Press and Media

Issue: September 25, 2009

Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever

By Judith Marshall

For readers, both male and female, who are pre-boomers, this novel will resonate at some level. Finally, a book inhabited by real folk, not the slick, hip boomers who Botox their way into retirement.
“Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever” won the Jack London Prize awarded by The California Writers Club. In the book, we meet Liz, a divorced mother of two adult children, as she experiences the downside of a company merger. The year is 2000 and the setting is generally Northern California and specifically, the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe. Concurrently, her longtime lover is offered a much-deserved promotion that would require a move to New York City. How does our heroine cope? She does it like most of us, with a little help from her friends. And there is the heart of Marshall’s story. Six women who have known each other since at least high school and some go back as far as grammar school. A friendship to be reckoned with.
Marshall has deftly crafted her story to fit within a one-month period, March-April. Flashbacks provide funny and poignant memories, not only about how the girls first meet and are drawn together but also important biographical information that distinguishes each character. And that is the great strength of Marshall’s story. Not once does a reader mix up the friends, which occurs more often than not in most novels of this kind. But Marshall’s women stand out as individuals, and as the storyline begins to center around the sudden death of one of the friends, we are seamlessly drawn into the events.

I will not give the plot away. Obviously this is not a story wherein a protagonist is going to mature. After all, these women are all in their late fifties. Then again, there is room for growth, which is heartening. And trust me, there is a lot of room for laughter. Marshall’s description of a near surreal Tupperware-like party is pretty darned funny and all matters sexual (both adolescent and adult) are treated with great honesty.

Marshall’s depiction of a much earlier Lake Tahoe rings true for those of us who remember the all-day drive from the Bay Area to the Lake. Her handling of what would eventually be known as dysfunctional families is also spot-on. These women did not have the vocabulary or resources their own children would have. They slogged their way through divorce, alcoholism, infidelity, spousal abuse or any other aberrant behavior by trial and error, often leaving them with painful memories that would never fade.

Karen, the friend who died, had a vacation home at Lake Tahoe and it is there where the women meet again. It is there that long-held secrets are revealed, that ex-husbands and lovers come to mourn and adult children return to support their parents.

The novel is told in Liz’s voice and it is definitely her story, but the group of six women almost becomes a character in itself. You will recognize at least a few of the women and possibly yourself, as well. Learning to accept one another, willingly or not, is a key to the longevity of their friendship. And in answer to the question asked in the Beatles’ great song, “When I’m Sixty-four,” yeah, I think at least some of these women will still find themselves loveable.


Sunny Solomon holds a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.  She is a poet and published author.  Email her with questions or comments at


The following is a recent list of links to interviews and reviews for Husbands:

July 2, 2012 – Fast Five Interview by Gail M. Baugneit

June 28, 2012 – Morgen’s Author Interviews.  This is a repost of an interview I did with Morgan Bailey of the U.K.  in September of 2011.

June 22, 2012 – Growing Great Writers from the Ground Up – An interview by author, writer and speaker Martha Engber on how I got my screen option.

Amazon’s U.K. website has three five-star reviews posted so far.

Amazon’s U.S. website has forty-nine five-star reviews posted so far.