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The Break – Marian Keyes

The Break – Marian Keyes

It has been a while since Marian Keyes last book – in fact I thought she had retired – I think The Woman Who Stole My Life came out in 2014? I didn’t even know this one was coming out – just came across a huge pile in Dymocks and thought ‘yay! a holiday read’.

I have always liked her books – some more than others. They are funny, but also tackle big issues. Here is the blurb for this one …

Amy’s husband Hugh isn’t really leaving her.

At least, that’s what he promises. He is just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. For six-months Hugh will lose himself in south-east Asia, and there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.
Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet . . .
It’s been a long time since Amy held a briefcase in one hand and a baby in the other. She never believed she’d have to go it alone again. She just has to hold the family together until Hugh comes back.
But a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? And will Amy be the same woman?
Because falling in love is easy. The hard part – the painful, joyous, maddening, beautiful part – is staying in love.

Her books have aged/grown up as I have – now she is writing about middle-aged people with children (where I am right now) and it is refreshing to read one’s own experiences in a novel – the never-ending domestic slog, the needs of children, trying to balance family and work.

Once again, this one is witty and sad. It focuses on a modern marriage crisis – Hugh needs a break, 6 months and then he will be back. While he is gone it will be like they’re not married, i.e. he wants to be able to shag complete strangers in South East Asia. Amy is left to hold it together at home – three children, a hectic job, a mother who needs support caring for her demented husband – seems like a terrible and very selfish thing for Hugh to do, but he has suffered several bereavements and has Amy drifted away?

There are laugh out loud moments – Amy’s mother becoming an internet sensation, social commentary – going to England to procure an abortion.

As much as I liked this novel, I think there was too much of it. A bit of an edit would have made the whole thing tighter and more compelling.

Another review …

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/book-reviews/novel-with-a-strong-moral-heart-and-plenty-of-laughs-36089516.html

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The Woman Who Stole My Life – Marian Keyes

The Woman Who Stole My Life - Marian Keyes

The Woman Who Stole My Life – Marian Keyes

I have been a Marian Keyes fan for a long time – ever since the laugh out loud funny moments in Watermelon. Sometimes I have been disappointed, but usually I find them a fun read with a bit of a serious side.

Here is the blurb for this one …

Stella Sweeney is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year – touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side – she’s back to normality with a bang. And she’s got writer’s block.
Stella wants a clean break as she didn’t exactly leave New York on a high. Why is she back in Ireland so soon? Who is it who keeps calling? Stella wants to get back to being the woman she used to be. But can she? And should she?

 Stella contracts a dreadful disease and spends a lot of time in hospital. While in hospital she develops a connection with her neurologist – she communicates with him by blinking. Later, he turns her sayings into a self-published book, which finds its way into the hands of an infamous celebrity (she is photographed reading it) and so Stella becomes a publishing phenomenon. She gets a book deal, moves to New York (with the neurologist and her children) and goes on a book tour. She is living the life people dream about – I shall leave you to find out how she ends up back in Ireland along (apart from her grumpy son) and broke.

As you would expect from Ms Keyes, there are some hilarious moments. For example, Stella’s ex-husband’s plan to create his own celebrity or her son who is simply too well behaved (for a teenager).

This was a well-written romantic comedy. There are funny bits and serious bits, but more of the funny than the dark.

 

 

 

 

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The Mystery of Mercy Close – Marian Keyes

I’ve always been a Marian Keyes fan – I’ve been a bit disappointed of late – but I was hopeful that her old form would return with another story about the walsh family.

Here’s the blurb …

 Marian Keyes, the No. 1 bestselling author of Rachel’s Holiday, is back with her stunning new novel “The Mystery of Mercy Close” and the return of the legendary and beloved Walsh sisters. Helen Walsh doesn’t believe in fear – it’s just a thing invented by men to get all the money and good jobs – and yet she’s sinking. Her work as a Private Investigator has dried up, her flat has been repossessed and now some old demons have resurfaced. Not least in the form of her charming but dodgy ex-boyfriend Jay Parker, who shows up with a missing persons case. Money is tight and Jay is awash with cash, so Helen is forced to take on the task of finding Wayne Diffney, the ‘Wacky One’ from boyband Laddz. Things ended messily with Jay. And she’s never going back there. Besides she has a new boyfriend now, the very sexy detective Artie Devlin and it’s all going well. But the reappearance of Jay is stirring up all kinds of stuff she thought she’d left behind. Playing by her own rules, Helen is drawn into a dark and glamorous world, where her worst enemy is her own head and where increasingly the only person she feels connected to is Wayne, a man she’s never even met. Utterly compelling, moving and very very funny, “The Mystery of Mercy Close” is unlike any novel you’ve ever read and Helen Walsh – courageous, vulnerable and wasp-tongued – is the perfect heroine for our times.

I enjoyed this novel – read it over a weekend. This time it’s Helen’s turn the last of the Walsh sisters and quite a subdued Helen if you remember her feisty personality from the earlier novels. It is not as light-hearted as Keye’s earlier work – where she dealt with serious issues in a witty way (think of Rachel’s Holiday). There is still laugh out loud moments, but the book has a somber undertone. Having said that it is still a comedy with dramatic moments rather than a drama with the occasional funny bit.

More reviews …

 http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-mystery-of-mercy-close-by-marian-keyes-8119945.html

http://bookdout.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/review-the-mystery-of-mercy-close-by-marian-keyes/

 

 

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The Brightest Star in the Sky – Marian Keyes

thebrighteststarinthe-sky

I’m a keen Marian Keyes fan. I’ve read them all – they’re one of my guilty pleasures. 

While on holiday (here) I read in the paper that she had a new book out, so I popped down to the local Book Store and picked up (what I think might have been their only copy) a copy.

This novel is what I’ve come to expect from Marian Keyes – a humourous look at relationships with something serious thrown in as well.

Here is the blurb from the back …

At 66, Star Street in Dublin, someone is watching over the lives of the people living in its flats. But no one is aware of it – yet . . .

One of them is ready to take the plunge and fall in love; another is torn between two very different lovers. For some, secrets they want to stay buried will come to light and for others, the unveiling of those secrets will have tragic consequences.

Fate is on its way to Star Street, bringing with it love and tragedy, friendship and heartbreak, and the power to change their lives in the most unexpected of ways.

It’s a quick read, but I didn’t really enjoy it. I liked the fact that there were several ‘leading’ characters, but I didn’t feel particularly sympathetic to any of them. In my opinion it was lacking Keyes usual wit and I feel she is trying too hard to write about ‘serious’ subjects. I’m not sure to whom I would recommend this book – it’s not for people who like light bright and sparkling, but it’s also not for people who like books with a bit of edge.

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