The Ex Factor by Eva Woods
Publishing Date: 8th September 2016
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 368
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
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.
I was desperate to read Eva Woods’ story for a long time already, I have her previous novel on my kindle, patiently waiting to be eventually read, so when “The Ex Factor” whizzed its way to me I quickly started reading it. The title had me incredibly intrigued, I love anything about exes, probably because I myself don’t have too many of them and am feeling a little inexperienced in that matter 🙂 Nah, but altogether, the book had such a great vibe and I was really excited to start it.
I loved the idea of the book, meeting with your friends’ ex and generally speaking, dating – you know me, you know I am such a sucker for dating stories, I always, always hope that the author is going to totally surprise me with exceptionally hilarious date stories. It’s not easy, to surprise me with them, as there are so many books about dating, and I am all the time living in hope that one day I’ll get such a book in my greedy hands. “The Ex Factor” had some dates throughout the story, sure it did but sadly, same old, my friends, same old… Though the angle was different, of course, as I think I’ve never read about dating friends’ exes. Recycling exes, yes, but not swapping them. But you can be sure that you are in for a story that is full of misunderstandings, mistakes and troubles and as I was prepared for a funny rom – com, I was surprised with the more serious issues that were addressed there as well. It’s not bad, not at all, and “The Ex Factor” mostly concentrated on this unique way of meeting The One.
The story is mostly told from Ani, Helen and Rosa points of view with the very occasional word from Marnie and I liked to see how they stories develop and how they cope with the many feelings that were all of a sudden evoked by Marnie and her return and her idea of the ex – experiment. I think that I preferred Helen and Rosa to Ani and, above all, Marnie. The first two were just much more relatable and much more likeable, not as cynical as Ani and Marnie. Sure, they also had some moments when I wanted to bay at the moon, so desperate I was with them but altogether, I’d rather spend time in their company. Helen, even with her light form of OCD, when every work she had to do at home had its own day and time, with her almost never leaving the house and altogether, behaving strangely, I liked her more than Ani who didn’t know what she wanted or Marnie that was egoistic and dishonest. But there is something that the girls have in common, and it is the fact that they are, right now, all single: Helen, Ani, Marnie are all unsuccessful dating and Rosa is facing a divorce, as her husband left her for a teenager. OK, for a 20 – year- old intern. After two years of absence Marnie comes home and immediately has this idea of dating your friends’ exes. I liked that the girl were so different, that all had their own lives and problems – Helen spends a lot of time at home, well, she’s working from home, though she doesn’t say what it is that she’s working, and she has her reasons for not telling it! Ani is a great divorce lawyer, but she’s also great at dating, as long as she doesn’t meet the man for more than two dates… The poor Rosa must work with her almost ex – husband, which doesn’t help her to forget him… So even though they’re not so keen, they all agree to try Marnie’s idea and set themselves on dates with their exes. Misunderstandings, disasters, jealousy are guaranteed!
This book started good and it kept me hooked but then, slowly, it just went downhill for me. The storyline didn’t seem so original anymore, it dragged on a bit but my main problem, however, was with the number of characters and them mixing with each other. Sure, I do get it, the author needed to introduce us to so many main characters to make this story more colourful and thrilling but then, when the male characters entered the scenes, and there were much more male characters than female ones, I started to lose the track and I had no idea who belongs to who. I just couldn’t remember who was dating who before and who are they dating now and to be honest, there came a moment that I stopped to care. Also, I didn’t get the Marnie character – she was behaving as if nothing happened, as if everybody was waiting for her to bring light and fun to their boring, sad lives, but in my opinion it was Marnie who brought the problems. Those were the things that spoiled the book for me.
It was a read that was full to brims with action and something was happening all the time, though it is still, in my opinion, on the slow side. The characters had a very modern life approach and the way they talked with each other sounded realistic and genuine and the girls’ voices were very different and so distinctive. “The Ex Factor” was a light – hearted story with a darker side to it, as it also deals with some more serious issues, and I liked the balance. Altogether, it was an interesting read and I will be for sure looking for more from Eva Woods.
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