A Perfect Husband


To their friends, Lily and Freddy have a great marriage. He taught her to love again after the death of her first husband. But when Freddy becomes tense and distracted, a life-changing truth is revealed.

Freddy has built up massive gambling debts that threaten to destroy not only his life but Lily’s as well.

Her friends and family urge her to forget him and move on – easier said than done. Is her willingness to give him a second chance just down to loyalty? Or is the truth something altogether darker?

This book is about the terrible knock-on effects on family and friends of addiction.  Hilary refers to three types. The one you can see: the drug/alcohol addict. The one you can’t: the gambler. And the person who is addicted to believing in the addict – the co-dependant.

No one grows up with the life-plan of being an addict. And for many it takes a lifetime to admit that they are. Freddy has got away with his gambling addiction, sort of. He’s charming and persuasive enough in his dealings with people that no one suspects he has a problem. Because gambling compulsively doesn’t show. It’s not like drugs or alcohol. A compulsive gambler doesn’t slur his words or stumble about, get violent and pass out. It only shows in his or her bank account, and the bank accounts of those he or she is closest to.

But Lily is also an addict. She’s addicted to Freddy. Even after she’s faced with financial ruin from her husband’s losses, she still loves him and wants him in her life. He’ll give it up, she tells herself.

Which is what everyone who is not an addict believes, when faced with an addiction that is ruining someone’s life. Why would anyone keep doing something so destructive?

It’s what Lily’s sister believes about her son, Kit, when he promises never to touch heroin again.

‘You can’t be in a relationship with an addict. It just destroys you,’ Hilary says. ‘I found this a hard book to write. Freddy turned out so charming and I really felt for him. Like Lily, I wanted to trust him, to believe he could turn his life around. In the end, he does begin to. I hope it works out for him!’

When Lily’s first husband dies she is left with teenage twins and a massive hole in her life…….until she meets Freddy. Freddy is a flamboyant character, full of charm, owner of a successful recording studio and he sweeps Lily off her feet, life couldn’t be better she sells her house and moves into his penthouse flat and gives him the money to invest for her.

Then Freddy starts to get snappy and irritated all the time….the honeymoon period is definitely over……..he starts staying out all night claiming business meetings and she starts to think that he is having an affair but it is worse he is addicted to gambling and the house of cards is about to collapse – the flat is rented, he owes money to loan sharks and he has gambled away all of her money

When the collapse finally happens Freddy runs off to Malta leaving Lily on her own to face the consequences and with no money left and no home she has to go and live with her sister in Oxford, the sister that has always resented her and her charmed life, but can she really let go and forget Freddy or is she just waiting for him to come back?

A great story really exploring the problems of addictions – Lily’s nephew is a drug addict and so her sister and brother-in-law both suffer with this and their different approaches to dealing with it – and although on the face of it gambling is not in the same league it can still cause as much disruption to the lives of those dealing with it

Sally Coles