The Husbands
Grade : A

Well, this is one heck of a fun read, but it’s also a poignant and wonderful one. The Husbands is a surreal, sprightly and delightful sci-fi-ish romcom that takes a look at what happens when one woman is beset by a bunch of possible futures – and future husbands.

Lauren Strickland comes home slightly buzzed from her best friend Elena’s hen party, and is alarmed to be confronted by a handsome man. He claims he’s her husband – and, more shockingly, all evidence, including the memories of her friends and the pictures in her house (which has now been transfigured) point to this being true. Then one day her husband goes into the attic to change a lightbulb… and comes down as an entirely different person.

It’s not just the husband in question who shifts each time he goes up into the attic – her life, her plans, her job, her ambitions, most of her friends, the décor, and the worlds of her sister and downstairs neighbors also shift in time with the attic’s mischief. At first, Lauren just trades up husbands rapidly in her quest to find a date for Elena’s wedding; but eventually she finds herself exchanging husbands on a whim, turning them out whenever they present the least bit of annoyance to her, or sometimes for no reason at all.

But then the possibility of love tempts Lauren. What can she do about the attic if she’s found it, and is this Mr. truly Mr. Right?

The Husbands is, of course, a metaphor for the deathless pursuit of sex and love, and it’s thought-provoking and touching, funny and wry. It covers every aspect of the romantic experience from every angle. If you don’t dive into the novel expecting a grand solution to the mystery set before Lauren, you’ll find yourself quite content to live beside her, even as her missish quest for the right man makes her seem unlovable. But that is the ultimate point.

The supporting characters are fantastic, my favorite being Bodhi, Lauren’s only confidant in the matter of the husbands. Every other character feels truly well-drawn - well, at least the ones we spend time with. This is a romance in love with the idea of finding the right ‘one’, rather than a story about a real romance – so don’t get attached to any of those husbands. I loved the London neighborhood the author plunges her into, and while I wanted to know much more about the magical system that keeps Lauren bound to the place, I was also content simply to let it happen and the mystery be. So many tones intermarry in this novel – there are horror and suspense elements, character study, romance, comedy and drama.

There is a great Shel Silverstein poem called Almost Perfect, which this story and Lauren’s quest for the perfect husband absolutely reminded me of. Her almost-but-not-quite journey through romance is compelling, shocking, funny, touching. The Husbands is one of the best novels of the year.

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : A
Book Type: Women's Fiction

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : April 2, 2024

Publication Date: 04/2024

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
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