So I finished this last night and initially was all this is a really great book. Then I sat and thought about it and said, well except for some of the character development, and the plot holes that were not tied up, and then the ending. But other than that, it was great. I have to say that I liked the set-up of the book (three college friends) but think that it was hard to even see why the three women kept in touch. Nothing in the book shows us that at all. We jump from freshman year to 20 plus years later and then we hear bits and pieces about things after the fact. Plus one wonders what happened to the friendship between the two women left alive? (no spoilers). I had so many questions at the end of this story so for me it was a solid three stars.
"It's Always the Husband" follows Aubrey, Jenny, and Kate their freshman year of college at Carlisle college. The three young girls are roommates with very little in common. Jenny is a "townie" and Aubrey is at the school on a scholarship. Kate's forefathers helped build up the school though and she very much seems to belong to the elite and cool crowds at the school. The book then jumps back and forth between past and the women in their present day lives with readers realizing that eventually one of these women is going to jump off a bridge which could possibly lead to a secret that all three of them have been keeping about an event during their freshman year.
I think that I felt the most empathy for Jenny. Jenny is very smart and wants to do more with her life than work at her parents hardware store. That said, she seems to value the wrong things. When she eventually meets Kate father and sees how they live she's focused on their wealth and not how unhappy Kate is due to her deteriorating relationship with her father. When we get to see Jenny as an adult, we see a strong capable woman who appears to be in a happy marriage. But there's an undercurrent there due secrets she's been keeping. One wonders why Jenny even deals with Aubrey or Kate since they both seem to be millstones around her neck.
I mostly pitied Aubrey. Her father is long gone and her mother was no help to her at all. Her older sister wants nothing to with her. Aubrey even attaches herself to Kate instantly and even dies her hair the same shade of color in order to look more like her. She even crushes on one of Kate's boyfriends Grif who she thinks she has a special connection with. When we see Aubrey as an adult, married, with three children, you wonder how she ended up in this life that seems to give her nothing. She could have been or did something else, but it seems like she was too afraid to want anything else. She had the most interesting development I thought since finding out about something leads her to realize that she hasn't had a real friendship with either Kate or Jenny like she thought.
I didn't like Kate much. I think that Campbell had a tough road to walk with her, but I saw her mostly as shallow and self-absorbed. We have a lot of people trying to leave Kate and or being infatuated with her and I wondered why. She didn't seem to offer much besides her looks. When we see her as an adult, not much changed there, and she even seems to be more selfish (if possible). Her resentment of Jenny and Aubrey makes zero sense to me though especially after we find out about what went on freshman year.
We get some other POVs in this one which could have been cut. The new police chief investigating the murder of the woman who jumped who has a surprising connection to her. We also get Kate's husband's POV which made things worse in my opinion too since it was confusing as all get out based on the ending.
The writing was pretty solid. I thought Campbell did a good job showing the women as young girls and then later. I wish though that we had more information about the times in between. I don't get why the three of them would even speak to each other again based on what went on. The flow started off really great, but towards the end it just jumped back and forth too much between everyone and then we just stutter to the ending.
The setting of the college and the surrounding town was interesting I thought. We also have the setting change to New York and even Jamaica at one point. I think Campbell perfectly captures the goings on at supposed elite colleges.
The ending though. Eh. I get what Campbell was trying for, but once again it read as false to me based on what came before it.