The Break is Marian’s latest novel, and it’s also the book I chose to take away with me for my 21st getaway as I knew it would entertaining. It follows Amy and Hugh whose marriage is in difficulty, causing Hugh to go backpacking in Asia for six months, leaving Amy to deal with their chaotic family life in Ireland and her stressful PR job.
‘A question that’s bothered me for the past two days is, should Josh know that Hugh is back? Probably not. Strictly speaking, for the three days I’m with Josh, I need to not know that Hugh is back’
Amy’s PR work takes her to London every week, causing her to bump into Josh, a handsome 30-something newspaper editor. Amy’s eldest daughter Neeve is a budding beauty blogger, whose footballer father has recently reentered her life leaving her open to public scrutiny, especially when 16 year-old Sophie’s (Amy’s niece who lives with them) actions cause Neeve to get political about reproductive rights.
This Charming Man features Paddy de Courey, a captivating and handsome polician in Ireland, who annouces his engagement to Alicia, leaving his girlfriend Lola in shock. This causes Grace a journalist to befriend Lola, in the hope of gaining the inside scope on his private life. Paddy was Grace’s sister, Marnie’s first love giving an extra-dimension to her investigation.
‘That incident was first in new phase when he began hurting me again, more frequently than in past. No longer considered leaving him or confiding in Bridie or Treese. I had changed. My indignation had died and the time when I was strong enough to leave him had passed.’
Over the course of the novel we see deep into the lives of these four women and the effect Paddy had on their choices. It also features lots of the classic Keyes humour.
Watermelon starts with Claire in a nightmare situation, she has recently given birth to her first daughter when her ‘loving husband’ James admits to having an affair with a woman called Denise. This brings about Claire returning to her parents home in Ireland, where she meets Adam, a handsome mature student.
‘Now, I would be lying to both myself and you if I didn’t admit that it would have given me a great deal of satisfaction if James had returned to me on his knees, a broken man. I would have been delighted if he had crawled up the driveway on all fours, sobbing and begging for me to take him back. I wanted him to be unshaven, filthy and wearing torn clothes.’
In her debut novel Marian writes with such vibrancy and detail, it makes me (someone whose siblings live in a different country) wish that I had a crazy, topsy-turvy large family all living under the same roof although I’m not sure how good I would be at sharing because dog-eared pages in books make me anxious.
The Woman Who Stole My Life – Stella Sweeney developed a rare and debilitating disease which made her temporary paralyzed causing her to come under the care of neurologist Dr Mannix Taylor, unfortunately they have already met in circumstances involving a Range Rover. Stella publishes a best-selling novel about her experience of Guillain-Barre, causing her family life to change completely following a move to America.
‘Then I think, Am I completely insane? Mannix is in there, Mannix who says he still loves me, Mannix who didn’t cheat on me, Mannix who wants us to try again. I switch off the engine and get out of my car and go back to the house. Mannix opens the door. He looks wrecked.’
In the present day Stella is back home in Ireland struggling to write her second novel after the breakdown of her relationship with Mannix, when her ex-husband Ryan decides to put his faith in Karma and give away all of his possession much to the dismay of their son Jeffrey.
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