Ooooooh … a new Samantha Hayes book! And it’s as much of a roller-coaster ride as you’d expect from the Thriller Queen!
Leah is finally free of her manipulative, controlling husband Craig. She’s moved into her new home with her two children, Zoey and Harry (Sprat), and her priority now is to keep them secure, happy and safe. She knows the house is small, and it’s a real ‘fixer-upper’ but she’s excited at the prospect of getting stuck in and making it theirs. She’s determined to make a go of things.
Her new home is attached to a much grander house, and the two were once part of the same property but have now been divided into two dwellings. The original neighbours who had been there when Leah moved in were lovely and they’d all quickly become friends, but then they’d moved rather suddenly and now Leah’s excited to see who’s moving in next door. She meets Gillian, her new neighbour, who’s rather posh, and basically the complete opposite of Leah! But she’s quick to invite Leah in and give her a walk-around, showing her how quickly she’s settled in. Leah’s amazed that everything has already been unpacked and perfectly stored and Gillian blithely tells her that she got in a company to do all that. Such luxuries that Leah could only dream of – she still has loads of boxes to unpack and they’ve been in their house for a few months now.
Gillian can’t wait for Leah to meet her partner Rex (who she lovingly calls ‘Rexie’) who’s away on a business trip. She assumes that Leah is married and Leah doesn’t correct her, so when Gillian hears that Rex will be home early from his trip she can’t wait to invite Leah and ‘husband’ over for a meet-up. Thankfully Leah is actually seeing someone: the very lovely Gabe, who she hasn’t yet introduced to her children as she’s being careful and taking things slowly. Strangely enough though, when they arrive next door, Gillian says she’s sent Rex out to find her maraschino cherries (of all things!) and he’s gone for what seems a ridiculously long time! When he finally returns, Leah’s senses are on high alert. She happens to walk into the room and he has his back to her … a back that looks very familiar. Which is not surprising, when ‘Rex’ turns out to be her ex-husband, Craig!
How has this happened? How did he find her? She was so careful to ensure he had no way of finding out where they’d moved to. But it seems that’s exactly what he’s done. Leah has no doubt that Craig’s move is absolutely deliberate, and that he’ll stop at nothing to make her life as difficult and uncomfortable as possible. He certainly goes out of his way to prove her right and doesn’t seem to have changed at all since those awful years she stayed with him, ending in a bitter divorce and Leah’s desperation to get as far away from him as possible. But moving again isn’t an option – she just doesn’t have the money. So what is she going to do and how is she going to prove to the world that Craig isn’t the wonderful person he’d have everyone believe that he is?
Samantha Hayes has succeeded in creating what much be one of the most vile characters ever written! Craig is a despicable narcissist of the highest level and I have no doubt that he’ll provoke the strongest of emotions in every single reader who comes across him! Although I understood where Leah had come from and what she was trying to escape, I did get a bit irritated by her description of her home when she first met Gillian: she belittled it to such an extent that it was almost like she was going out of her way to be subservient to this woman who she’d barely met, almost personifying her home and putting it in the inferior position that she felt she was in. This was the home she claimed to love and that was going to be her sanctuary!
Overall though, this is a great 4-star read, written in a way that makes you suspect every single character, even those with nothing to hide! You just become convinced that everyone must have an ulterior motive!
Thank you to Bookouture for the tour. Follow along to see what these bloggers are saying about The Ex-Husband…
Samantha Hayes grew up in a creative family where her love of writing began as a child. Samantha has written eight thrillers in total, including the bestselling Until You’re Mine. The Independent said “fantastically written and very tense” while Good Housekeeping said “Her believable psychological thrillers are completely gripping.” Samantha’s books are published in 22 languages at the last count.
When not writing, Samantha loves to cook, go to the gym, see friends and drink nice wine. She is also studying for a degree in psychotherapy. She has three grown-up children and lives in Warwickshire.
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