The Exes by Jane Lythell
When Holly is bequeathed a large but derelict house, she wants to share her good fortune. So she gets in touch with former boyfriend Ray, a builder who can project-manage the renovation in exchange for the basement flat. The spacious middle floor would make a glorious studio space—perfect for her friend and first love, Spencer. And before Holly knows it, the upper floor is let to soon-to-be ex-husband James, who’s on a path of reinvention from city highflyer to osteopath. What could possibly go wrong?
But no good deed goes unpunished, and soon the house is riddled with tension, rivalry, and petty spitefulness. And as Holly is beset with migraines, nausea and spiralling self-doubt, even the house itself seems to be turning against her. But for someone, everything is going to plan . . .
Over the years, I have read a number of books by Jane Lythell and I have really enjoyed reading all of them Jane has also had one of her books made into a film in the USA. How delighted I was to receive a copy of Jane’s latest book The Exes (Bloodhound Books) that has recently been released and it is one of those books that you just cannot leave alone.
What an opening to The Exes and this really is how to pull in a reader from the very start, no spoilers from me but just take my word for it. The story follows the main character Holly as she has been bequeathed Penumbra House situated in Brighton from her aunt Lillian and the house does need a lot of work to make it into her dream home. The house has a large garden at the back that also needs a lot of work to hack down the brambles and weeds, at the bottom of the garden there is a tree. Do you take it down or cut it back? What Holly does decide to do is to invite some of her former boyfriends to move in and so long as they pay rent, it also helps that one is just really good at renovation and this will become a project to get the house fixed up and that includes the leaky roof as the rain pours in.
It is not long after that things start to go wrong, and talk about things that go bump in the night. It tuns out that there are now threats to Holly personally and then there are the extracts from her aunt’s diary that suddenly and unexpectedly start appearing on her doormat each morning that tell a story of her aunt Lillian that Holly never knew about and the disturbing unease that this causes starts to play at Holly’s mind. Who is doing this and why? Clearly someone has a grudge at her being given this rundown old house.
Why does Holly’s friends dog seem to have a real interest in tree at the bottom of the garden, he heads straight there as soon as the backdoor is open. It is not long before the exes start to bicker as tensions rise. I really enjoy how Jane Lythell creates her characters and weaves a story within a story. What transpires is a psychological drama that twists and turns and keeps you wanting more. What is really going on at Penumbra House?
The Exes delivers on all fronts and if you are looking for your next book to read you will not be disappointed.
My thanks to Jane Lythell and Bloodhound Books for the review Copy of The Exes by Jane Lythel Published on 2nd March 2023 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org