Friday, May 31, 2024

The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

Rating: 3 of 5 stars 
Pages: 352 pages
Published: April 2024

I first learned about The Husbands by Holly Gramazio via the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club's Spring 2024 Book Preview, then the club chose the book as its June selection. The premise seemed intriguing and fun, so I ordered and copy and dug in so I could finish it in time to engage in the forums and listen to the upcoming author talk. 

One night, Lauren, the main character, comes home from a girl's night out and finds a man coming down from her attic who purports to be her husband. This seems innocent enough except she's never been, nor is currently, married. She's never seen this man before, and everyone in her life knows him as her husband. From there, Lauren learns that she can generate a new husband, and thus a new life, by sending the existing husband back into the attic for a random, made-up task. 

I was sorely disappointed. 

I shouldn't have gone into this book with any expectations, but I did. I thought Lauren would have experienced a handful of husbands and I, as the reader, would learn more about them and their respective relationships with her. Unfortunately, Lauren used the attic as a revolving door to overly judge and pick apart just about every husband we meet in depth. By the middle of the book, she's had over 100 husbands, but the reader has only gotten to know a fraction of them and sometimes for only a few paragraphs. The only character really featured in this book is the main one, and she's not very likable. By the midway point, I just wanted to quit because I didn't care whether she found her soulmate or not, but I preserved hoping that it would get better and so that I would have a richer experience in book club. 

It didn't get better. 

I think the problem with this book is there was no set-up for Lauren, the inciting action literally takes place on page 1. There's no build-up, no development. And from there Lauren's interactions with her husbands, friends, and family are largely superficial. I don't really feel like I got to know any of the other characters with the exception of Bohai, and he's largely a secondary character for Lauren's using to avoid potential plot holes. (And speaking of plot holes, since she was regenerating lives, like a video game, why didn't she just purchase her own air rifle? That one really bugged me.) There was just nothing to root for in this story. It was simply Lauren never ever being satisfied with her life, which, honestly, is kind of sad. 

Recommendation: Neat premise; poor execution. If the author chooses to write again, I think she could benefit from some better editing and beta readers. Overall, the plot seemed to be somewhat of a game, which makes sense because Gramazio is a game designer, even creating an interactive husband generator game on her website to promote the book. In terms of recommending this book, it's gonna be a no for me. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.


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