add that the cover is simply stunning; I love the delicate, feminine, wintery tones used.

Hard to rate overall, as my disappointment may be from my own misinterpretation of what to expect, but while worth a read, it was not the cosy Christmas book I was hoping for.

Rating: girl penguingirl penguingirl penguin

Release date: 31 October 2014
Publisher: Bookouture
Amazon UK
Amazon US


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