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The Husbands by Holly Gramazio
Literary fiction

The Husbands

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Holly Gramazio, on your first book!

by Holly Gramazio

Excellent choice

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Quick take

Not satisfied with your current husband? Just direct him back up to the attic; we’ll send down a nice replacement ASAP.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LightRead

    Light read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LGBTQ

    LGBTQ+ themes

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky

    Quirky

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SalaciousPeach

    Salacious

Synopsis

When Lauren returns home to her flat in London late one night, she is greeted at the door by her husband, Michael. There’s only one problem—she’s not married. She’s never seen this man before in her life. But according to her friends, her much-improved decor, and the photos on her phone, they’ve been together for years.

As Lauren tries to puzzle out how she could be married to someone she can’t remember meeting, Michael goes to the attic to change a lightbulb and abruptly disappears. In his place, a new man emerges, and a new, slightly altered life re-forms around her. Realizing that her attic is creating an infinite supply of husbands, Lauren confronts the question: If swapping lives is as easy as changing a lightbulb, how do you know you’ve taken the right path? When do you stop trying to do better and start actually living?

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Husbands.
The Husbands

CHAPTER 1

The man is tall and has dark tousled hair, and when she gets back quite late from Elena’s hen do, she finds him waiting on the landing at the top of the stairs.

She yelps and steps backwards. “What—” she starts, then tries again. “Who are you?”

He sighs. “Fun night?”

Carpeted steps lead up to the man and the dim landing. This is definitely the right flat, isn’t it? It must be: her key worked. She’s drunk, but she’s not drunk enough to commit breaking and entering by accident. She steps back again, and feels for the light switch, keeping her eyes on the stranger.

She finds it. In the sudden glare, everything is as it should be: the angle of the steps, the cream of the walls, even the switch under her fingers, a moment’s resistance then click. Everything except him.

“Lauren,” he says. “Come on. Come up and I’ll make you some tea.”

He knows her name. Is he—no, it’s been months since she had that guy round, and he was blond, he had a beard, this isn’t him. A burglar? How would a burglar know her name?

“If you leave,” she says, “I won’t report this.” She will absolutely report this. She reaches behind to the door handle, and tries to turn it, which takes a lot of fiddling but she isn’t going to look away, especially not now that—oh god—he’s coming down the stairs. She backs out of her flat and into the hall, takes careful steps until she’s grappling with the front door until that pushes open too, warm summer air thick behind her. Out through the spatter of irregular raindrops—but not so far that she can’t still see him.

He’s crossing the hall, then he’s outlined in the doorway, bright light behind him.

“Lauren,” the man says, “what are you doing?”

“I’m calling the police,” she says, digging in her bag for her phone, hoping it has battery left.

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Why I love it

Have you ever wondered what the adult version of the Monsters Inc. door factory might be like? Well, Holly Gramazio has cleverly painted the perfect picture in The Husbands, a scintillating novel about the perils of endless possibilities.

After a night out in London, Lauren comes home to her apartment and her husband. Oh, one small caveat: she’s not married. This man, her friends, and the photos on her phone, however, would beg to differ. While she attempts to work through this bewildering situation, her husband—whom she does not remember meeting or marrying—goes into the attic to change a lightbulb. But when he’s done, it is an entirely new man that comes down the ladder.

She soon learns that the attic is producing new husbands for her, different men that present different relationships and lives she could have. But how does one choose to stay with someone when The One might just be another attic husband away?

Pick up Holly Gramazio’s brilliant debut, packed full of humor and husbands. It may not produce a new partner for you, but it will make you laugh and rethink all your past relationships, and it offers a fresh perspective on the heady, upside-down logic of modern life!

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