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Publisher's Summary

A Good Morning America Book Club Pick

“Chandler Baker, queen of the feminist thriller, has delivered once again! The Husbands is a poignant exploration of what it would take for women to have it all." (Sally Hepworth, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Sister)

Chandler Baker, the New York Times best-selling author of Whisper Network, is back with The Husbands, a novel that asks: to what lengths will a woman go for a little more help from her husband?

Nora Spangler is a successful attorney but when it comes to domestic life, she packs the lunches, schedules the doctor appointments, knows where the extra paper towel rolls are, and designs and orders the holiday cards. Her husband works hard, too...but why does it seem like she is always working so much harder?

When the Spanglers go house hunting in Dynasty Ranch, an exclusive suburban neighborhood, Nora meets a group of high-powered women - a tech CEO, a neurosurgeon, an award-winning therapist, a bestselling author - with enviably supportive husbands. When she agrees to help with a resident’s wrongful death case, she is pulled into the lives of the women there. She finds the air is different in Dynasty Ranch. The women aren’t hanging on by a thread.

But as the case unravels, Nora uncovers a plot that may explain the secret to having-it-all. One that’s worth killing for. Calling to mind a Stepford Wives gender-swap, The Husbands imagines a world where the burden of the “second shift” is equally shared- and what it may take to get there.

A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books

"The Husbands is both a gripping, well-crafted mystery and an insightful critique of motherhood and marriage in the modern age - working mothers everywhere will feel seen in the best possible way.” (Kimberly McCreight, New York Times best-selling author of Reconstructing Amelia and A Good Marriage)

©2021 Chandler Baker (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Husbands

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a fun feminist romp!

“The Husbands” by Chandler Baker is a fun feminist thriller that every mother, especially working moms, will enjoy.

It begins with Nora Spangler, pregnant with her second child, working at a law firm and trying to make partner. Her husband Hayden is your typical nice guy husband who feels he’s pulling his fair share. You know the type, the one who if he watches the children, then he’s babysitting not parenting. The guy who can’t control a crying child; if the child is crying while he’s watching, you must come back, as he can’t care for a crying child. In fact, there’s a scene in which she is at the office trying to impress her colleagues (to make partner), and her husband constantly calls her because their daughter is crying. In fact, he takes time to video the crying child to “prove” it’s bad (like Nora hasn’t ever had to deal with that). Nora does it all and Hayden just coasts.

In a conversation with one of her work friends, he explains to Nora the “lazy traveler” theory. In every group, there is one person who takes charge, no matter what the personalities are of the other group members. The other group members become lazy travelers. They just sit back and do nothing, allowing the one to take control. In this way, husbands are lazy travelers. From the start, moms take control and dads just sit back and watch. I personally liked that analogy. It fits so much in life.

Nora and Hayden begin to look for a larger home to accommodate their growing family. Nora sees a home in a development that she loves. She meets some of the couples who live there, and all the women are high powered in their jobs. But what strikes Nora most is how the husbands are discussing tactics in cleaning out stains and creating order in their pantries. In fact, all the husbands seem so helpful and happy to be helpful.

Meanwhile, Nora continues to stress through mommy rages and frustrations. To get into the development (one needs to be approved by the other members of the community), Nora agrees to represent one of the women whose husband just died in a house fire. This woman wants to file a wrongful death suit. In addition, the other women there insist that Nora use one of the women there who is a marriage counselor. Nora and Hayden use this woman, and during the therapy Nora feels that strange methods are being used.

Yes, it’s billed as a “Stepford wives” in reverse, so as a reader we are looking for how these men become almost brainwashed into being so accommodating and perfect.

There’s the suspense of the house fire and what really happened to the husband who died. There’s suspense in how these husbands become so domesticated and helpful. And there’s suspense about what Nora is going to do about everything.

What I really enjoyed about the story is how realistic this story is about working mothers. Women do continue to make the home front their domain while working just as hard as their husbands. The situations that Nora found herself in are ones that every working mother can relate to. Gender inequality isn’t just in the workforce, it’s in the home as well.

I listened to the audio narrated by Allyson Ryan. The narration was great.

6 people found this helpful

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Scratches an itch in my brain I didn't know I had

Legitimately enjoyed this book in a way I haven't in a while, would recommend.

4 people found this helpful

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Super twisty

Such an intriguing premise! I had no idea where the story was going. The narration was spot-on, lacking discernible vocal imperfections.

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

Took too long for story to unfold. What could have been a good story about family and friends working together...
became a ridiculous concept with very limited closure.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book!

An interesting book, couldn’t put it down. Thrilling and exciting, fast paced. And the ending…!

2 people found this helpful

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I just can’t- too much winey predictability

I tried and listened to 10 Chapters, but just couldn’t go on with the same repetitive story line. The narrator was fine and I had no issues with her. Just the content.

2 people found this helpful

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Mysterious and delightfully entertaining.

A must read for every woman, wife and mother everywhere! Not what I expected both throughout and up until the very end! Delightfully entertaining. couldn't put it down.

1 person found this helpful

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so-so

This was very well written, but slow and too predictable. The main character is likable and very relatable, but the story has man-hating/bashing theme through that was a bit much for me.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it!!!

I consume audiobooks and this was a really fun, unique read. It definitely held my attention wondering where the story will go. Highly recommend!

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For new-ish moms who feel like they pull most of the weight

This is definitely a good read for moms who are tired and feel like they are the ones who do everything. Do you feel like you’re a one person team sometimes? Are you the one who picks up after the kids, makes the meals, remembers that we need more diapers and which size the baby is currently in? Does your husband think he pulls half the weight when you know he only does 1/8 of what you do? Yep, then this is for you. I felt like so much of this book was relatable, until the climax/end. The climax wasn’t quite for me, but it was interesting for sure. I really enjoyed listening to this book on my way to and from work. There were so many times that I said to myself, “is she really talking about me?” Definitely a read for moms! Might even be a good read for young dads too, if they want to hear what moms feel haha.