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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

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, Light_Read

    Light read

  • Illustrated icon, LGBTQ_themes

    LGBTQ+ themes

  • Illustrated icon, Quirky

    Quirky

  • Illustrated icon, Salacious

    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?

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!

Member ratings (8,453)

  • Katrina M.

    Astoria, NY

    Really enjoyed this one! It fits in well with my “time travel-ish” shelf — great for fans of “The Midnight Library” or This Time Tomorrow.” Unique concept, and I didn’t know how it was going to end.

  • Ashley C.

    Huntsville, AL

    Such a unique plot - honestly, I don’t know a woman that wouldn’t like to have the option of a magical attic to make a husband magically disappear from time to time. I thought it was just plain fun!❤️

  • Sarah H.

    East Sparta, OH

    I wasn’t expecting to get into this book but I loved it so much. I couldn’t stop listening and reading it. It’s one of those books I can clearly picture in my head. I was laughing, gasping and crying.

  • Carson G.

    Lakewood, CO

    So unique & interesting. Raised some fun questions for me—what would I do?—and went places I expected & even more places I didn’t. Strange & sweet & kind of heartbreaking. Gotta check my attic now…

  • Kaitlin N.

    New York, NY

    Fascinating thought experiment, very interesting take on being single in your thirties and your options. Not sure how I would handle Lauren’s situation, but I felt like I understood her choices. ❤️

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Literary fiction
View all
Real Americans
Wellness
Margo’s Got Money Troubles
Same As It Ever Was
Annie Bot
Mercury
True Biz
The Husbands
The Lady Waiting
The Other Valley
Hard by a Great Forest
Good Material
The Bullet Swallower
Alice Sadie Celine
Let Us Descend
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Banyan Moon
Shark Heart
Transcendent Kingdom
Hello Beautiful
Dominicana
What's Mine and Yours
The Unsettled
Ask Again, Yes
Vladimir
Infinite Country
The Prophets
Normal People
The Verifiers
Salvage the Bones
The Many Daughters of Afong Moy
I Have Some Questions for You
Black Buck
The History of Love
Age of Vice
Paper Names
The Light Pirate
The Secret History
The Kite Runner
Memorial
The Half Moon
Happiness Falls
The Gifted School
The Death of Vivek Oji
The Knockout Queen
Little Monsters
Yerba Buena
Beautiful World, Where Are You
Free Food for Millionaires
A Burning
The Mothers
The Water Dancer
Small Country
The Sympathizer
Fleishman Is in Trouble
Lot
An American Marriage
The Animators
The Leavers
The Mars Room
Exit West
The Windfall
White Fur
Woman No. 17
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Eat Only When You're Hungry
Rainbirds
A Ladder to the Sky
Golden Child
The Goldfinch
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P
& Sons
The Association of Small Bombs
Lolly Willowes
All Grown Up
Marlena
Signal Fires
Someday, Maybe
Woman of Light
Marrying the Ketchups
The Shards