The President’s Husband, Michael Murphy
Narrator: Randy Fuller
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Book Release Date: January 29, 2016
Audio Release Date: May 24, 2016
Book Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Audio Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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 about 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.
A story about an established couple, put through the paces of staying together through adversity, is always a large pull for me. Keeping trust alive, as well as love, is something I’m a sucker for. This story is all of that and so sad. Right from the beginning, I was sad and felt terrible for David. The feelings of sadness, depression, loneliness, and hurt really come through in the words, but not so much because of the audio. I think that if I’d read this book on it’s own, I’d have enjoyed it more.
The story, while some parts seemed a little far-fetched even for the life of the First Family, was not so much entertaining, but very compelling. There are a lot of elements that I’m sure any couple would have a hard time dealing with. The stresses of a politicians life must be insurmountable. The added elements of a medical emergency, forced separation, and loss of trust, my heart was breaking. Not just for David, but mostly. Through my day job, and all the knowledge of what happens in an actual emergency to public health, I had a hard time coping with the realizations that were assumed, the “protocol” that was instigated. But, as I tried to look past all the inconsistencies of how an actual public health emergency is handled, the experience I have in actual government operations, the truths of this story are all still the same.
The narration of the story is where I was let down the most. While parts were okay, others were not so much. I failed to feel the depth of emotion that the words of the book were giving me. As the narrator spoke, I felt like I was in a documentary, rather than a romance novel. I need to hear the little inflections of speech. The hitches of breath, the differences in tenor. All narration in between dialogue felt like I was being read a newscast. The dialogue was better, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I’d hoped. There were moments… but they were too few and far between. I think I just needed to hear David in my ears, like I heard him in my head. I needed to hear passion in his voice, hear the anger and the hurt. Because seriously, the guy was seriously hurting.
This is the first time I’ve attempted reviewing an audio book. It’s harder than I thought it would be, separating out what I feel in my heart, with the practical parts of my brain. In the end, this story has a lot of amazing elements. Keeping a relationship strong, working through issues and keeping that trust and love alive is a difficult thing. All the feelings that the words gave me meant something to me, so I’ll take it.
In a world of so many things, how do you settle on just a few? All my life I’ve been interested in everything around me, wanting to see new places, meet new people, tell new stories. Writing has been the culmination of a long term dream. Being a part of the Dreamspinner family is priceless beyond compare.
My partner and I have traveled the world, trying to see as much as possible. When not traveling, we live in Washington, DC with our best friend, a throw-away dog we adopted twelve years ago. While I’d rather be writing full-time, I haven’t figured out how to make that a viable option – yet.
You can find Michael online at his Goodreads page. (As of the time this review was published, Michael’s website was hacked and unavailable.)
You can purchase The President’s Husband from:
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.