Back in the early aughts, at the beginning of the Bridget Jones inspired “Chick Lit” era, I discovered Irish novelist Marian Keyes and a decade long love affair began. Keyes books are geared to females, yes, but her sharp humour, slapstick comedy and moving emotional situations truly set her apart from her contemporaries. Over the last 15 years, her novels have explored death, addiction, marital strife, poverty, mental illness and many other topics that her readers can relate to.
I could not have been more thrilled when I was approached to review her new novel “The Woman who Stole my Life
” (on sale now) on the blog. I may have jumped up and down, but I will neither confirm nor deny. In my house, life stops when Marian has a new book! This time I fully played the pregnancy card to stay in bed and read all weekend!
Stella Sweeney is an average wife and mother- working, raising two teenagers and supporting her husband in his career endeavors. One day, tragedy strikes and her entire family is affected by terrifying event. Suddenly, Stella’s life is totally different and her world falls apart even as she experiences success on a scale she never imagined.
It is hard to give you a summary of the book without giving too much away, but the crux is that things in life over which you have no control can change everything in an instant and what that can mean to those around you.
I will be honest- this is not my favourite novel by Keyes. It was kind of downer and was pretty dark without as much of her usual humour to offset the hard subject matter. In most of her novels, there are characters that you are meant to think of as the villain of the piece, and this novel did have that individual (no spoilers) but many characters in this book were completely unsympathetic and some (like Stella’s teenage son, Jeffery) are downright unlikable. Ugh… he was so terrible.
Although I had many issues with the book, it was engrossing. Keyes has an almost uncanny ability to really bring you inside the mind and heart of her protagonists and the reader begins to feel like they actually know the character. Stella is an honest and flawed character and I found myself rooting for her throughout the story.
Marian Keyes is very active and hilarious on Twitter- I urge you to follow her
! Also, follow Penguin Canada
for information about upcoming releases!
*** While I was provided this book for review purposes, all opinions are my own.