Book Reviews

The President's Husband by Michael Murphy

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Doctors/Nurses/EMTs/Vets / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 11-January-2021

Book Blurb

When an assassin’s bullet strikes his predecessor, Grayson Alexander becomes the first openly gay President of the United States and his husband, David Hammond, becomes the first openly gay First Husband. With their world turned upside down, David relies on his career as a medical school professor and ER doctor to keep him grounded. But his decision to keep working ruffles feathers from day one.

Gray throws himself into learning everything he needs to know to be President, especially a liberal president surrounded by a conservative cabinet and staff. Even though he puts in outrageous hours working and traveling seven days a week month after month, he’s happy. But David has trouble coping with Gray’s new job requirements. He can’t help but feel abandoned by his husband of ten years.

When Gray asks for his help with a public health crisis, David obliges, but he is furious by what happens once the emergency passes. When they learn that the President's staff has manipulated them both, they wonder if their relationship can survive the White House.

 

 

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, January 2016.

 

Book Review

'The President's Husband' is set in the near future and starts with a bang - no less than the assassination of a just-elected president of the United States. It doesn’t let up as the consequences of that heinous act on the vice president, Gray, and his husband, David, dawn on them in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. Different from what you might expect, this novel does not look at the political consequences, nor the hunt for the perpetrator. There is some initial scrambling as Gray, totally unprepared to be president, figures out what to do and how to deal with a situation he never wanted. Gray being who he is, he quickly finds his feet, and David supports him but doesn’t get involved.

What happens over the weeks and months that follow is nothing less than the slow and painful disintegration of a marriage as Gray and David’s partnership buckles under the pressure of living in the White House, Gray’s workaholic tendencies, and David’s unwillingness to give up his life and his job as a medical doctor. The tension is high at all times, and I was glued to the pages as the situation goes from bad to worse. David never stops loving Gray, despite what he goes through, but that love is very clearly not enough in their case. In fact it only makes everything worse, and not even small interludes of seeming recovery like their first international trip for a state visit to the United Kingdom can stop the disaster from unfolding.

David is the one who tells the story, and his perspective of things pulled me in from the very beginning. Anyone going for elected office has my condolences. In that respect, I was able to empathize completely with David. He is simply not interested in politics but wholeheartedly supports Gray’s need to make the world a better place. I admired him for his patience as he watches Gray overworking himself, and they stop eating together, then hardly even share a bed any longer. David keeps trying, but when he jumps in to help with an outbreak that threatens the nation and Gray breaks his trust in a spectacularly mind-boggling way, David reaches the end of his epic patience. He has to protect himself from further pain, and he can no longer believe a word Gray says. Even then he remains comparatively calm and rational, and that may be the only reason the door to a shared future with Gray, while being tightly closed for the moment, at least remains unlocked.

This novel floored me. The characters of Gray and David, as well as their relationship, are complex, multi-layered and fascinating. The secondary characters, both supporters and adversaries, are believable and so utterly real I was ready to strangle more than one of them. The plot is deceivingly simple, with David and Gray facing enormous pressure to the point where their marriage threatens to break, but the devil, as they say, is in the detail. In fact it is in the way David deals with the situation as much as in the actual events that cause both men such heartache. I have rarely doubted the possibility of a happy ending as much as in this case!

If you like character-driven stories, if an established relationship facing the challenge of a lifetime is your thing, and if you’re looking for a read that is a psychological thriller of outstanding quality and depth, then you will probably like this novel as much as I did. It’s going straight on the reread pile because I am sure I missed some of the well-designed details in my first rush to find out what’s next. ‘The President’s Husband’, for me, is one of those books that will only get better with each reading. Brilliant!

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 245 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 04-January-2021
Price $3.49 ebook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Husband-Michael-Murphy-ebook/dp/B08S4C35JT