We’re introduced to Ella and Ludo in the prologue when she’s asked to stand in for flowers in the village church for a wedding. Forgetting all about it, she asks the local florist to help out but the arrangements are not acceptable. Coming out of the church she bumps into Ludo who takes her to the field to collect wild flowers. This is the turning point in their friendship although still very innocent.
We move on to Ella and her sister Ginnie’s characters. Totally opposite, Ella is the scatty one who is broke and emotionally barren while Ginnie is living a life of opulence and is efficient and organised.
Through a reflective account we find out about Ella and Sebastian’s history and we get to know about Ella’s background and her parents. Her mother has always controlled her father, even down to the sock’s he wears!
Once the scene is set, we become involved in Ella’s life … her mother moving in to one of the cottages on the farm, her feelings growing for Ludo in proportion to the alienation with Sebastian, and as her sister’s perfect life changes.
Ella views Ludo through a rose-tinted hue. There’s intimation that he’s not all Ella paints him to be … their love reminded me very much of the chivalrous knight paying court to his lady. The passion and depth is still there for her feelings towards Sebastian, they were definitely soul mates, and I couldn’t work out exactly what the secret was that destroyed their marriage. This intrigued me throughout the story.
Ella is never very sure of who she is meant to be. Having married at Sebastian at 19, she always copied everyone else to fit in. As transformation takes place around her, her own life falls apart. She is a character that mothers everywhere will identify with as regards to her children and the decisions made … or decide not to make!
I love the art in the story, from the openness in the beginning to the darkness at the end. The author knows what she is writing about with the emotions that are involved and how it is in integral part to an artist’s heart and soul.
The ending was perfect and exactly what I hoped for (although we don’t know if things will have a happy ending but my romantic heart says yes!)
My Husband Next Door, for me, is a story about relationships and things we don’t say! From daughter to mother, parents to their children, sibling to sibling, husband to wife, lover to lover and friend to friend … all those important relationships that make up a life. It’s about the front we put on to the world and the expectations we have of others.
I read My Husband Next Door as part of The Real Reader programme.