In Husband, Lover, Stranger a story all about passion, passion for food, for love, for power, for sex, for domination, for revenge and for wealth, a story painted and told in earth colors, shades of brown for stability, home and safety, but also for mud, as in corruption and hidden truths, for the richness of soil, like nourishment for the soul, for sand, shifting and drifting such as beliefs and perceptions, easy to be blown away, swept away and hard to reclaim, Sophie Weston has to face her fears, insecurities and passions when her believed dead husband Jay Babcock, returns on the eve of her upcoming wedding.
Having found a sense of self and independence Sophie now finds herself back with a husband which reminds her of a past best forgotten. A husband who tempts her with a future painful in its intensity and uncertainty, but full of things she'd always desired and wished for.
Drawn to Jay but afraid, Sophie Weston struggles in her affection for him. Jay is a virtual stranger after five years of disappearance and he is wanting to claim her and his family's company, his rightful inheritance. He is a man that might be more and less than she expects and wants, a man that claims to be her husband who wants her as his lover but acts like a stranger.
Nothing seems to be safe, stable or real and falling in love again, this time with the knowledge and soul of a mature woman, of a woman that won't settle for being second in her love's attention. Sophie has to show strength in character, willpower and trust in her own emotions and instincts.
Interesting to see is Suzanne Forster's use of water in all its forms and occurrences throughout the story. Bringing to mind images of cleansing the soul, of washing away sins, of sensuality simmering only to boil over and burn.
I was actually disappointed at one point of how the story was progressing, a situation that changed to fascination on how Suzanne Forster unraveled the mystery towards the end.
Gripping suspense, riveting, and holding up successfully, creeping up to the reader, slow but steady rising towards a disturbing climax with a sexual tension that seems tangible. The secondary characters as well drawn as the hero and heroine make Husband, Lover, Stranger a read well worth indulging in.