Hey guys, today I’m taking part in Eva Woods’ blog tour for her latest release, The Ex Factor. As always, many thanks to the publisher, HQStories for the digital copy through NetGalley and lovely Cara for the invitation to take part.
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Ex Factor by Eva Woods
Published by MIRA
Published on 8.9.2016
Genres: chick lit
Buy on amazon.co.uk or Buy on amazon.com
Is it possible to freecycle love?
Modern dating is hard, especially when all you meet are liars, oddballs, men who wear Superman pants and men who live with their mums.
So why not date someone who already comes pre-approved? Just because your friend’s ex wasn’t right for her doesn’t mean that he won’t be right for you. That’s Marnie’s new plan for herself and her three best friends, perennially single Helen, recently divorced Rosa and cynical lawyer Ani.
Through bad dates and good, the four friends begin to realise that there are advantages to dating pre-screened men…but there can be some serious pitfalls to falling for your friend's ex.
‘The Ex Factor’ is Eva Woods’ second novel and though I haven’t read her debut, The Thirty List, I was very much looking forward to reading this one. The beautiful cover and the intriguing blurb were more than enough to make me want to read it. While I wasn’t exactly disappointed in the book, I have to say I was expecting something bit different.
Marnie, Helen, Rosa and Ani have been friends for years. Two years ago, Marnie leaves London, without saying proper good bye to her friends. She sends the odd postcard now and then, from some exotic places, but she doesn’t exactly keep in touch with her friends. After two years away, she’s back in London and ready to continue with her friends exactly as if nothing happened, as if she never left. A lot of things have changed during those two years, all three of her friends are single and mostly miserable when it comes to relationships, but despite the hard times they’ve remained close friends. Now Marnie’s back, they’re slightly confused and at the same time excited to rekindle their friendship with Marnie and make up for the lost time. Not only they welcome her arms stretched, never even daring to ask why Marnie left in the first place, but they agree to Marnie’s bizarre dating project. Marnie has a proposal for them, each of them suggests an ex they’ve went out with and sets them up with a friend. Project Love, as Marnie calls it comes down to basically recycling exes.
Interesting concept, right? A very bold one too, knowing most women/readers in their 20s or 30s (or even older) wouldn’t agree in taking part in such a project and might even criticize this book (and the characters) strongly. I said most, not all. So where do I stand? Being in my late 30s I just found it silly. Would I ever set up a friend with an ex? I don’t think so. Not because I’m jealous, there’s a good reason for them being out of my life right now. But because I believe none of my friends would actually want to date my ex. I mean, girl code and all that! It’s kind of uncomfortable, even the idea to be intimate with someone my friend shared time/hugs/bed with. The more I talk about it, the more I just want to say ‘yuck!’. But hold on… I have to admit, I salute Eva Woods’ courage to write about this topic, to be genuine in a genre which is swamped in cliches. Now, I love chick lit, and sometimes I love books which are full of cliches, because I just like the author’s narration or can easily connect to their characters. But ‘The Ex Factor’ once again stands out.
This book is different. It has a unique plot and being a chick lit/romance book I didn’t expect it to be so though provoking. You see, through the acts of the four friends, Marnie’s coming back and all their miserable dates, you start asking yourself, what is friendship? Would you date your friends’ ex? Could you fall in love with someone who was intimate with your BFF? You’ve grown up valuing the girl code and here it is, a book that’s against all you believe about friendship. I’m telling you, it might seem like just another fluffy chick lit, but it’s actually one that will make you think a lot. Might even get you angry, confused, sad, but there are also some funny and enjoyable moments with the girls.
Speaking of the girls, they can’t be any more different. I didn’t connect to any of them, to be frank, but I liked them. Marnie, not too much not because she comes up with her silly dating plan, but because she’s back after two years in her friends’ lives and she expects things to continue the way they were. Which is kind of cruel in my book. I assume Marnie will be least likable of the characters for many readers, but she’s definitely the most mysterious one, and I’ve been dying to find out more about her.
While I would never start my own Project Love with my friends, I have to say I found the concept of this book very original. It doesn’t matter if I agree with these girls, I love how the book surprised me with everything that’s been going on. However, the reason for my rating is the great number of characters Eva Woods introduces. I couldn’t distinguish them all, couldn’t remember their names, what they add to the plot, I just… felt confused and slightly lost.
Overall, this is definitely an interesting read. It’s not your usual chick lit but a big plus for the originality. I would definitely read more by this author. It’s certain Eva Woods is a bold author who has no problem with writing about some topics most women would rather not write about.