The Husbands, is Chandler Baker‘s second novel, coming after her best-selling The Whisper Network. Both novels explore female friendships and power dynamics. (Especially when it comes to women in positions of power.) But while The Whisper Network explores the corporate world, The Husbands is set in a gated community, where men are turned in Stepford husbands.
Poor Nora Spangler is struggling. She’s three months pregnant with her second child, and she still blames herself for an accident involving her daughter from years before. It’s clear that the Spangler’s need to move, as they’re outgrowing their home and need more space; plus, their city dwelling isn’t right for young kids. On top of trying to move, gestate, and parent, Nora is determined to make partner at her law firm. But, she’s been told she’s not “aggressive” enough. And she’s looked down upon every time she has to leave early to pick her daughter up. Meanwhile, her husband Hayden still believes he’s “babysitting” whenever he takes on parenting duties. He can’t even go a couple of hours without calling Nora in to help with potty-training.
Then, Nora finds Dynasty Ranch. It comes with tons of space and a community of successful women who have trained their husbands into submission, and Nora’s believes her prayers have been answered. Yet, when Nora represents the women from Dynasty Ranch in a wrongful death suit, she learns of the dark inner-workings of the community. Nora has to ask herself if having it all is worth the price. What if that price includes mind control and murder?
The Husbands is campy and over the top for sure, but that’s the fun of it. Is the story believable? Not really, but the character dynamics and the issues that working moms face are totally real. Nora’s mom guilt, marital frustrations, and mom-guilt are all relatable. Thus, the novel is grounded in reality even as the plot takes wild swings. The result is a fun, feminist take on suburban life that is sure to entertain.
This novel is the perfect beach read or living room escape.