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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of a variety of characters for you to spend time with! An enjoyable novel
This was my first Catherine Alliott book, and I had read many compliments and good things about her other novels so I was looking forward to seeing what her latest release would bring.

When Ella married the handsome Sebastian she knew she was madly in love. However, she didn't have the happily ever after that she was hoping for. Instead of a wonderful blissful...
Published 19 months ago by Megan ReadingInTheSunshine

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My husband next door
Ella's marriage to the celebrated artist Sebastian Montclair has not turned out to be the success she had hoped for. Now in her mid-thirties and with two lazy teenage children lolling about the house, her husband has moved out to live in an outhouse elsewhere on the farm, leaving Ella to look after the children, the holiday guests, the animals as well as doing his...
Published 20 months ago by EssexReader


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of a variety of characters for you to spend time with! An enjoyable novel, 14 Aug. 2013
By 
Megan ReadingInTheSunshine (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: My Husband Next Door (Paperback)
This was my first Catherine Alliott book, and I had read many compliments and good things about her other novels so I was looking forward to seeing what her latest release would bring.

When Ella married the handsome Sebastian she knew she was madly in love. However, she didn't have the happily ever after that she was hoping for. Instead of a wonderful blissful marriage, Sebastian now loves in an outhouse right next to Ella's farmhouse. Surrounded by her teenage children and with her mother turning up, Ella takes a shine to the charming gardener, Ludo. But soon Ella is in for a lot of drama not only from her children and her mother, but also from Sebastian too. What really happened in their marriage?

I am glad that I picked up this book, and I found it enjoyable to read. I liked Ella as a character - yes she has her flaws and she's not perfect, but I wouldn't want to read about her any other way, and she really grew on me. I found her very interesting to read about, and I liked reading about her relationships with the other characters in the book, how she was with them and her thoughts and feelings towards them.

I particularly enjoyed learning about Ella's background story. I was very intrigued about why Ella and Sebastian's marriage turned out the way that it did, and that was the main reason that kept me reading. I very much wanted to know what had happened to them, and perhaps if they could work it out and reunite with each other,

There is a lot that happens in this book, with Ella and her situation, and we also have side stories such as Ella's mother. I really enjoyed the side stories, to me they were as interesting as the main plot line and I enjoyed having something extra to look forward to and read about. I liked the setting of the story, I liked the feel of being out in the country and it seemed very realistic.

My Husband Next Door is full of a variety of characters for you to spend time with. Although it can be a bit confusing at first getting to know everyone, they are all very unique in their own ways and it makes for an interesting story. Love, family and relationships are explored in Catherine Alliott's newest release.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My husband next door, 1 Aug. 2013
By 
EssexReader (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Ella's marriage to the celebrated artist Sebastian Montclair has not turned out to be the success she had hoped for. Now in her mid-thirties and with two lazy teenage children lolling about the house, her husband has moved out to live in an outhouse elsewhere on the farm, leaving Ella to look after the children, the holiday guests, the animals as well as doing his laundry. When her parents have marital difficulties too, and her mother decides to come and stay in one of the holiday lets on the farm, Ella's life become even more chaotic and its only her growing friendship with handsome gardener Ludo (also married) that is her salvation.

By comparison, Ella's bossy sister Ginnie seems to have a perfect life - she is a lady that lunches, she fills her time with charity committees and by all appearances seems to have the perfect children. Only appearances are never what they seem.

I was really looking forward to reading this as I had very much enjoyed Catherine Alliott's previous book, A Rural Affair however I found this disappointing. It was an easy read but both characters and storyline were bland and forgettable. Ella seemed to be a pleasant enough ditzy character but I didn't warm to her, I became irritated by her indecisiveness and dithering and thought some of the minor characters like Ottoline, Ella's mother and even Sebastian were far more interesting and would have liked to have seen more of them in the book.

There were some amusing moments - most notably with the chickens. Monsieur Blanc and his little gang raised a smile but it's quite sad really when chickens are more interesting than the main characters.

At nearly 500 pages I felt the book was a bit too long and Ella's will she/won't she friendship/affair with Ludo became boring. Even the reveal of the "secret" hinted at in the book description wasn't enough to pick the story up for me. There were some insightful moments when I had a moment of sympathy for Ella, especially when she felt her family were excluding her from their decisions but sadly this book just didn't hit the spot.

Although this was only a so/so book for me, I'm sure that many other people would enjoy it and I would still give other books by this author a try.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ella is a character that all mothers will identify with, 5 Aug. 2013
By 
Shazjera - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: My Husband Next Door (Paperback)
We're introduced to Ella and Ludo in the prologue when she's asked to stand in for flowers in the village church for a wedding. Forgetting all about it, she asks the local florist to help out but the arrangements are not acceptable. Coming out of the church she bumps into Ludo who takes her to the field to collect wild flowers. This is the turning point in their friendship although still very innocent.

We move on to Ella and her sister Ginnie's characters. Totally opposite, Ella is the scatty one who is broke and emotionally barren while Ginnie is living a life of opulence and is efficient and organised.

Through a reflective account we find out about Ella and Sebastian's history and we get to know about Ella's background and her parents. Her mother has always controlled her father, even down to the sock's he wears!

Once the scene is set, we become involved in Ella's life ... her mother moving in to one of the cottages on the farm, her feelings growing for Ludo in proportion to the alienation with Sebastian, and as her sister's perfect life changes.

Ella views Ludo through a rose-tinted hue. There's intimation that he's not all Ella paints him to be ... their love reminded me very much of the chivalrous knight paying court to his lady. The passion and depth is still there for her feelings towards Sebastian, they were definitely soul mates, and I couldn't work out exactly what the secret was that destroyed their marriage. This intrigued me throughout the story.

Ella is never very sure of who she is meant to be. Having married Sebastian at 19, she always copied everyone else to fit in. As transformation takes place around her, her own life falls apart. She is a character that mothers everywhere will identify with as regards to her children and the decisions made ... or decide not to make!

I love the art in the story, from the openness in the beginning to the darkness at the end. The author knows what she is writing about with the emotions that are involved and how it is in integral part to an artist's heart and soul.

The ending was perfect and exactly what I hoped for (although we don't know if things will have a happy ending but my romantic heart says yes!)

My Husband Next Door, for me, is a story about relationships and things we don't say! From daughter to mother, parents to their children, sibling to sibling, husband to wife, lover to lover and friend to friend ... all those important relationships that make up a life. It's about the front we put on to the world and the expectations we have of others.

I read My Husband Next Door as part of The Real Reader programme.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My Husband Next Door, 16 Oct. 2013
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: My Husband Next Door (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ella and her estranged husband Sebastian live next door to each other. Ella lives in the farmhouse which was their family home and Sebastian lives in a converted granary across the farmyard. Ottoline, Sebastian's eccentric aunt also lives in another converted outbuilding. With stroppy teenage children, a mother who seems to have gone off the rails and who has come to stay and a chicken with an identity crisis, Ella has her hands full.

This should have been an entertaining read but for me it missed the boat. I found long stretches of it quite boring and I found I had no sympathy with Ella at all and felt she was making excuses for not sorting out her life. I did find flashes of humour from time to time and I liked Ottoline who seemed the most interesting character in the book - along with Ladyboy, the transsexual chicken.

The story seemed to plod along and not having any sympathy with the narrator spoiled the whole thing for me. I'm sure Catherine Alliot's many fans will love this book but it didn't do much for me and I think I shan't be reading any more books by this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Husband Next Door But No Knocking., 10 Feb. 2014
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Note this is a review for the audio book My Husband Next Door by Catherine Alliot.

This is very much a woman's Book so what is a middle aged science fiction loving male listening to it for I hear you ask?

Well I was offered to review it on Amazon Vine and I love audio books.
Like a lot of people these days I have to drive for long journeys and being time poor do not have time to read as many books as I would like.
An audio book is the next best thing.

The book is 'written from the mind of its central character Ella.
She was married to Sebastian who lives in the converted granary across from Ella's home.
Despite Sebastian being an artist and Ella indicating that they had a 'bohemian' relationship I found Ella's character strangely muted.
As a character that was clearly a 'goer' with her ex she is now prim and proper.
Whilst I can see how this veneer would be normal on the outside and seen by the world I could not imagine this to be the case when she is alone with Ludo.

She has a 'pash' for Ludo- the husband of her best friend, as does most of the female population of the village.
But Ella does not do anything about it.
I found this really hard to believe as from experience and living in a similar village that is not the 'wishy washy' attitude divorced women have.
I would imagine that quite a few people would get very bored by this book that really doesn't go anywhere and takes its time to do it.

This is a shame because the reader Alison Read does a fine job of reading this novel.
It is shame that she had such a slow and meandering plot to read.

But this is from a mature male's prospective.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great read., 23 Aug. 2013
This review is from: My Husband Next Door (Paperback)
Ella's marital arrangements are less than conventional. In fact, her marriage is downright strange altogether. After marrying her artist boyfriend, later to become her very famous artist husband, Ella's life was far from the norm. Unfortunately, their years of marital bliss have turned into marital disharmony and her now ex husband Sebastian lives next door to her on their small farm. Sebastian appears to want very little to do with Ella which continues to break her heart. Ella is torn between her continuing love for Sebastian and her 'friendship' with a very handsome and romantic gardener called Ludo. Throw into the mix some rather eccentric and difficult parents with marital problems of their own, a snobby sister, some crazy chickens and two unruly and surly teens and you have what is Ella's chaotic life.

Ella is a sort of heroine underdog. Throughout this book and I wanted Ella to have so much more. I wanted so desperately for her to gain some sort of control over her life. Instead, poor Ella spends much of her time trying to please everyone and forgetting about her own needs and wants. And, even when she does eventually decide to put herself first, it doesn't quite work out. There were a lot of laughs to be had throughout this book but also an undercurrent of sadness and 'what if's' and 'if only'. For me, Ella epitomises what a lot of women become - someone to fix everyone else but themselves. Ella's crazy lifestyle left me exhausted on her behalf! She is torn in so many different directions that she is reaching breaking point.

Essentially, this book is a story about love lost, love found and love rekindled . It's about the complexities of relationships and how the dynamics within those relationships can change and evolve. It is also about sacrifices. Ella sacrifices so much of herself to please everyone and 'fix' every problem. Ella's family are essentially not all they appear to be. Her snobbish sister does not have quite as perfect a life as she would like to portray and Ella's parent's have some fixing of their own to do - not only within their own marriage but with their relationship with their children. At first, Ella appears to be a weak and indecisive character who is a bit of a doormat. However, Ella is more complex than that. She is simply struggling to survive in a situation that she is unable to fix. Yet, her love for her family is unwavering and her sacrifices for them go unnoticed. She is merely a woman trying to keep her family together.

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it. No sooner had I turned the last page than my mother in law had swiped the book from under my nose. She is a Catherine Alliott fan and now I can understand why.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Here we have a story of a man and woman who married for love, had two children and then it all fell ..., 30 Aug. 2014
I bought the full 12 disc audio version to keep me "entertained" on a long car journey... it was so long it played on several journeys, interspersed with music to break up the slow pace. What kept me listening was more a "Really? Surely I'm not hearing this?" intrigue than anything else.

Here we have a story of a man and woman who married for love, had two children and then it all fell apart. They lived the high life, above their means and then suffered for it. that happens. Fast forward to the "now" and Sebastian (the lead male) has painters block, doesn't work and is an alcoholic who treats his wife Ella like s***. He is verbally and emotionally abusive to her. He lives rent free in one of the holiday cottages in her back garden and contributes nothing financially towards it or anything else, despite having several sought after paintings by himself and others that he could sell. Ella does all the work, waits hand and foot on him and the children and pays for everything. She has a job, she runs the holiday lets, she houses and cares for two teenage children who are the epitome of lazy self indulgent self entitled horrors who yes, speak and treat their mother like s***. Her mother also speaks to her like s***. Her sister is a snob and her and her and her friends turn their noses up and treat her like s***. So here we have a woman struggling to do it all, holding it together and yes there are some funny "it could only happen to her" tales. Yes there is the ridiculous affair but not an affair with the gardener: another stereotypical male character.

So why does the story suddenly turn? It doesn't turn in the direction of her standing up to these negative people and finding and valuing herself again. Why is it suddenly all her fault? Her fault Sebastian is an abusive alcoholic bastard? Her fault and failings as a woman and mother that she feels aggrieved and upset when the alcoholic moves out and the children (whom he has failed to look after adequately for many years) want to go and live with him because he has (in ironic familiarity to many I am sure) been handed on a plate a lovely big posh house in town where he can display all his lovely expensive paintings he still has while she has struggled financially to keep them all above water and still lives in the damp run down cottage? Why is it her poor behaviour as a human being that she has not spent every day with a woman (her mother) who belittles, criticises and otherwise upsets her with her nasty behaviour? Oh look, her mother has transformed. Good for her. Oh and her snooty sister and her friend transform too, and Ella feels bad and sorry for them. Them who never give a toss about her. And the aunt who stopped speaking to her because she failed to see her husbands abusive behaviour as a sign of his love? PLEASE!

I found the story utterly ridiculous and harrowing that it all came back to being Ella's fault. The fact that EVERYTHING was blamed on Ella, that the awful behaviour of so many people towards Ella was swept aside and she was made to feel it was all her own fault was a chilling reflection of a wider problem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid story but a bit bloated, 21 Nov. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 9:58 Mins

When I ordered it I assumed it was going to be about six discs. A chick lit novel isn't likely to be much more than that. Right? How wrong I was. The thing came on twelve full length discs. Fifteen hours and ten minutes according to the back of the box. How can a lightweight book of this nature need twelve discs to tell the story and not be bloated?

I liked the book. The story is good and involving. There is nothing here to rock you back with shock or surprise. It's fairly standard stuff, although the seemingly central romance doesn't work out as I expected. It's a solid story with decent, if not particularly likeable, characters. Some of their names are a bit posh and odd sounding to me. Names such as Ottoline, Sebastian, Tabitha etc.

It's a bit overwritten. Not in that the prose is purple with ripe metaphors etc. I mean overwritten in that there is an awful lot of it. When a paragraph will do she'll use three. It does plod in a few places and there was the occasional time I thought, `Get on with it', but it's not a big problem. Some diversions (getting rid of the chickens for example) and the in-depth details of their lives could have been cut, but it doesn't choke the novel. I have to admit though: if I was reading the book instead of listening to it, I might have skipped the odd paragraph or page.

In the end the length of the novel is justified, so don't be put off by the size of it. It's consistently interesting and it certainly holds the attention. The bloat is enjoyable, so I suppose overall it earns its place.

The reader Alison Reid is okay. Some of her stresses make things sound twee. If I was reading it myself, I think I would have heard it with a lot less tweeness in it. Her male voices are bad, but that's to be expected as most women readers can't do them well.

I'm glad I heard it. It is a good story. If you're inclined to like it then I think you'll enjoy it. It's a safe bet to take a flutter on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a husband next door..., 15 Oct. 2013
By 
Petra "I love to read" "book addict!!!" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: My Husband Next Door (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My Husband Next Door by Catherine Alliott for me was a good read which was not a great shock as I have been a fan of Catherine Alliot as I know I am always going to have a good read plus a few laughs along the way. With My Husband Next Door where the main character Ella is certainly trying to make the best of what she has got in life with her husband Sebastian once a successful artist living in the cottage next door and when her Mother moves into one of her holiday lets it really is enough to be the last straw in her ever crumbling life as she also has to live with a household of ungrateful and very spoiled teenagers trying to rule her with their own bad behaviour.
The one bright spark in her life is the very gorgeous but very married gardener Ludo keeps her entertained but it is clear this relationship has not went beyond a bit of harmful flirting. But Ella is hiding a secret from those closest to her and that is what really destroyed the once very happy marriage to Sebastian, but as we follow Ella coping with everything going wrong around her Sebastian decides to leave the cottage and Ella is surprised at how much this is affecting her as this is what she wanted, Was it not the answer to her problems or one of them at least?
Catherine Alliott is a good author who certainly knows how to get her readers laughing out loud but even though I did enjoy this book there was nothing new in her writing which I was slightly disappointed in but it still was a good book based on the wonderful subject relationships and marriage.
If you want a good book which you can relax with and one that does not take a lot of concentration this certainly is the book for you as it is a true romance filled with many laughs even those that come from a very snobby Mother which Ella seems to be blessed with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Zero narrative drive, 4 Sept. 2013
By 
Laura T (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: My Husband Next Door (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've never read anything by Catherine Alliott before, but I liked the sound of the rural setting and a plot that focused on a slightly older woman, rather than the usual twenty-something chick lit heroine with a high-powered job and shoe addiction. Ella is struggling with her two teenage children, the ramshackle properties that she rents, and most importantly, the temptation posed by romantic gardener, Ludo. Technically, Ella is married, but her artist husband Sebastian has lived 'next door' for a number of years, and their relationship has become almost non-existent. Will Ella fall for Ludo's charms or try to rekindle what she once had with Sebastian?

This book was likeable, gentle, and reasonably well-written, but I struggled to finish it. Although I found Ella sympathetic, and enjoyed some of the rest of the cast, like her friend Lottie, I couldn't really bring myself to care about the choice she would make. The setting was also a disappointment - I didn't find that the book had any real sense of place beyond generic rural stereotypes. Individual scenes were sometimes reasonably interesting, but the plot meanders hopelessly around very little material, and the novel is far too long. I also struggled with the characters of Ella's two children, Tabitha and Josh, whom I didn't find believable - especially Josh's over-scripted dialogue. The sub-plot with Ella's mother also served as a distraction, rather than a worthwhile thread.

I'm not sure what Catherine Alliott's writing is usually like (although I notice that several fans have said that this isn't her best) but I'm afraid this hasn't encouraged me to read anything else by her. I would recommend Katie Fforde's 'Wedding Season', 'Recipe for Love' or 'Love Letters' for a similarly pleasant, but more pacy read.
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