This is a little something different from my usual historical fiction reviews. I met Cincinnati author Leah Stewart at the Ohioana Book Festival last month, and I was eager to dive into one of her books. I selected “Husband and Wife” to explore.
Sarah Price is a working mom of two, the primary bread winner so that her author husband is free to pursue his writing career, when he tells her his latest book, Infidelity, is more fact than fiction. He admits to an adulterous one night-stand and begs for forgiveness. Sarah’s life is shattered as she tries to make sense of it all – her boring job, hectic schedule, and the poetry writing she gave up to make this family life possible.
I think any mother can easily identify with Sarah – a woman whose life’s ambitions dimmed when she became a wife, mother, and bread winner. To get the stable, happy family life most dream of having, many end up paying a great price. The things that were once so important to Sarah (literature, poetry, friendships) went by the wayside as they so often do. Her priorities changed, and as they did, she ended up losing something of herself. Then, when forced to come to terms with the fact that her partner was not really who she thought he was, the resulting shock and feelings of betrayal are harsh, stunning, and visceral.
I greatly enjoyed Sarah’s “voice” and the way Ms. Stewart conveys the deep, complex vortex of emotions that ensues after her husband’s admission. I loved how Sarah remains conflicted throughout her entire journey because her decision is not an easy one. The ending feels too abrupt (but I won’t spoil it here) and not quite worthy of the journey Sarah has taken. Even so, this was a well-written look into an all-too-familiar crisis that I think any mother can understand.
Amazon link is here.