Reviews for The husbands

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Following Whisper Network (2019), Baker is back with a second pulpy feminist thriller, this time set in an idyllic suburb just outside of Austin where all the women are high-powered and all the husbands are helpful—or at least, so it seems. Nora Spangler, up for partner and pregnant with her second child, is barely hanging on. She loves her husband, Hayden, she does, only why does everything, she can’t help thinking, have to fall to her? In addition to her full-time job as a personal injury attorney at Greenberg Schwall, she is the packer of lunches and the keeper of schedules and the taker-out of trash. “It’s like he thinks their house, their toddler, their lives are kept on track by magic,” she thinks, trying to quell her constant rage and mostly failing. At least until, while house-hunting in advance of the new baby, Nora and Hayden discover Dynasty Ranch. Dynasty Ranch is not like other neighborhoods. Here, all the wives are accomplished and all the husbands are serenely doting—Stepford in reverse. When a few of the women approach Nora about taking on a wrongful death suit, the result of a devastating house fire that killed one of the husbands, her initial hesitation about taking a case involving people who might soon be her neighbors doesn’t last. The case is a double opportunity: a way to prove her value to the firm and a chance to make the kind of new friends she so desperately needs. And it works. But as she begins to dig deeper into the house fire, she discovers that Dynasty Ranch isn’t what it seems. Just to really hammer home her point, Baker periodically intersperses fictional online comment threads between chapters, a Greek chorus of anonymous voices (“TwinMommy,” “WillWork4Cupcakes67”) debating how much of their predicament is or isn’t working mothers’ faults. The novel isn’t breaking new ground, in terms of social commentary; still, it’s a delightfully cutting romp. A perpetually timely page-turner that is anything but subtle. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.