Husband Material by Alexis Hall (London Calling #2)


One (very real) husband

Nowhere near perfect but desperately trying his best.

In Boyfriend Material, Luc and Oliver met, pretended to fall in love, fell in love for real, dealt with heartbreak and disappointment and family and friends…and somehow figured out a way to make it work. Now it seems like everyone around them is getting married, and Luc’s feeling the social pressure to propose. But it’ll take more than four weddings, a funeral, and a bowl full of special curry to get these two from I don’t know what I’m doing to I do. Good thing Oliver is such perfect Husband Material.

CONTRIBUTOR(S): Joe Jameson (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Dreamscape Media
YEAR: 2022
LENGTH: 422 pages (13 hours 35 minutes)
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Contemporary, Romance

Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s), Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Bi/Pan Secondary Character(s), Trans Secondary Character(s), Closeted Secondary Character(s).

HUSBAND MATERIAL, the sequel to BOYFRIEND MATERIAL, shows Oliver and Luc two years onwards, surrounded by friends who are tying the knot. They start to feel like they should get married too, but it's hard to figure out a ceremony which will represent both of them. Oliver doesn't feel connected to what Luc thinks of as "queer culture" and Oliver perceives as encroaching Americanisms. Luc's dad is as disappointing as always, his mom is very strange but supportive, and Oliver's parents are frustrating and controlling. Things are getting tense and they don't know how they'll hold it together under all this pressure. Bridget and Tom are getting married, and Luc's shitbag ex-boyfriend has invited him to his wedding, for some reason. Those are just the first of several weddings around them, all between very different people with vastly different goals for their lives. It makes it hard for Luc and Oliver to figure out what they want for themselves, especially for an event which at times feels like it's for everyone else. 

I especially like how this deals with grief, and the complex emotions of losing someone who has been a major force in one's life, especially when they've mostly been a negative influence. Someone can be terrible and important, and that's often hard to deal with. The shape of their absence can leave an enormous wound, even if their presence was slow suffering. 

HUSBAND MATERIAL could kind of make sense for someone who hadn't read BOYFRIEND MATERIAL, but the emotional roller coaster of the first book means that a lot of processing and establishing of various relationship dynamics took place in BOYFRIEND MATERIAL, with the characters moving forward here after a time jump and a new status quo to be disrupted by all these weddings. 

I like the ending, it fits Oliver and Luc as individuals and as a couple. They are figuring out their relationship, not anyone else's, but it takes a while for them to understand what they actually want from the socially proscribed steps and ceremonies on the relationship escalator. 

If you like this you may like:

  • WE ARE TOTALLY NORMAL by Naomi Kanakia (similar vibes, but YA)
  • OCEAN'S ECHO by Everina Maxwell (faking a mind meld)
  • 10 THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPENED by Alexis Hall (faking amnesia)

Graphic/Explicit CW for classism.

Moderate CW for cursing, homophobia, grief, abandonment, infidelity, parental death, death.

Minor CW for body shaming, fatphobia, transphobia, eating disorder, toxic relationship, body horror, excrement, eugenics.

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Two white men in suits, one with black hair leaning suggestively with his jacket open, bowtie undone, and shirt partially untucked, the other is blonde, standing up straight and adjusting his tie. His dark grey vest complements his black dress shirt and pants. The background is filled with red, white, and blue icons, implying London and weddings.


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