Novels by Lesley Hayes

The Architect


Six sides to a house. Six sides to a story. Six people linked by fate and family. One of them is dead. Is one of the others a murderer? They all have motives. But is that reason enough to kill?

It is September 2020, and Covid has swept the world with devastating consequences. In England, after months of lockdown followed by a cautious loosening of restrictions, friends and family are now allowed to gather if they abide by the government’s ‘rule of six’. Ric is an architect, both by profession and by nature. He has invited guests he refers to jokingly as ‘the usual suspects’ to celebrate his son Noah’s thirtieth birthday. His crazy ex-wife Allegra will be there, and his dependable business partner Jake, together with his nubile girlfriend Eden, and of course Ric’s long-suffering partner, Sally. Secrets and lies and the bitter taste of corruption are items on the menu, and they all have reasons to be suspicious and resentful. Not one of them is exactly who they seem to be. Can anything they say be trusted? Will this be the occasion when one of ‘the usual suspects’ is pushed too far?


What other people have written about 'The Architect’:


"This is another beautifully written novel from this very talented writer. I'm very happy to recommend."

"...six complex people, three male and three female, are ruthlessly dissected and reassembled by the mistress of the art of psychological horror, Lesley Hayes...Who created not just a bubble, but a killer’s bubble?"


“Secrets, deceit, jealousy, greed, misfortune, loyalty, love and hate all feature. This is a spellbinding tale that unravels at a sufficient pace to keep the reader hooked."

The Architect is available atAmazon

Strange Eventful History


Against the backdrop of an intensifying political climate, this final book in the Written in Water trilogy reveals in rich emotional detail the intricate ambiguities and contradictions of love and life, exploring what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a wife, a lover, a friend.

‘Two’s company, but is three a crowd?’ is a question often posed by Strange Eventful History, which takes up the story where Better Strangers ended in 1990. In the twenty-five years ahead Rosalind, Beatrice and Cordelia continue their journey through time towards the brink of the UK referendum in 2016.

On the way they encounter destiny’s signposts and roadblocks and face some difficult truths. Each of them experiences tragedy, joy, insight and loss as they pursue their individual quests for a ‘forever’ love. What they discover is not always what they hoped for or imagined.


What other people have written about 'Strange Eventful History’:


"This third multi-layered emotional rollercoaster is as spellbinding as its predecessors. The language and the storytelling are of the same high quality. This concluding part should be savoured and not rushed as Beatrice, Cordelia and Rosalind become older but not necessarily wiser."

"Even the supporting cast come across as real people, each with their own set of values, ambitions, and hang ups. This is a masterclass in writing causing a reader like me to invest in them to the point that the actions of a few might actually please or annoy me."


“This author deserves more widespread recognition than she has to date received. She is shrewd, empathetic, insightful and compassionate, and she writes beautifully. I recommend Strange Eventful History without reservation."

Strange Eventful History is available atAmazon

Better Strangers


Having survived the sexual revolution of the sixties, Cordelia, Rosalind and Beatrice are all twenty-seven by the summer of 1975, ready to navigate their very different ways through the milestones and challenges of the following fifteen years.

Inevitably there are losses as well as gains, and this second book of the trilogy focuses on what it means for each of them to let go - not only of some significant people in their lives, but also of what they believed they knew about their own identity. For these three women the seismic shift between the ages of twenty and forty means steering a sometimes choppy path through uncharted waters.

They each discover unexpected gifts, and lessons of the heart they couldn’t previously have imagined. Meanwhile, the world they inhabit continues to experience the curse of exciting times, politically and culturally, as they live and breathe the changing landscape of the nineteen seventies and eighties.


What other people have written about 'Better Strangers’:


"The dialogue is natural, and metaphors are slipped into the narrative as naturally as the gaps between the words. If Lesley Hayes’ stories were food, the ‘Written in Water’ trilogy would be butterscotch-flavoured ice-cream. The hard part for somebody who has enjoyed a portion of this story is knowing there will be a wait for the next one."


“Is the sequel better than Exits and Entrances? As in life, some characters make their final exit, others their first entrance, and all are a fascinating mixture of their genes and upbringing. Both books are intellectually demanding to read, and the answer to my own question is I shall await, impatiently, book three in the Written in Water trilogy."

Better Strangers is available atAmazon

Exits And Entrances


The swinging sixties – a time of peace, love, violence and revolution. In 1962, as the Cold War erupts in sudden crisis over Cuba, Cordelia, Beatrice and Rosalind are fourteen. Dubbed by their English teacher the three witches from Macbeth, they have already recognised one another as outsiders, with no idea that their alliance will turn out to be a lifelong friendship.

Their personalities and choices lead them along very different paths, but they never lose the strong thread of connection. Through the passions, disappointments, losses and triumphs of their lives the trilogy of novels follows them through the years, reflecting the many changes that have taken place for women over six decades.

Exits and Entrances chronicles the eventful era between 1962 and 1972 as they grow from girls into young women.


What other people have written about 'Exits And Entrances’:


"I confess to being addicted to Ms Hayes’ writing, and I’m delighted to say her new release has done the impossible – exceeded all the brilliant novels that came before."


“Reading a book by this author is akin to visiting a favourite holiday destination, or getting together with a lifelong friend after an absence. It is quite simply a joy."

Exits And Entrances is available atAmazon

The Girl He Left Behind


"It’s interesting how the way you see someone initially sets the template for who you believe them to be – at least until you’ve amassed enough contradictory data to see them otherwise. Sometimes, even then, however compelling the reasons to revise your view of them, you cling to that first vision as if it is the truth.”

Kat’s passionate attachment to Alex spans twenty years and endures the many changes in both their lives. Annie’s love for Kat may or may not survive the journey. Sometimes the love of your life may turn out not to be the person you thought…

The Girl He Left Behind is a novel very much of our times, where identity can be as fluid as the choices we make about who we really are.


What other people have written about 'The Girl He Left Behind’:


Brilliant...The topical and character based writing is literary fiction at its best: thought-provoking and deep but also with a lot of tension and suspense, some surprises and a keen thirst in the reader to find out how all of this will find its denouement. Really brilliant.

"This is a beautifully written, modern tale...Who, and what, are we? Who, and what, defines us? How does the world see us and how do we see ourselves?...I wholeheartedly recommend this book."


“A great page turning read full of interesting real made me stay up too late reading !!"

The Girl He Left Behind is available atAmazon

The Other Twin


"Trying to define love was like chasing a ball of mercury with your finger: as soon as you thought you’d touched upon its truth, it skittered off again and divided itself into multiple tiny versions of itself.”

Since childhood, Verity has been haunted by the dream of meeting her twin soul. Is such a thing even possible? She thinks she might have found him in Ned, but is he all that he seems? No one and nothing in this novel is as straightforward as it first appears, including Verity. Sometimes it takes other people to help us discover who we truly are, and the lengths we will go to when pushed. A psychological mystery with the notion of true love at its heart, The Other Twin explores the noxious legacy of suspicion, hatred, revenge, and duplicity – and asks of the reader: just who can you trust?


What other people have written about 'The Other Twin’:


"This is a gifted exploration of love in relationships but in particular it is an exploration of the brutality of betrayal. The narrative is as always with Lesley Hayes, simply stunning and the dialogue sharp and it constantly drives the story on. The end when it arrives, is a total surprise and it is a fantastic way to wrap up yet another simply magnificent book from one of my favourite authors."

“Excellent pace, lots of plot twists and gritty, dislikable characters- what's not to love?”quotes

"Love, love, love. Hurry up and write my next favorite book."

The Other Twin is available atAmazon

Dangerous People


How well do people who have been friends for years really know each other? How often do they lie to themselves and to one another about their deepest desires and motivations? This comedy of manners has a serious message at its core. There are secrets that might wound, and old wounds that must be kept a secret. Jealousy drives a hard bargain in its passion to undermine the path of the heart.

Violet has much to learn about the nature of love, although she already understands the persuasive power of obsession. Lewis is everybody’s friend, and wants above all to be loved. Osborne is caustic, clever and caddish. Sophie believes in magic. Drew believes in karma. Imogen believes life is out to get her.

Beneath their urbane, artistic, middle-class exterior lurks something sinister, primal, dangerous. And how heavy is the hand of fate in deciding whether the effect they have on one another will bring triumph or disaster?

Follow this link to listen to an extract from the novel.


What other people have written about 'Dangerous People’:


"There are long engaging conversations that flow beautifully throughout this book, a skill lost on most writers, yet effortless in the flow of this book, a strong, intelligent consideration of the human way. Game-playing, false flattery, immodest deceit, back-biting, jealousy, passion, desire and regret there is so much on display here. Intimacy and loneliness here also, in may I say a very British fashion and it all works so well."

“Hayes is a master story teller but this time, the people and people in general are the story. Layers and layers are revealed as we learn how not everyone is how we thought they would be. What motivates people, drives their actions and causes them to feel what they feel can be sinister, fortunately not all of it is. A novel with bite and substance and very enjoyable.”quotes

"Dangerous people is the fourth novel by Lesley Hayes that I've read, and once again she has exceeded my very high expectations. Another of her books held the top spot in my best reads of 2015, which is now shared with this one."

Dangerous People is available atAmazon

The Drowned Phoenician Sailor


Written with humour, wit and insight, ‘The Drowned Phoenician Sailor’ is a quirky, thought-provoking psychological thriller, involving ghosts, the mystery of attachment, grief, forgiveness, intimacy, and the meaning of love.

Fynn is resolutely unromantic, a bit of a loner, and sceptical about life before death, never mind after it. And yet since she was fifteen her dead sister has been visiting her on a regular basis. Fynn doesn’t believe in ghosts so is she crazy? Three years after starting psychotherapy with Paul, she arrives for a session and finds him lying dead on the couch. But this is just the beginning... The same night she gatecrashes Paul’s funeral he turns up in his newly disembodied form and her dilemma takes a different turn... And when the enigmatic Jack is washed up like driftwood on a beach in Cornwall, Fynn begins to revise her jaded beliefs and expectations, discovering that life, and death, is far more mysterious and intricate than she imagined...

...I began this novel with the idea of exploring identity. Do we become a different person when we change our name, give up a role, or lose a significant relationship? ‘The Drowned Phoenician Sailor’ is partly an investigation into the complex resolution of grief, and asks whether if you are haunted by someone it matters whether or not they are objectively real. I also wanted to play with the notion of coincidence and throw in some philosophical questions about truth and reconciliation. But in the end, the characters took over and wrote the book without too much help from me. They turned up, much as Paul did after his funeral, and started asking questions of their own. They all had a strong sense of self and plenty to say. Some of them wanted a happy ending and some were determined by their characters to allow no such thing. Did any of them find answers? You will have to decide for yourself.


What other people have written about 'The Drowned Phoenician Sailor’:


“BLISS, like slipping into a warm jacuzzi, prior to being massaged by words precisely chosen and arranged in just the right order.”

“This is Lesley Hayes at her best, and a superb best it is: sharply analytical, deeply observant about the vagaries of the human character and reliably lyrical in her use of language.”

“This is a wonderfully written story. For those who have undergone some sort of counselling/therapy, you will relate to some of the scenarios/dialogue between Fynn and Paul."

“Lesley Hayes is a highly accomplished and perceptive writer. Her book is all about the intricate nature of relationships, synchronicity and interconnectedness...I could not put it down.”

“An intricately woven novel, exquisitely written, subtly peppered with metaphor, each page holding a clever turn of phrase that made me smile.”

“The plot builds like a thriller, but it stays grounded in the humour and quirky view on life of the main character, as she tries to make sense of her relationships with the living and the dead.”

“Intellectual reading, a story of connection, disconnection and loss, and ultimately a happy ending. Helpful for anyone struggling with grief and bereavement, but uplifting, too.”quotes

“You just know you’re in a very safe pair of well-informed, wittily writerly hands.”

To discover more about the process behind writing this novel follow this link.

The Drowned Phoenician Sailor is available atAmazon

A Field Beyond Time


Two people, a world apart, separated by time and grief, their lives destined to converge... but what happens when finally they meet? Almost forty years ago, on an ashram in India, a devastating series of events led to Daniel’s complete psychotic breakdown. Since then he has worked hard to remake his identity, keeping his history under wraps. Now a successful psychotherapist, but with his once happy marriage unexpectedly crumbling, Daniel wakes from an ominous dream, warning him that his past is coming back to haunt him.

Meanwhile, shocked by her mother’s deathbed revelations, Mira is hunting down her father. A lesbian artist, renowned for intimate, erotic photographs of women, she is determined to settle old scores. Love is not initially anywhere on Mira’s agenda, yet in meeting the enigmatic Luce she finds a startling twist in her search for truth.

Daniel’s tortured memories, recorded in his journal, connect the present with his mysterious past. What really did happen in India? Daniel’s wife Callie also has secrets, and her reasons for keeping them. Can their relationship survive? And what will happen when Mira confronts the realities of her own beginnings and the story that has sustained her whole identity?

This original and complexly layered novel reveals the shifting nature of truth, the indestructible depth of human connection, the power of negative enchantment, and ultimately the redemptive spirit of love..


What other people have written about 'A Field Beyond Time’:


“An enthralling story, spanning more than three decades across as many continents, from the outward respectability of suburban America and academic Oxford, to the drugs and cults of the hippie trail retreats of India.”

“This is without doubt one of the best books I've read this year; the quality of writing and depth of characterisation, aligned with intelligent and convincing dialogue, and above all, a truly fascinating and intriguing story, kept me interested and entertained throughout."

“A book that demands the reader's full and undivided attention, attention that is well rewarded by a remarkable story, and characters that will stay in the reader's mind long after they've finished reading. A literary gem!”

"I'm not sure I have the language to do this book justice. I could say it's about emotional and physical relationships between three women, or the mother/daughter and father/son relationships, or the anguish a parent feels on losing a child, or the gullibility of youth. I could say it's an intricate, meticulous and introspective dissection of the human psyche. It's all these things, and much more. It's so beautifully written, the language and descriptions so fabulously evocative and so deeply moving that it touched me, resonated within me on many levels - guilt, regret, blame, despair, hope, the needing to love and be loved...forgiveness and the act of forgiving oneself. The story is deceptively simple - the feelings the language evoke are deep, sometimes dark, and always insightful and thought-provoking, while the prose is, in places, at once both achingly beautiful and exquisitely painful. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more of Lesley Hayes's work."

“This may be the wisest, and most cleverly crafted, book I have ever read. Anyone whose childhood was spent in a house where there was profound unhappiness will identify with every word. Lesley Hayes’s profound knowledge of the human psyche informs the deeply insightful portrayal of her characters. With consummate skill she weaves the different strands of this painfully beautiful story into an intricate, complicated and ultimately moving tale.”

“I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It isn’t merely a good book. It’s a great book – and there aren’t that many of those.”

“This is an intelligent story bordering on genius and absolutely deserving of 5 stars.”quotes

“This is a book that is as much character driven as it is about plot and storyline, although in this case, the one skilfully reinforces the other.”

What led to the creation of A Field Beyond Time? follow this link and discover the intriguing story behind the story.

A Field Beyond Time is available atAmazon

Round Robin


On a deceptively peaceful morning in rural Oxfordshire a bolt from the blue splinters the surface of Robin’s familiar world and pitches him into uncertainty. By the end of the summer holidays he will be eleven, and until now has been looking forward to starting secondary school in September. But a much greater change than he could have imagined is on the horizon.

It isn’t just Robin’s world that undergoes a radical transformation. No one in this novel remains untouched by the turbulent events that take place during the following six weeks. Love is questioned, lost and rediscovered as the characters find their way towards the novel’s ultimate denouement. Patrick, the surly bully of a headmaster, and Iris, his long-suffering wife, both face unforeseen life-altering challenges. Maddy and David are forced to review their relationship with one another and, more importantly, with themselves. Laura’s steadfast heart stands to be broken all over again. And Robin is the fulcrum around which each of them constellates. In one way or another he affects everyone. His own future hangs in the balance, and is largely dependent on other people’s choices on.

Wise, poignant, thought-provoking and at times even mordantly funny, ‘Round Robin’ will move you and stay with you long after the final chapters have been read.


What other people have written about 'Round Robin’:


“This book affected me very deeply. My eyes were glued to every page until 2 a.m. when I put it aside and only dozed as I wanted to get back to the story so much. So I woke myself up at 4:30 a.m. to go on reading until 9 a.m. when I finished the book, utterly spent emotionally."

“Readers, beware; this book is going to put its hooks well into you, deep under your skin, and pull you along like that until you have finished it. For this is a book about human beings stripped bare to their most private, inner selves. It is a devastating insight into the human condition."

“A must read if you want something quite extraordinary to happen to you, if you are brave enough to face yourself in a mirror to see straight down to the very depths of your being. This excellent and quite exceptional book deserves more than five stars."

“This is an extremely good book. It is a skilfully crafted story, and very subtle in its unfolding. There is such an authenticity in this story that it was powerfully compelling to me. The word that came to mind as I read it was ‘heartfelt’."

“It is basically a master class in writing; the narrative is crisp, at all times relevant, always serving to carry the story forward, and the characterization is first rate – characters are utterly convincing and real and the dialogue is pitch perfect."

“It is a book that made me think about myself, my boyhood and my former relationships, and it is one of those very rare books that I will quite honestly miss."

“The author has a profound empathy with the characters, almost as if she were actually living their feelings and reactions to the situations in which they find could really believe that she writes from personal experience.”quotes

“Her understanding of the human condition shines through as every character comes alive on the page with a truth and honesty that is hard to achieve for a writer. Lesley Hayes gets to the soul of every character and writes eloquent and smart narrative that is so polished and considered I find it hard resist."


To read reflections on the completion of Round Robin follow this link.

Round Robin is available atAmazon


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Copyright © 2018 Lesley Hayes. All rights reserved.