BLOG REVIEW: Yesterday's Husband by Angela Devine

28y.o. businesswoman takes a much-needed vacation to Bali, before she announces the demise of the company she's worked hard to manage since her father's death 7 years ago.  
The last time she was in Bali was 9 years ago on her honeymoon, which she's trying not to dwell on too much. 
It becomes much more difficult, when her estranged husband Hero, who she hasn't seen or heard from in 8 years, unexpectedly shows up.
And demands that she be his wife in full for 3 months, in exchange for him saving her bankrupt company. Heroine is dismayed at how hard and coldly calculating he had become. 
35y.o. lawyer-businessman Hero makes clear that he wants revenge for her choosing her father over him and cheating on him with the man her father approved of.
Heroine contests his infidelity accusations with her own. Their fiery arguments

match their fiery attraction and passion for each other. She agrees to his 3-month proposition.
In the next few weeks, their time together becomes more harmonious and she becomes hopeful about its permanence.
When she catches him in a compromising position with his beautiful company lawyer, 
all bets are off. Was this all part of his revenge scheme? 

The best things about this Devine book were the realistic portrayal of a separated couple trying to reunite temporarily and the character growth that came from being separated for about 9 years. We see the mixed emotions of love, lust, hurt, unforgiveness, resentment, and anger Hero and especially heroine have for each other. The book was told from a 3rd-person POV(point of view) from the heroine's end. What we know of Hero's was based on his words and actions and his confession at the end. Even so, the emotional atmosphere in this book was tangible. Part of what made it so was the frankness of Hero and heroine towards themselves and each other. They did keep some of what they really felt for each other from the other. But, for the most part, they were quite brutally honest about how they perceived each other in the past and now. For example, Hero told heroine that he was in love with her when they got married but now thought that she was only:
          "passably pretty and your nose is too long. Added to that you've been spoiled
           rotten from birth, you have no conception of loyalty, you're extravagant, willful, and
           heartless. I just can't imagine why I should still find you attractive. But, oddly enough,
           I do." (p. 16)
I really liked the play of honesty with secrecy. There was something in that mix and how it was done that pulled my emotions. 

The character growth that came from living life separately for 8 years and going through challenges on their was evident especially with heroine. Heroine's come back to Hero's aforementioned insult-compliment of her shows that she's become more assertive, astute, and self-reliant:
         "Really?...Now you, on the other hand, are God's gift to women. Handsome,
          charming, rich, irresistibly sexy and possessing a wonderful way with words.
          I just can't imagine why I don't find you attractive. But, oddly enough, I don't" (p. 16)
Boom! She gave it as good (or even better) than she got. We see these kinds of one-upping dialogue throughout the book. She made Hero grit his teeth in frustration from her snappy comebacks. Loved it.  It showed her progress from a naive & relatively spoiled 19-year-old to a sharper & more independent 28-year-old woman.

If I were to rate them on their emotional maturity level on a scale of 1 to 5(highest) when they first met & got married, 19y.o. heroine was a 1.5 and 26y.o. Hero a 2.5. Nine years later,  28y.o. heroine's maturity level went up to a 4 but 35y.o. Hero's only developed to a 3, if that. Her honest introspection showed her weaknesses as well as highlighted her strengths.  She had some doormat-y thoughts here and there but at least she acknowledged them for what they were & attempted to do differently. Although she promised to keep her true feelings from Hero until she figured out exactly where she stood with him, she tended to blurt out the truth before that. It was more out of a matter of being truthful than being impulsive, which Hero didn't share. Hero was only truthful when it served him. He often used his honesty to put down or snare heroine in his revenge plans. But she was self-confident enough to let it roll off her back and defend herself.  Hero's 3-month marriage proposition was a game he played to avenge himself for how he thought she mistreated him in the past.  

  ---------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details--------------

To understand their relationship problems accurately, I had to outline a timeline of their relationship since their relationship sequence wasn't easy to follow(another reason for my lower rating of this book). It's broken into 3 parts: timeline of when they met & married, heroine's viewpoint of events after their big argument (BA) , and Hero's viewpoint of events after their BA.

Here's what happened:

1. They met when Hero was working as a construction supervisor for her father's building. He asked her on a date & she accepted. 
2. They dated a few months before they got married at a register office without their family's presence. 
3. Her father was not pleased with their union. Heroine tried to appease things with her father and thought it was working. Hero didn't agree and thought her father was sabotaging his work, leading to their marital strife. 
4. Eleven months into their marriage, Hero and heroine had another big argument (BA) about her father sabotaging Hero's business. Hero left and, after 5 days of him gone and not knowing his whereabouts, heroine went to her father's house to stay with him until Hero came back.

Events after BA from heroine's viewpoint:

5a.) Heroine got a call from her jewelry insurance company a few days later to check on a ruby bracelet found at an inn. She confirmed the unique bracelet was hers. She was appalled at finding that it was found under the used bed of 1 of the inn's bedrooms that was registered under a "Mr. & Mrs. (Hero's name)" on the weekend he left her. 
Edited to add: This was all set-up by heroine's father to make her leave Hero. Hero never cheatd on her during their 11-month marriage. In fact, he stayed celibate the next 3 years, hoping she'd come back. 
5b.) A few days later she wrote him a letter acknowledging his infidelity and asking him to come back to her and have a fresh start with her anyway. She had her father personally hand-deliver the letter to Hero.
5c.) On the night of their 1-year wedding anniversary still without any word from Hero, she begun dating a man (OM) her father approved of and who worked for him. She broke up with OM months later, when she realized she wasn't in love with him and only dated him as revenge for Hero cheating on her. She never slept with him.

Events after BA from Hero's viewpoint:

5a.) Hero stayed at his sister's house after his BA with heroine & was frantically working on saving the important business deal he believed heroine's father was trying to damage. This business deal was going to make or break him and his family and heroine didn't know about it (more on this later).
5b.) He found out that heroine moved to her father's house. He thought she was being a spoiled & immature for doing so just because of their BA and thought she'd eventually come back to him once she cooled down.
5c.) On their first wedding anniversary and no word from her yet, he sent her a dozen roses as a peace and love offering. She never contacted him about it or about anything else.

6. Nine years later, they finally see and talk to each other again, when Hero followed her to her Bali vacation.

    -------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS--------------------------------------------------

It was quite sophomoric of him. He may have become mega-successful and mega-wealthy in the last 9 years. But he was emotionally stunted. What made it excusable (and made him still likable) was that his emotional state was rooted in how greatly heroine affected him. How he handled being hurt by her was what stunted him and 1 of the factors that caused me to rate this book less than a 4-star.

    ---------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details--------------

He declared himself in love with heroine since he met her. And that he never stopped loving her. If that's so, then:
1. why didn't he go after her as soon as he found out that she moved to her father's house?
2. why didn't he go after her and confront her when he learned about her affair with another man?
3. why didn't he make sure that she received the roses he sent her for their one year anniversary, given his belief that her father was actively sabotaging their romance? A phone call to her, asking her if she received them would've been a really good idea.
4. why didn't he call, write, or personally visit her during the 9 years they were separated? Especially within the first month or so after their BA? 
5. why didn't he tell her about his family's dire financial straits & the importance of the business deal he was busily working on right after their BA?
6. why did he not divorce her, especially 3 years after their BA when he started dating & smexxing other women? 

Heroine was also culpable. She also should've gone after him and confronted him about his alleged cheating with all the evidence she had. She did write him a letter but she easily gave up because of his lack of communication. Why not write him another letter and leave it at visible place in the home they shared? Or call him? Or why not start divorce proceedings if she thought their marriage over? But she did none of these. Instead she started dating another man as a way to get back at Hero just a month after their BA. 

     -------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS--------------------------------------------------

He railed about how his love for her made him feel vulnerable and emotionally controlled by her. Thus, her leaving him to go to her father's and cheating on him with her father's choice hurt him greatly. Hero was an aggressive go-getter with a successful entrepreneurial touch in law, business, and real estate. So, it baffled me at how passive he was at handling his problems with heroine and her alleged infidelity. He didn't fight for her. His flower offering was a very measly attempt without the needed follow-up. He just acted helpless, hopeless, and increasingly resentful. It changed to a more active yet still-childish anger 9 years later, manifesting as demands, mind-games and manipulation of heroine. It was only his cold calculation, alpha-male attitude, and his obsession with her that saved him from appearing totally childish. 

There was some angsty moments towards the end of the book that made me tear-up a bit. Their idyllic reunion was a time-bomb waiting to explode. And, when it did, heroine let it all out and Hero was baffled but finally worked to make things right with her.  He went after her, confronted her, and fought for her. For them. And they finally talked about all that happened and resolved things. Finally!

I moderately recommend this book.
3.5-star

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