The Husband Habit

The Husband Habit

by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

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Why does Vanessa keep falling for married men?

Not that she knows she does. At least not at first. But every man who seems like he might be the one turns out to be someone else's. So maybe the right thing to do is take a vow to stay single, to keep away from all men, until she can figure things out.

At least work is a bright spot: It's an anchor to be so good at something, to lose yourself in your job, and Vanessa is a whiz of a chef, so good she makes her grandstanding boss, Hawk—of Albuquerque's chic Nuevo American restaurant hawk—look good. After all, it's his name on the awning above the door. If only her friends and family would get on board with Vanessa's plan and stop trying to fix her up. If she can't fix her life, nobody else is going to get the chance to try—not her parents, not her friends, and certainly not her ultra-well-meaning but just-not-getting-it sister, Larissa.

And nothing could be more with the plan than helping out at her parents' house—gardening, keeping them fed, getting them organized with her loyal pet Red Dog by her side. Red Dog is all the companionship she needs. Until Vanessa meets Paul, her parents' neighbor—he's all wrong on paper, but he's got great manners and certainly seems safe. Not bad in the kissing department, either. But just when Vanessa's guard goes down, the red flag goes up: Could Paul be yet another married man?

Bursting with Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez's trademark wit and originality, The Husband Habit introduces a rich and complex heroine in chef Vanessa. You're not going to want to leave her world when the novel comes to an end.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429984751
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 07/07/2009
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
File size: 299 KB

About the Author

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is an award-winning journalist who is the author of five novels. She was named one of today's twenty-five most influential Hispanics by Time magazine. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and son.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist and a former staff writer for both the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe. She is the bestselling author of The Dirty Girls Social Club and Playing with Boys.

Read an Excerpt



April. Spring. Hope in the air. Vanessa Duran in the air, too. The plane's wheels touch down in darkness of night, and though our heroine is no longer superheroing through the blue-black sky, she has brought the Eternal Hope of Love down out of its chilly heights with her — along with her inexpensive carry-on bag and an expectant box of condoms.

Off she goes, a propitious spring to her step, into the cool and sterile quiet of the Philadelphia International Airport. She has come here for a man, but first she must locate a bathroom. Grooming issues are likely to have come up on the tedious, bumpy flight from New Mexico. Interminable, really. Interminable and cramped, with all that noise and all those constant thoughts of the plane falling to the earth, the sort of thoughts creative types are given to entertain in such moments. At any rate, rumpling is inevitable with hours spent crushed in a tiny seat against a cold oval window, with smoothing imperative at this point. Smoothing of fabric, skin, hair, disposition. Perhaps, Vanessa hopes, there will from this trip come a smoothing of her own turbulent love life.

Not tall, not short, she walks from the Jetway into a corridor that during the day must be under construction, but which now seems to be a mess of drywall and cement bags. Her heart falls a bit. She accepts the metaphor when it presents itself from the universe, her life having always somewhat echoed those details within it. Vanessa has little use for horoscopes, because life, and, in particular, her garden, offers her clues at every turn. This is no garden, she tells herself. No scent of earth and growing things here. In her excellent nose, the hard gray aroma of new cement.

She follows the more practical signs next, finds the one with the cutout figure of a woman in a skirt, meaning "women's room." She wears jeans. She wonders why bathrooms are still segregated. She wonders if there are actually women among us who wear triangular skirts of this type. She begins to think about the many false ways the world tries to make women different from men — the artificially smooth legs, the artificially pink cheeks, the artificially doe-eyed lashes. Her insides begin to rumple from this, so she suggests to herself, recalling the words of her sister, Larissa, that she stop overthinking everything and try to just be. And in just being, be happy. Larissa's advice — Larissa being older, wiser. Larissa, who is happy and would never fly cross-country to meet a man she'd found on the Internet. Oooohm. Deep, cleansing breath. Shoulders up and back, belly in, yoga back, yoga neck, long and graceful. That's better. It will all turn out just fine.

Vanessa, mind clear as a drink of water, steps into the bathroom, gets slapped in the forcibly peaceful face by the foul hand of fetidness. Like a woolly mammoth took a dump in here, and died promptly after. Metaphor, dear universe? She takes the symbolism and twists it through her body. Bad things coming. Cement. Excrement. Experiment. Disillusionment. Wonders what is meant. Wonders what she has gotten herself into. Wonders why hope, of all things, has, so far, smelled so rancid. Reminds herself to stop. Stop. Overthinking. Every. Little. Thing. Jesus. Walks across the curiously wet and rotted tiles of the bathroom floor, hopes the eau du dead mammoth will not stick to her shoes like toilet paper.

She stops at the long bathroom mirror over the bank of sinks, looks at her reflection. Horrified to find that the front of her rust-colored silk blouse is dotted with grease spots, as though some distracted fishwife had run into her with a fistful of offal as she fled the king. How did she get so stained? Then she remembers. It's her own fault, of course it is. Butter.

Curses to the homemade butter scone she had brought on the plane with her, a terrible choice for a woman in a silk shirt. Curses to her palate and its inability to tolerate the chalky mouth paste of airline peanuts. Curses to silk shirts, which she never wears and which she was talked into borrowing from her best friend, Hazel. You might think that the name Hazel is enough to sway you away from any of said person's suggestions, but this particular Hazel is as pretty and fashionable as her name is not, and, well. Vanessa was in a low place, susceptible to suggestion. If it had been left up to her alone, she would have worn a T-shirt. The haircut, neither long nor short, and the dark brown dye job were also Hazel's idea, Hazel having long been opposed to Vanessa's lack of concern for the army of grays determined to colonize her head.

Vanessa is horrified, upon looking more closely at her reflection, to find that she has also sweated dark wet spots into the armpits of the silk shirt.

Offal, offal, fishwife, damp. Gah. She's like an independent movie about the ancient English countryside, on PBS.

She glances around, looking for a solution. Spies the wall-mounted hand dryer, positions her body twistingly beneath it, so that her armpits face the blast of air, like brave and slippery penguins against the Arctic wind. Only this wind is hot, which serves mostly to make her sweat more. Curses to nerves. Curses to humid cities. Curses to stinky bathrooms and low-hung hand dryers. Curses to love and all its variety of humiliations.

An old woman shuffles from the handicap stall to the sink in shoes like chunks of chocolate, ogles Vanessa up and down. Vanessa tries to look natural as she cooks her pits.

"Sweat," offers Vanessa, with a mock-exasperated roll of her eyes that she hopes will breed sisterhood across the generations. "Humid here in Philly!"

"Disgusting," creaks the crone.

Vanessa does not know whether this single word, spat at her with the venom of the ages, is intended for her, Vanessa, or for the concept of humidity, or for the city of brotherly love itself.

"Yes, well, have a good evening," replies Vanessa, as the hag shuffles out without washing her hands.

Pit stop complete, Vanessa sets off down the concourse in her awkward heels, something of a fake reptile skin to them. Hazel's shoes, of course. Vanessa feeling a fool. She doesn't wear heels as a rule.

No self-respecting chef wears heels. Not unless she wants to destroy her back, or unless, say, she is hoping to impress a strange man in a strange city — a man who, from his online dating site profile, appears to prefer overtly feminine women. Back in Albuquerque, looking at his delicious smile in the online photos, Vanessa thought she could feminize herself just a bit. A little lipstick never killed anyone, even if it does destroy the taste of whatever you drink or eat while wearing it. Gah, a million times gah. Ludicrous, this whole arrangement. She doesn't know how long she can keep this frilly illusion up. Maybe a week. She has no idea how other women do it. Maybe she'll adjust. Maybe she should just go home now, and tend to her garden and her dog. No, no, no, she tells herself. Onward ho. Where, she wonders, has she placed her dignity? Ah, well. She totters on.

Darrius Colfax is waiting for her in front of the crowd outside the restricted gate area from which she emerges. She gasps at the sight of him, just a little, fast inhale. He is six feet tall and has a ruggedly handsome face, dotted now with just a manly trace of stubble. His blue eyes are smallish, but sparkle with intelligence and humor beneath the serious yet playful brow. Right, she thinks. That's why women do it. Maybe she could keep the illusion up indefinitely.

Unlike so many less fortunate men his age, Darrius is blessed with a full head of hair, dark hair in his case, cut rather short but with enough length on top to look tousled and not at all militaristic. She mistrusts men who look like they belong in the military. It's the liberal in her, the pacifist, the child of New Mexico ex-hippies. She notices that he holds a book, which only serves to turn her on even more. It can be difficult, in a city like Albuquerque, to find single men who read for fun, and in public. Perhaps he has done it just for show, she thinks, before quickly banishing the thought from her mind. Think positively, she tells herself, and good things will come.

Darrius's well-formed mouth turns up on one side, into a grin, as if he is simultaneously pleased and amused by the sight of her, and he steps forward from the crowd, his shoulders broad but not overly so, and just a tiny hint of chest hair wisping in the V formed by his button-down shirt, beneath his excellent, masculine neck.

"Vanessa?" he mouths, from across the crowded room.

She nods, grins like a goof.

His answer is a smile, and arms held open for her. They have emailed for two months, sent instant messages in their downtime at work, she at the restaurant, he at his shipping-and-imports business.

She hurries to him in her ridiculous footwear, conscious of the sweat stains sprouting anew in her armpits. She hopes he doesn't notice. He takes her in his arms, and she falls against him, breathes him in as her hands feel the strength of his muscular back through the excellent fabric of the shirt. He smells good. This had worried her. It was, in fact, the only thing she really thought could, at this point, be a deal-breaker — if the man smelled bad, smell being a central sense for the professional chef. But there is no issue. If he were a wine, he would be a full-bodied, rustic red, a fine pinot noir, paired with a smoky duck breast.

In jeans, he is tanned and healthy-looking, like he's been chopping wood all afternoon or something, and when the lips part, his teeth sparkle with promise.

"Vanessa, Vanessa, Vanessa," he says in his sexy low rumble of a voice. He says her name as if he cannot believe she is finally here, kissing her neck, her chin, her lips, her cheeks. He speaks firmly, with control and conviction. A grown man. If she were a less independent woman, she would relax now. As it is, she remains ever watchful for the thing that will pop the bubble of her happiness.

He smiles at her when he's done, and again she sees a dazzling light of intelligence and humor in his eyes.

"Darrius," she whispers back, hissier than she'd like to sound, but he doesn't seem to notice. It's not easy to say "Darrius" without sounding like a snake with a lisp. And they kiss again. They stand like this, hugging and kissing like teenagers, and she notices a few among the crowd of people smiling at them in their happiness.

"Here," he says, grabbing her carry-on bag from her hands and tucking the book under his arm. She sneaks a look at the title. It is a Dickens novel, Bleak House. She swoons harder at this, of course. He is her soul mate, she is certain. She relaxes now, but just a little. In another incarnation, years ago, Vanessa was a Victorian-literature professor, back before she realized her true passion lay in cooking. Books are the second key to her heart, food and drink being the first. Darrius, the reading foodie. Gulp.

"How are you?" she asks him. "I forgot to ask you that."

"Aching for you now," he says, pulling her close again, with his free arm.

"So I pass the test?" she asks.

"Let's get to the hotel," he suggests. "I'll answer you there."

His black Mercedes is parked near the entrance to the parking garage, and he opens her door for her to get in before stuffing her bag in the trunk.

When he gets in, he hands her a bottle of port with a red ribbon around it. She stares in astonishment, for this is a brand and year she knows to cost upward of two thousand dollars a bottle. A port older than she is. A man with more to blow on a bottle of wine than she has in her checking account.

"Oh, Darrius," she cries, trying not to think of how this man might actually be able to finance the restaurant she has been wanting to open for years. "Thank you for this."

Darrius taps his temple, smiles that James Bond smile, and says, "The only catch is that you have to drink it with me tonight, my love."

She ignores his use of the corny phrase "my love," because it would be too devastating to begin hating him so soon.

The dark gray interior of the car is spotless, except for a photo of his two children that dangles from the rearview mirror. She has seen their photos before, in e-mail attachments. The teen boy is handsome like his father, though a bit fat, and the young girl is pretty in a mousy sort of way.

She stares at the children in the photo and wonders, again, if they will like her, because she has already stupidly allowed her mind to rush to that place where she imagines herself married to this man, stepmother to his children. In food, she is all about slow — grown slowly, cooked slowly, savored in the mouth. But in love, she has unfortunately been all about the sprint. That she is in her midthirties now does not help in the least. Tick, tick, tick. She would like children, and this man comes with them built-in.

Darrius settles in behind the wheel, leans to kiss her passionately once more before pulling out of the space. She watches as he produces a slick leather wallet, as he pays the parking attendant with crisp, clean cash. Vanessa's cash, when she has it, tends to be as rumpled and stained as her silk shirt, which she at the moment tries to conceal with arms folded across her chest. Larissa, Vanessa's sister, will be pleased to hear about how responsible and adult Darrius Colfax has turned out to be. Vanessa can hardly wait to tell her.

The lights of nighttime Philadelphia slide past outside the window, and Darrius, with a calm, loving expression on his face, takes her hand and kisses it gently. They talk, catch up, make each other laugh. Lovely. Already, Vanessa imagines moving to this city and, with Darrius's help, opening the restaurant. Lovely indeed.

Soon, Darrius turns the Mercedes into the valet area for the luxurious Rittenhouse Hotel. Vanessa looks at the bronze sculpture of the free-spirited woman sprouting up out from a fountain in the flowerbed to their left, and she takes a deep breath. Metaphor come to her here, now. Yes.

Darrius leaves the car with the valet, and together, looking every bit the normal couple in love, they begin to walk toward the revolving door of the stately old hotel.

In short order, however, they are stopped by the sound of a car horn bleating in close proximity, and the sickening crunch of metal on metal as a large white Lexus SUV comes barreling through the valet area and smashes with purpose into the back of Darrius's Mercedes, with the poor, surprised valet inside.

Vanessa gasps, which seems to be something she cannot stop doing on this trip, and watches as Darrius drops her hand (along with his jaw). The Lexus backs up, only to smash into his car again, leaving no doubt that the driver has intended this destruction.

Vanessa looks into Darrius's face, expecting him to look worried, or afraid, or stunned, any of the normal emotions (not that she is any great expert on normal emotions, she understands, but she can at least theorize about them). But he does not exhibit those feelings.

Rather, he looks angry, furious, really, in a way that reminds her of her own mother's tight-lipped rage — not that she is analyzing herself at this moment, though you are free to interpret her associations in any way you choose.

Darrius looks suddenly very cruel and cold. He makes direct eye contact with the obese but pretty woman behind the steering wheel of the Lexus. He seems to avoid the furious gaze of the chubby teenage boy seated next to her.

Vanessa recognizes the boy's face as being the same one that smiled at her from the rearview mirror all the way here from the airport.

In front of the hotel and on the sidewalk just beyond the sprouting statue of the liberated woman, people are screaming and shouting to one another to call the police. The valet has gotten out of the Mercedes and run to the side of the driveway with a couple of frantic glances over his shoulder at the commotion.

Smash, smash. The Lexus crashes again and again into the Mercedes.

"Darrius? What's going on?" Vanessa asks, as she watches the horrible Lexus come at the Mercedes again like an angry hornless bull.

"Oh, Jesus," says Darrius, slumping his shoulders just like the boy in the Lexus, shrinking into something less than confident. He covers his face with his hands.

Before she has time to say another word, the Lexus pulls back and rams the Mercedes yet again, jabbing it into the statue in front of the hotel and knocking the free-spirited woman off her feet. Of course. Metaphor, metaphor.


Excerpted from "The Husband Habit"
by .
Copyright © 2009 Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Husband Habit 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story starts off with Vanessa meeting a man for the first time ever after months of correspondence via online dating. After making a quick remark about the stick-figured woman on the bathroom door being sexually biased because of the triangle-shaped skirt (chill out, girl, it’s just a sign,) Vanessa goes into a frenzy trying to make herself look “good” for a stranger; and, when she does meet him, she gets a little too “friendly” and becomes naïve at the assurance that “he is her soul mate.” (pg. 8) Oh, please. It was only after a horrific scene with an angry ex-wife that Vanessa realizes that she’s developed “quite the husband habit.” (pg. 17) Part of me actually thought that she deserved what she got for being so fast with men; on the other hand, I couldn’t help but wonder if her intentions were truly genuine. One thing that bothered me about Vanessa was how adamant she’d be about taking things slow—gardening, cooking, biking, walking, and generally living—but, for some reason, she refused to do the same with men. The character also spent too much talking about her New Mexico house and her food. We get it, she loves them. Can we move on now? Overall, the writing reads as if you were being preached to. I didn’t feel like I was a part of the story, or even a spectator of it. At times, the author went off on a tangent to insert a personal commentary or opinion that had virtually nothing to do with the story. Also, there were a lot of fragments—too many words and phrases that were segregated from each other and stationed in their own sentence that made for some pretty tedious reading. Additionally, the POV was constantly changing. One minute, the story is being told in the third person, and the next, the first person takes over in the voice of Vanessa. I really wish the author would’ve kept this consistent. If you ask me, I think this book required more effort. I would’ve liked to have seen Vanessa in her dating journey and how she came to develop this “husband habit” just so I could’ve known her better. Maybe if I’d gotten to know her better, I would’ve cared more for Vanessa and the rest of the cast instead of thinking that they all could’ve used more renditions of clearly drawn attributes. The best part about this book was chapter one, where the reader becomes introduced to Vanessa’s “husband habit,” even though the history of it was never specified. In conclusion, this was just a boring and disappointing book that I had higher hopes for.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is no question the book is well written and the author is literate. I still did not like the book. The "heroine" was snobby and self-entitled just because she grew her own garden and could cook. She was judgmental because the character meant to be her male counterpart in the book wasn't in the right attire/background at their initial meeting or had the right bumper sticker on his truck. The way she blanketed a snap judgment over him (REPEATEDLY throughout the book) just because he had served in the military was annoying. I'm sorry, I was unaware that the people serving our country had joined simply because they wanted oil. Of COURSE there are things that were NOT immediately revealed to them regarding missions they are assigned to. It was frustrating the way she repeatedly harped on people who were in the military. It was ignorant to blanket a judgment like that regarding anyone's reason for enlisting. It was offensive and annoying. The banter flailed, and I couldn't ascertain how some of Vanessa's remarks were described as witty enough to impress anyone. The unnecessary drama at the end of book just made the book all that more infuriating. She's supposedly in love with this guy, and finds supposedly incriminating evidence about a past relationship he had, and instead of confronting him or asking him about it like the adult she's supposed to be (you'd think if she was smart enough how to use the word neophyte - which I don't care about, but apparently, the character Vanessa does - she'd know what the phrase "act like an adult" means, and then DO it), she abruptly decides the relationship is over and goes home to sulk in her bathtub. There were some points the author made in the book that were truly enlightening, but there weren't enough of them to ever convince me to buy another one of her books again. I don't mind when romance books are predictable (because we're obviously not reading these books because we don't want to see people in love and happy at the end). But when drama is added JUST so there's drama, and idiotic lines like "There's nothing hotter than a messed-up soldier...." litter the book, and the character is a snob just because she has a developed vocabulary and is uptight enough that she has to coordinate a soundtrack based on what she's cooking overwhelm the book, that just equates to a huge waste of time and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is not badly writen but the content is terrible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave this book only 3 stars for a number of reasons. For one, jm not big on third person writing. Becasue of this, i think it lacked a few details in certain areas which annoyed me. Also this book speaks of a man who was in the air force. Clearly the author was against the war in iraq(as im sure we all were) but reading it in this book, somehow didnt feel right. I dont know how to explain it but it was just maybe a bit much on how against the military the charecters were. It was an okay read. It didnt really keep me intrested and at times i forgot that i had book to finish up. I wouldnt not reccomend this book but it wouldnt be one of the books on the top of my list either. I also thought the ending would have been a little longer or had a diffrent outcome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book.... the characters and the plot I stayed up all night just to finish it and when I got to the end was so upset that it was over... Cant wait for the next one :)
Chela74 More than 1 year ago
I wonder who was the inspiration for Paul's character because he sounds scrumptious! :D I love the author's tone in this book. It makes the characters seem like someone you could know without over exaggerating a chick lit. I could see this story on a made-for-TV movie or even an Indy movie. The book design is beautiful! Well worth the purchase. WTG Alisa! I would have loved to see an epilogue that included Vanessa's menu from her party. Maybe add it to the author's website? It's a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not crazy about focus on chief or the phoney fairy tale likeness of it
mustreet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this to be a quick, only OK, read. I've read a few of Valdes-Rodriquez's other books and this seemed like a much different kind of book for her. Not sure that I would really recommend this book to others, unless they were looking for a beach read.
fleurdiabolique on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(please be aware that this review contains spoilers)I initially thought I was not going to like this book. On the outside, it has all the trappings of mindless chick lit, from the title to the cover to the (weirdly inaccurate -- did the blurb writer actually READ the book?) blurb on the back. Then I opened the book and within moments was swept away. An epigraph from Dickens? And a less-known Dickens book at that? I was intrigued. And when I started reading... oh my god this woman's style is incredible. She has a poet's ear for language, both its sly double meanings and the ways words can sound beautiful if put in the right sequence. Combine that with a sly sense of humor and I was hooked. I was even more drawn in when it seemed that these characters were real people, with serious problems to work through.And then the whole thing went south. Honestly, it seemed to me as though the author got bored or pressured or rushed two-thirds through the book. The whole thing changed and became much less carefully structured. Major conflicts disappeared without a trace. (Whatever happened to the main character's major and well-founded problems with her parents? What happened with the jerky line chef working at "hawk" restaurant? What happened to the lead romantic interest's manipulative streak, which was honestly the most interesting part of his character? What happened to the PTSD symptoms it was implied he had in an early scene?) Details got confused. (Was the lead romantic interest an interrogator or a pilot?!) The plot became frankly unbelievable, with a truly ridiculous final twist and a resolution of equally ridiculous speed and ease. There had been INCREDIBLE eroticism in a scene where Paul was just feeding Vanessa peas in her garden, but by the time they actually have sex the author can't even give us the scene, instead giving us a list of cooking metaphors that I suppose was meant to be clever but really erases anything I might have found erotic. Having seen what this woman _can_ write when she inclined to write well, it was a huge letdown.Worse than these sudden changes in almost every element of the novel, I gradually grew to realize that the main character, who seems to be a strong, independent woman, really isn't. Even when she asserts her independence from her controlling sister, really she just transfers the control to other people in her life. We never see her take an action on her own. She is always reacting to, or acting because of, someone else. This leads to one of my greatest frustrations, which is that we never actually get to see her tell off her jerk of a boss. This is anticipated for a large portion of the book... and then, woah, well, we don't need to actually _see_ that, do we? Um, YES WE DO. This is pernicious in its subtlety. It actually is borderline offensive to me.But what really just wrecked the book for me is that Paul eventually becomes incomprehensible. The big scene where he takes the main character up in his plane and she realizes something amazing and incredible about him that changes her whole perspective? I'd love to know precisely what it is she realizes. I think we're supposed to know that. But whatever it is, I missed it both times I read the book. That's a key point in the novel, and if the reader doesn't follow it, all is pretty much lost. And indeed, from that scene onward I was increasingly unable to remain engaged with the book.The amazing writing style and the overall fluffiness of this book saved it enough for me to actually give it two and a half stars. I am largely so disappointed because the novel began with such promise. If only this book had sustained the initial tone and careful attention to characters, conflicts, and detail with which it had begun, rather than starting out seeming like something more serious/interesting and then abruptly devolving into mindless chick lit, it would have gotten four or five stars from me. I'd like to see the ending to the book that Valdes-Rodriguez st
aprilcamp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beware..... book with an agenda!!!! Regardless of your feelings on the war, Ms. Rodriguez rams hers down your throat in this book. Could have been a great little summer read. Instead its an anti-war book! Not what I was looking for.
bearette24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book at first. It was well-written, more so than her other novels. I was interested in Vanessa's career as a chef and the sensuous way she described food. Then she met Paul, a meathead from the military, who was initially not interesting at all. But it turns out there's more than meets the eye with him. I also liked that he admitted he was inarticulate - too many books have characters who all spout magic prose.
nevusmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An easy read, with likable characters. The descriptions of the food throughout the book certainly made me want to jump into the kitchen and try some experimenting on my own! Like other reviewers have stated, the story deals largely with learning to overcome prejudices. Part of the story deals with one of the character's experiences as an airman fighting in Iraq. A caveat: If you were in favor of the war, your hackles may go up, and you probably will not enjoy this book.
gypsywether on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received an advance uncorrected proof version of this book, So it is possible that the things I did not like are because of that. I found it very hard to get into this book as I started reading it. Just the way she worded her sentences felt wrong to me somehow. I admit I am not quite able to accurately say what it is that felt wrong, just that reading it was hard at first. i was constantly looking at sentences I had just read and thinking it seemed wrong somehow.After I forced my way through until she met and started to get ot know Paul it became easier. Either I got used to it or it got better, I'm not sure.This is a story worth reading, I thought it was a good story and not like anything I had read before that had similar descriptions. It is possible that ome people would be upset by the very strong anti-war sentiment, but I personally read it as being what some people Do believe, so why shouldn't we have a book with characters that believe this way as well?My overall opinion is that this is a good book. I am glad that I did manage to get myself through the first few chapters to where the story seems to really be worth it. If you like characters that are complicated, and have to learn that there is more than meets the eye and that life isn't simple, you would probably like this book.
irmgard06 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I started reading this book, it started out slow but then I was hooked. The main character Vanessa struggles with dating and finding suitable men. She has her own complex problems dealing with cheating boyfriends, work issues, and family problems. Vanessa as a character sometimes is a little to dull, but there are moments of light-heartedness that make you laugh with her because you understand where she is coming from. The romance of the book is between Vanessa and Paul. I love the relationship they have. The author does a beautiful job of bringing real issues to their relationship and showing the love, and conflict that they have with each other. You will cry at the end of the book when you read the ending. If you like books that relate to real events in our lives you will love this book.
freckled on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like Valdes-Rodriguez's previous books, The Husband Habit is focused around a strong, searching female character in her early thirties. This book varies from previous slick locations like Los Angeles, and portrays an earthier group of characters in Valdes' hometown of Albuquerque New Mexico.Vanessa's connection with an Iraqi war veteran and her search for career independence are somewhat captivating, though the most interesting character in the novel is Vanessa's garden. Stylistically, the prose is somewhat irritating, with groupings of staccato one word sentences used too liberally, almost on every page. The happily ever after ending is predictable, as are most of the character developments along the way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, hope she writes more. Cannot get enough
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love all her books
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