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review 2017-09-14 12:35
Marian Keyes novel about a marriage break-up in Dublin.
The Break - Marian Keyes

 

 

This long novel deal with Amy, a 40ish PR expert, living in Dublin with her husband and her three children. When her husband, Hugh, decides to take off for six months, their lives change dramatically.

 

With a fair amount of first-person narrated introspection, the novel moves along quite well with flashbacks about Amy's previous marriage, the early part of her second marriage and the birth of her children. Characterisation is good and the varuious characters are well-drawn and unique.

 

Interesting regarding the ways of a modern Irish family, this book also encompasses infidelity, sexual pleasure, abortion and many other modern issues. It's bang up-to-date for this period regarding social media and the power of the media.

 

As a 64-year-old man, this is not exactly my first choice of novel as chick-lit is not really my genre. However the book, although long, is engaging and entertaining with occasional humorous moments to lighten the mood. I'd recommend it to any fan of the author and of the genre: you won't be disappointed.

 

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review 2017-08-16 15:56
The Break - Marian Keyes

With thanks to Netgalley and Penguin books for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review.

 

I was so excited when I realised Marian Keyes had written a new book.  I devoured chic lit books in my twenties, but as I got older I lost interest in the genre.  Now I am older, Marian keyes is one of the few chic lit authors I still read.

 

I loved the books featuring the Walsh family it felt like meeting old friends.  I hope The Break will be the first book featuring the O'Connell family, Marian has created a family with plenty of strong female characters to create new books.

 

Hugh and Amy have 3 almost grown up children Neeve, Kiara and neice Sofie.  The book starts with Hugh telling his wife Amy that he wants a break for 6 months backbacking around Asia.  Hugh lost his father and brother in quick succession, now deeply depressed he wants to clear his head.  During that time he will not contact Amy and wants to be free to sleep with other women.  Amy is devastated, Hugh is adament that he will return to Ireland in 6 months but she is not so sure.

 

During Hugh's break Amy finds out he is sleeping with a younger woman, angry and humilated she swears it is over with Hugh.

 

In flashbacks from two years earlier she came close to an affair with married Journalist John Rowan.  When Amy and Josh meet again at an Industry Award dinner she finds she is stll attracted to him.  Convinced Hugh will not be returning, she starts an affair with Josh with no strings attached.  Amy is happy with this until he wants to leave his wife for her.

 

Like always Marian Keyes books have plenty of Irish wit whilst covering subjects like depression, dementia and abortion.  I enjoyed the chapters when Amy's mother Lilian O'Connell did a series of appearances on Neeve's You Tube channel and became an internet sensation.  I also loved Amy's friend Alistair from work who is seeing her sister Derry.

 

I hope to read more books from the O'Connell family in the future.

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review 2015-12-27 00:00
The Woman Who Stole My Life: A Novel
The Woman Who Stole My Life: A Novel - Marian Keyes I have been pretty hit or miss with Marian Keyes books the past few years. This one was a definite miss for me. I think I could have liked it better if the story had been told in a straight forward manner. Instead the plot line shifts back and forth between present day and then past (when the main character is first diagnosed with her condition) and then past (when the main character is a hit with her first ever self help book). The main character, Stella, and others in the book really weren't developed very well. I also had a lot of issues with how when the book shifted to New York City, it could have been any-town USA and it didn't feel like New York at all.

Stella Sweeney is home in Ireland after a whirlwind book tour touting her self-help book. Her book is about the things she thought about and blinked out to her neurologist at the time when she was stricken with an illness that left her unable to move or breathe on her own, all she could do was move her eyelids. The story takes a while to get going. Instead we are in the present day with Stella and we don't know what exactly has gone on, but that she is heartbroken and feels like a fraud. Living with her teenage son that despises her, and trying to keep her ex-husband from giving away all of his belongings, it seems like Stella has a lot to get through.

I wish that I could have gotten a handle on Stella. She just didn't feel real at all throughout the entire book. You understand that she is a mother of two. However, besides her being horrified by how normal her son is and wondering about her daughter's relationship with her fiancee, you don't really get the sense that she even likes her children. Her relationship with her sister and her family had some funny moments here and there, but other than that, I couldn't make a lick of sense of Stella. A former beautician and now failed self-help author, she seemed to have no interests at all. There are a lot of asides thrown out about how much she and her father love to read but Stella doesn't pick up one book and read it during the course of this book.

The other characters are not drawn very well either. Stella's ex husband is several times a fool, and you don't understand what she ever saw in him, especially since Stella doesn't paint him in a positive light..

Stella's love interest in this book, Dr. Taylor was all over the place. Figuring out how to communicate with Stella, they are both surprised that they feel something though Stella can't move and they are both married. When these two do start seeing each other, there is nothing really there besides hot sex. I had no idea what his interest were really. And it didn't help when the book moved them to New York City. Everyone kept saying how these two were not well suited. And seriously they were not. Things took the turn for the absurd when he gave up doctoring for a year to pretty much become Stella's agent.

We have another character who apparently watched All About Eve too many times. I saw that character coming from a mile away.

The writing wasn't that great. It didn't help because of the shifting timelines that it took me a few minutes each time to figure out what tie period we were in. Also the font sizes changed from when we were in the present day (with time stamps) to the past which had larger fonts and a saying from Stella's book at the top of each chapter ending. The flow was all over the place because of that. When readers finally figure out what happened to Stella you may have lost interest by then (I know that I did).

The setting of Ireland and New York were not very well done at all. I loved Keyes former books taking place in both of these places. She managed to breathe life into these places so that you felt like you were right there with the characters in her books feeling the heat and humidity (New York) or dealing with the changing face of the country (her books taking place in Ireland). I think the jumping around really didn't devote itself to showcasing these places. Though we do spend a lot of time on Stella's clothes and in particular her shoes.

The ending was definitely not earned at all. Everything got wrapped up in a tidy bow which made me laugh a bit. Based on what happened before, one wonders why in the world Stella would have blithely continued on with things.
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review 2015-11-13 00:00
The Woman Who Stole My Life
The Woman Who Stole My Life - Marian Keyes This book was well written. It was dragging in climax for me. I like a little more action with my mystery & this had a lot of mundane "action". It needed more twist & a lot more unexpected elements.
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review 2015-11-02 13:15
Not a good starting point for Keyes I guess.
The Brightest Star in the Sky - Marian Keyes

I have heard of Keyes but hadn't read her before. I wanted something a little lighter after my reading-palooza over the weekend. Unfortunately this wasn't it. Another review on Amazon says that this isn't the book to start with Keyes if you haven't read her before and I agree.

 

It's a weird premise. A spirit roams around the apartment building and observes the lives of the tenants. There's a taxi driver, a married coupon, an older woman and her foster son, a professional career woman, her boyfriend, etc. They all have their interesting lives and the spirit observes them all.

 

Yet, the book was pretty dark for a supposed "chick lit" author. Everything from a rape scene to a death at the end to mental illness. It's not light and fluffy. And while it was nice to see a chick lit novel address such topics, I'm not really sure if it was addressed really well. The author gives a highlighted thanks to the Dublin Rape Crisis Center which made me cringe a bit.

 

I suppose if you like your chick lit with a supernatural element this might not be a bad borrow from the library. But it might be uncomfortable/triggering for some and overall I didn't think it was a good book. And while sometimes I'm willing to give the author another shot if there's another book by them that sounds interesting, I'm not really sure I want to read anything else by Keyes.

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